The three silences of Sir Thomas More: A pragmatic perspective

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The paper discusses three instances of silence in the life and writings of Sir Thomas More in terms of conversational and thematic silence. The first is the silence of the London citizenry in More's History of Richard the Third (1513). The second is the House of Commons' response of silence, in 1523, to Cardinal Wolsey's request to provide him, the Chancellor, with a substantial grant for state affairs; at that time, More was Speaker of the House. The third is More's fatal silence when he was required to take an oath supporting Henry VIII's divorce from Catherine and subsequent marriage to Anne Boleyn, and his refusal to discuss Henry's break from the Pope and the Roman Church.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-128
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Historical Pragmatics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© John Benjamins Publishing Company.


  • Oaths
  • Performatives
  • Silence
  • Speech acts
  • Thomas More

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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