Authored by: Peter Burke

The Handbook of Communication History

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  January  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415892599
eBook ISBN: 9780203149119
Adobe ISBN: 9781136514319


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The history of conversation, like conversation studies in general, was long neglected, but it has recently become a focus of scholarly interest, like many other forms of communication. Before the 1970s, interest was sporadic and antiquarian, including an essay on the conversation of the ancient Romans (Balzac 1644), a history of conversation (Deschanel 1857), and a study of the salons (a term coined by them to refer to gatherings for conversation) by the Goncourt brothers (1862)—all in French. In the 1970s, however, stimulated by the rise of interest in oral communication more generally, two groups of scholars began to study conversation, within two different disciplines, from two different points of view, and without speaking to each other.

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