DIALOGUE , properly the conversation between two or more persons, reported inwriting, a
See also:form of literature invented by the Greeks for purposes of rhetorical entertainment and instruction, and scarcely modified since the days of its invention . A dialogue is in reality a little drama without a theatre, and with scarcely any
See also:change of scene . It should be illuminated with those qualities which La Fontaine applauded in the dialogue of
See also:Plato, namely vivacity, fidelity of
See also:tone, and accuracy in the opposition of opinions . It has always been a favourite with those writers who have something to censure or to impart, but who love to stand outside the
See also:pulpit, and to encourage others to pursue a
See also:train of thought which the author does not seem to do more than indicate . The dialogue is so spontaneous a mode of expressing and noting down the undulations of human thought that it almost escapes analysis . All that is recorded, in any literature, of what pretend to be the actual words spoken by living or imaginary
See also:people is of the nature of dialogue . One branch of letters, the drama, is entirely founded upon it . But in its technical sense the word is used to describe what the Greek philosophers invented, and what the noblest of them lifted to the extreme refinement of an
See also:art . The systematic use of dialogue as an
See also:literary form is commonly supposed to have been introduced by Plato, whose earliest experiment in it is believed to survive in the Lathes . The Platonic dialogue, however, was founded on the
See also:mime, which had been cultivated
See also:half a century earlier by the Sicilian poets,
See also:Sophron and
See also:Epicharmus . The
See also:works of these writers, which Plato admired and imitated, are lost, but it is believed that they were little plays, usually with only two performers . The recently discovered mimes of
See also:Herodas (Herondas) give us some idea of their
See also:scope .
Plato further simplified the form, and reduced it to pure argumentative conversation, while leaving intact the amusing
See also:element of character-
See also:drawing . He must have begun this about the
See also:year 405, and by 399 he had brought the dialogue to its highest perfection, especially in the cycle directly inspired by the
See also:death of
See also:Socrates . All his philosophical writings, except the
See also:Apology, are
See also:cast in this form . As the greatest of all masters of Greek
See also:style, Plato lifted his favourite instrument, the dialogue, to its highest splendour, and to this
See also:day he remains by far its most distinguished proficient . In the 2nd century A.D . Lucian of Samosata achieved a brilliant success with his ironic dialogues " Of the Gods," " Of the Dead," " Of Love " and " Of the Courtesans." In some of them he attacks superstition and philosophical error with the sharpness of his wit; in others he merely paints scenes of
See also:life . The title of Lucian's most famous collection was borrowed in the 17th century by two French writers of
See also:eminence, each of whom prepared Dialogues
See also:des morts . These were Fontenelle (1683) and
See also:Fenelon (1712) . In
See also:English non-dramatic literature the dialogue had not been extensively employed until
See also:Berkeley used it, in 1713, for his Platonic
See also:Hylas and Philonous .
See also:Landor's Imaginary Conversations (1821–1828) is the most famous example of it in the 19th century, although the dialogues of
See also:Sir Arthur
See also:Helps claim
See also:attention . In Germany, Wieland adopted this form for several important satirical works published between 1780 and 1799 . In
See also:Spanish literature, the Dialogues of
See also:Valdes (1528) and those on
See also:Painting (1633) by Vincenzo Carducci, are celebrated .
See also:Italian, collections of dialogues, on the
See also:model of Plato, have been composed by Torquato
See also:Tasso (1586), by Galileo (1632), by
See also:Galiani (1770), by
See also:Leopardi (1825), and by a
See also:host of lesser writers . In our own day, the French have returned to the
See also:original application of dialogue, and the inventions of "
See also:Gyp," of
See also:Lavedan and of others, in which a mundane anecdote is wittily and maliciously told in conversation, would probably
See also:present a close
See also:analogy to the lost mimes of the early Sicilian poets, if we could meet with them . This kind of dialogue has been employed in English, and with conspicuous cleverness by Mr
See also:Guthrie, but it does not seem so easily appreciated by English as by French readers .
DIALYSIS (from the Gr. &0., through, Anew, to loose...
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