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The Use of Modal Expression Preference as a Marker of Style and Attribution

The Case of William Tyndale and the 1533 English "Enchiridion Militis Christiani</I>


Elizabeth Bell Canon

Can an author’s preference for expressing modality be quantified and then used as a marker of attribution? This book explores the possibility of using the subjunctive mood as an indicator of style and a marker of authorship in Early Modern English texts. Using three works by the sixteenth-century biblical translator and polemicist, William Tyndale, Elizabeth Bell Canon establishes a predictable preference for certain types of modal expression. The theory of subjunctive use as a marker of attribution was then tested on the anonymous 1533 English translation of Erasmus’ Enchiridion Militis Christiani. Also included in this book is a modern English spelling version Tyndale’s The Parable of the Wicked Mammon.


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Acknowledgments I would like to acknowledge the constant help and support of Charles Doyle, Peter Jorgensen, and Jared Klein, my friend and mentor. Without their guidance, this project would have been a rudderless ship. Thank you most sincerely for the gentle corrections, suggestions, and encouragement. In addition, I would like to thank Professors David Daniell and Anne O’Donnell for so generously sharing their time and expertise. The staff at Peter Lang Publishers showed a remarkable amount of patience with me as I made my way through the publication process and for that, I am eternally grateful. Lastly, I would like to acknowledge and heartily thank my family: Bates, William, and Clara, and my father, John Bell, for their interest and support of this project, and their willingness to do without me for quite a long period of time while I completed it. Thank you all.

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