Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Hermogenes and the Renaissance: Seven Ideas of Style

Hermogenes and the Renaissance: Seven Ideas of Style

Copyright Date: 1970
Pages: 256
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Hermogenes and the Renaissance: Seven Ideas of Style
    Book Description:

    Annabel M. Patterson offers here a reassessment of the place of Hermogenes, a Greek rhetorician of the second century A.D., in literary history. She shows that the literary men of the European Renaissance-scholars, critics, and poets-found Hermogenes'Concerning Ideasboth important and extremely useful, and she finds that they vigorously applied his concepts to create "a lovely conformitie."

    The author first gives the history of this treatise on style and a detailed critical analysis of the Seven Ideas or categories of style. The book then demonstrates genre by genre how knowledge of the Seven Ideas can improve one's understanding of poetic development, especially in England, and reveals how the Ideas operate in the works of Tasso, Donne, Sidney, Shakespeare, Marvell, Jonson, Spenser, Milton , and many other poets and critics.

    Originally published in 1970.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-7066-0
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Annabel M. Patterson
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. CHAPTER 1 “Imitation of Great Masters”: Decorum of Style
    (pp. 3-43)

    We belong to a generation which has made mighty efforts to get inside the mind of the Renaissance and to fit together, whether out of envy, condescension, or pure heroic magnitude of mind, the pieces of a world picture so much neater than our own. But one of the more obvious sections of this pattern has not yet been properly investigated, and that is the whole area of stylistic decorum, the concept which controlled everything which we now regard, frequently with a derogatory glance, as technique. The work of Gregory Smith and Rosemond Tuve¹ in this area has been incidental...

  6. CHAPTER 2 “The Seven Capital Stars”: Descriptions of the Seven Ideas
    (pp. 44-68)

    The “Forms” in Thom Gunn’sMirrorare not specifically those of poetry or oratory, but they should probably include them. His poem is about the contrast between the facts of life in the late sixteenth century, “violent . . . and evil-smelling,” and the astonishing ability of its poets to create ideals and abstractions of unfactual things, such as permanence and magnanimity. It is only taking theMirrorslightly out of context to apply it to the Seven Ideas, or Forms, or Characters of style, which are abstractions of a studied control over detail never to be reached in fact...

  7. CHAPTER 3 “High Talk”: Canzone and Ode
    (pp. 69-96)

    Erich Auerbach, inLiterary Language and Its Public,has admirably defined the decay of high style and the sublime in late Latin antiquity and the early Middle Ages, and then its rediscovery in the vernacular and thedolce stil nuovoof Dante.¹ He attributes the decay of the lofty style partly to pedantry and overrhetorical emphasis, partly to the lack of any truly sublime subject matter, since Christianity, under the influence of Augustine, had become indissolubly linked with thegenus humile.This chapter on the styles of praise and the Idea of Grandeur in Hermogenes is also written at a...

  8. CHAPTER 4 “Savage Indignation”: Elizabethan Satire
    (pp. 97-121)

    Again and again the poetry of Yeats, itself highly decorous, provides points of instruction or focus in discussions of earlier poetry, because Yeats always ascends to the creative tower by an “ancestral stair.” For Yeats, Jonathan Swift was both an inspiration and an emblem, partly because of his Irishness, but mostly because of his anger; and in the lines quoted above Yeats identifies Swift as the type of Juvenalian satirist whose work is prophetically inspired, and whose inspiration is rage. The reason for quoting these lines here is that this chapter will explore the Juvenalian tradition of satire in the...

  9. CHAPTER 5 “True Nakedness”: Elizabethan Sonnets
    (pp. 122-152)

    Walking naked” poetically, except in a relative sense, is impossible, and Yeats would probably have agreed that the statement ofA Coatis as much a literary stance as any other. He might also, with some qualifications, have agreed with Puttenham’s chapter “Of ornament Poeticall,” in which the Elizabethan view of “embroideries” is most fully displayed. Puttenham believes that writers of every age, profession, and purpose must avail themselves of ornament to some extent, that even the Archbishop of Canterbury ought to speak “cunningly and eloquently, which can not be without the use of figures,” and that poetry cannot “shew...

  10. CHAPTER 6 “Courage Means Running”: The Idea of Speed
    (pp. 153-175)

    It may at first sight seem a curious entry into a discussion of the rhetoric of Speed to come by way of Empson’s paradox that courage means running, and frequently running away. And yet, like the other modern poets who act as springboards for these chapters, Empson is looking backwards, not only to the psychological insight of Bunyan, but more generally to “those firm times that met/And knew a fear.” As Auden laments the decay of the “great occasions,” and Yeats audaciously attempts to recreate “high talk,” Empson reduces the whole question of heroism into an intriguing paradox, and attempts...

  11. CHAPTER 7 “The Grand Master-Piece to Observe”: Renaissance Epic
    (pp. 176-213)

    Inottava rimaalmost obscured by its half rhymes, Yeats laments the decay of the heroic, and it is surely not by accident that this, like many of his poems written out of disillusionment with Irish politics and civil war, uses the “heroic” stanza of the late sixteenth century.¹ It was inottava rimathat Daniel and Drayton chose simultaneously to celebrate and lament the English civil wars of the past, and they inherited it from the Italian epic, and perhaps also from the Portuguese, as a “grave” stanza. Yeats’s “high horse riderless” is thus an appropriate symbol for this...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 214-216)

    This does not seem to be the kind of book for which ausefulconclusion can be written—that kind of efficient summary of the argument which protects one from having to read the book itself. Therefore I have chosen rather to present, in conclusion, two of the most attractive examples of Renaissance patterning, in which Hermogenes finds his place. Both are attempts to explain why there should be Seven Ideas, not more, not less, and what their relationship is to other sevens.

    The first of these occurs in Antonius Lullius’De Oratione(1558), when he is discussing the relationship...

  13. Bibliography Some Renaissance Editions and Translations of Hermogenes, 1500-1650
    (pp. 219-220)
  14. General Bibliography
    (pp. 221-230)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 231-240)