This is not a book on rhetoric in any narrow sense, but rather
concerns its general ambiance and also some of its quite specific
manifestations. The thirteen chapters that comprise the book move
chronologically from the Renaissance up to the present time.
Chapter 2 shows the continuity of verbal expression during the
English Renaissance with earlier speech and thought patterns before
the invention of writing. In the third chapter, a detailed report
is given on the entire production of English-language books on
rhetoric and poetic and literary criticism or theory during the
Tudor age, from the late 15th through the beginning of the 17th
century. The fourth chapter indicates the central significance of
the art of memory.
The chapters from 5 through 12 treat the interrelationships
between social institutions and modes of thought and expression
(Latin Language Study as a Renaissance Puberty Rite; Ramist
Classroom Procedure and the Nature of Reality; Ramist Method and
the Commercial Mind; Swift on the Mind: Satire in a Closed Field;
Psyche and the Geometers; Associationist Critical Theory; J. S.
Mill's Pariah Poet; Romantic Difference and the Poetics of
Technology; and The Literate Orality of Popular Culture Today). The
final chapter centers on the history of the humanities to show that
they have not been the same in all ages, and that they are always
in a state of crisis.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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