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Eighteenth-Century Women's Writing and the Methodist Media Revolution'Consider the Lord as Ever Present Reader'$
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Andrew O. Winckles

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620184

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620184.001.0001

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An Overview of Methodist Discourse Culture, 1738–1791

An Overview of Methodist Discourse Culture, 1738–1791

(p.28) Chapter Two An Overview of Methodist Discourse Culture, 1738–1791
Eighteenth-Century Women's Writing and the Methodist Media Revolution

Andrew O. Winckles

Liverpool University Press

This chapter introduces and provides and overview of the unique discourse structures, like the class meeting, that Methodism pioneered. Specifically, it traces the development of Methodist discourse from the wild and raucous beginning of the movement in 1738 until the death of John Wesley in 1791, after which the fundamental character of Methodism and its discourse structures changed. The emphasis in this chapter is especially on how early Methodists combined oral, manuscript, and print mediation practices to create a diverse, diffuse, and fundamentally unstable and uncontrollable discourse culture which had impacts on literary developments like the rise of the novel and the literature of sensibility. In particular it argues that early Methodism should be read in terms of what William Warner calls a “media event,” which made possible new means and protocols of mediation within a space of contestation and debate over what Methodism was and how dangerous its effects could be.

Keywords:   Methodism, John Wesley, Manuscript culture, Print culture, Orality

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