Volume 1, Issue 3
  • ISSN 2211-4742
  • E-ISSN: 2211-4750
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Around 1610 the Dutch author Gerbrand Bredero wrote a letter to his painting teacher Francesco Badens, asking for the loan of a painting to make a copy of it. The act of writing (a letter) asks for a proactive role in managing the reader(s)’ reactions. Although at first sight the letter may look like no more than a simple, insignificant and most of all polite piece of correspondence, it is argued that, from the viewpoint of strategic maneuvering, Bredero’s approach may be considered as a well-thought-out and potentially effective strategy, contributing to pinning Badens to a promise. An analysis from the perspective of argumentation theory allows us a better understanding of certain characteristics in this letter. Bredero’s choice from the ‘topical potential’ especially finds expression in proleptic formulated objections of the addressee to fulfilling his promise. Starting the letter from the seemingly low power situation of a pupil asking his master to do something, in every stage of the communication Bredero is aiming at a reasonable balance and turning this balance to his own advantage at the same time.


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