In the early modern period pamphlets constituted the most important medium to influence public opinion in the Netherlands. The thesis Rap van tong, scherp van pen (Glib tongues, sharp pens) focuses on the literary and rhetorical aspects of a remarkable type of pamphlet called praatje (small-talk), which is considered characteristic for the early modern Dutch discussion culture. Praatjes contain apparently realistic conversations between all kinds of speakers like merchants, innkeepers, soldiers, bargemen, peasants and people from various towns and provinces. The setting of these discussions is also recognizable; they are set for instance on a barge (schuitpraatje), in the pub (kroegpraatje), or on the street between neighbours (buurpraatje). Persuasion plays an important role in these pamphlets; the reader is usually ‘pushed’ towards a certain view on current events. This research focuses on the question of how this is done: by means of which dialogue techniques are the points of view in praatjes from the period 1600-1750 presented? In other words: how and in which direction is the reader guided? The research corpus comprises 41 pamphlets from the years 1607-1609, 1618-1619, 1646-1648, 1650, 1672 and 1747-1748; years in which domestic as well as international tensions caused a massive flow of pamphlets. Based on tactics of persuasion I distinguish three different types of praatjes: 1 nuanced mobilisation that is characterized by discussion and is aimed at mobilising readers; 2 closed information in which the main speaker teaches the other(s) in his view on current events; 3 closed criticism in which people in high positions are critised, often with use of humour. Besides this typology, which makes an international comparison of dialogued pamphlets and other persuasive texts possible, the book offers thorough rhetorical, literary and (book)-historical analyses of the texts
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