“As dialogue is a copy of that easy intercourse and free communication, which men have with each other, it is a species of composition very generally pleasing”– William Gilpin

 The dialogue is a diverse literary form that has traditionally served several purposes: as a form of instruction and education; as an effective way of exploring controversial and idealistic ideas; and as a platform (both impartial and under the guise of impartiality) to express opinions, criticize and satirize. The dialogue achieves this through the temperate and respectful conversation of two or more persons, whose aim is the communication of concepts and points of view.  The earliest examples of the dialogue in literature are found in classical antiquity where its origins as a literary form of expository, polemical and philosophical writing are found in three principal sources: Plato and his Socratic discourses, Cicero and his dialogues on character, rhetoric and philosophy, and Lucian in his dialogues of the dead. The English dialogue was influenced as well by the later European writings of Erasmus, Fontenelle and Fenelon, whose dialogues based on classical models were widely read and translated. The following list is a small sampling of examples of the use of the dialogue (and its later companion, the imaginary conversation) in English literature (and one French) from 1663 to 1953.