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Rhetoric, Rhetoricians and Poets

Rhetoric, Rhetoricians and Poets: Studies in Renaissance Poetry and Poetics

Marijke Spies
Henk Duits
Ton van Strien
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 173
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  • Book Info
    Rhetoric, Rhetoricians and Poets
    Book Description:

    The Netherlandish rhetoricians of the sixteenth century have, in the course of the last decades, shed their image of third-rate poets who, lacking all sense of true beauty, were capable only of pompous verbosity and a shallow manipulation of form. The new scholarly assessment has also shed light on the role they played in the cultural and literary life of their time, and it now appears that many of their dramas are well worth staging. Once the sixteenth century was freed from the stigma of being the "preparatory phase" for the Golden Age, the way was clear for thorough studies of the literature produced during the most turbulent period in the history of the Low Countries. This volume contains essays which deal with works written not only in Dutch, but also in French and in New Latin, with topics ranging from the effects of poetic principles on literary practice to the use of poetry as a means for improving society and developing the individual. The unifying thread in these studies is the pivotal importance of rhetoric in all forms of literary expression. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0576-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 1-4)
  3. I The Rhetoric of Ronsard’s ‘Hymne de l’Or”
    (pp. 5-12)

    For more than fifty years, ever since theJ935 publication of the complete works of Ronsard ] eight volumes by Paul Laumonier, theHymneshave been the sub-jeer of many fruitful studies. The relationship to classical and humanist rhetoric has been increasingly emphasized, not only concerning style bur also argumentation - they both have been at the centre of these discussions. Thus, it will come as no surprise that it is with some hesitation that I take up this subject once again. Still, despite the studies of Frappier, Dassonville, Margolin, Cordon, Demerson, and Cave, there are still questions that need...

  4. 2 From Disputation to Argumentation: the French Morality Play in the Sixteenth Century
    (pp. 13-20)

    Morality plays can be characterized as moral arguments put forward by means of personified concepts. The characters in these plays are philosophical, ethical or psychological concepts or phenomena; their interrelations express the conceptual connections among them; and the narrative portrays the expression of a usually moral, but sometimes also religious or political - lesson. In most cases we see a central protagonist, Mankind, on its, or rather his, way to Wisdom or salvation, respectively helped and hindered in this endeavor by positive and negative forces, mostly virtues and vices and their adherents. The protagonist may be split up into two...

  5. 3 Between Epic and Lyric: the Genres in j.C, Scaliger’s Poetices Libri Septem’
    (pp. 21-28)

    Julius Caesar Scaliger’sPoetices Libri Septem- undoubtedly the most elaborate poetical treatise published during the sixteenth century - has in modern times re ceived quite divergent critical appraisals. While in the 1940S no one less than Bernard Wemberg emphasized ‘the consistency and the general integrity of Sealiger’s system’, other critics could not find much coherence either in the book as a whole, or in certain sections of it.’ This is especially true of the description of the genres in book Ill. Francois Lecercle, for instance, in his contribution to the colloquium on Scaliger’s poetics held in 198} at the...

  6. 4 Scaliger in Holland
    (pp. 29-36)

    In 1593, joscphus ]ustus Scaligcr was appointed to the University of Leyden. It was Janus DOU5<1, the governor of the university, who achieved this triumph.’ (Dousa had been a student in Paris in his youth, during which period he had not only made the acquaintance of Ronsard but also of this giant of classical philology.) Fur it was indeed a triumph. Scaliger was honoured to be asked to succeed Lipsius. However, he was not all that thrilled to JO111 a young university uf very little reputation in a Nordic country, which was no doubt cold, lacking in culture, nnd inhabited...

  7. 5 Developments in Sixteenth-Century Dutch Poetics: from ‘Rhetoric’ to ‘Renaissance”
    (pp. 37-50)

    Few treatises on the art of rhetoric and poetry are found In sixteenth-century Dutch literature. One ‘An of Rheroricin the tradition of the Frencharts de seconde rhetoriqueand two small introductions to Ciceronian rhetoric are known. But that is all there is. However, several texts do exist in which rheroric and poetics are dealt with less formally, and which concentrate on a few basic principles. These include laudatory of defensor)’ poems, a number of plays, a handful of introductory remarks ‘to the reader’ in certain publications, and one speech. These sources differ greatly in scope, neverrheles, they do form...

  8. 6 The Amsterdam Chamber De Eglentier and the Ideals of Erasmian Humanism”
    (pp. 51-56)

    In the development of Dutch Renaissance literature, the Amsterdam ‘chamber of rhetoric’ De Eglenner (The Eglantine) played a leading part. However, the extent of De Eglentier’s achievements has scarcely been analyzcd. Only the chamber’s publications in the field of popular education - a grammar, an introduction to dialectics and an introduction to rhetoric, all in the vernacular - have attracted learned attention. But even these educational efforts have not, in my opinion, been sufficiently recognized as moments in a wider, ideologically defined pro gramme. In this essay I will try to give an impression of what this ideology may have...

  9. 7 Rhetoric and Civic Harmony in the Dutch Republic of the Late Sixteenth and Early Seventeenth Century
    (pp. 57-68)

    A good four hundred years ago, the Ncrhctlands underwent a period of drastic social and political change. Because soveretgnry was at that time in the hands of a foreigner, the king of Spain, the emerging rebellion soon took on the character of a national struggle against a foreign aggressor, a struggle which would evolve into a war lasting eighty years. Bur during the first several years, optruons were divided on the home front, and there was a very real chance of civil war.

    This was certainly true of Amsterdam, which at that time was already not only the richest city...

  10. 8 Helicon and Hills of Sand: Pagan Gods in Early Modern Dutch and European Poetry
    (pp. 69-78)

    In 1663, when Holland’s greatest poet, JOOS! van den Vondel, published one of his few tragedies on mythological subject matter,Faeton, he added a preliminary Justification:

    Nobody will think that I will reinstate pagamsm. My only purpose is the fur-therance of morality by presenting this beautiful fable un the stage as a mirror of pride. For the old Egyptian and Greek mythological stories cover a threefold knowledge, of history, of nature and of human morals ... I remember the late professor Vossius saying, that if he should write a commentary on Ovid’sMetamorphoses,it would prove tu be the most...

  11. 9 Amsterdam School-Orations from the Second Half of the Seventeenth Century
    (pp. 79-92)

    In September 1625, the government of the province of Holland took the important decision to publish a general “rule’ for the Latin schools in its jurisdiction. The ordinance was never accepted ill the other provinces, and even lll Holland itself it met with some reluctance from the part of the teachers in the field, undoubtedly due to its too exacting contents.’ Nevertheless, it remained the only formal regulation for this type of school tilllHI5, and If only for that reason it seems reasonable to assume that it must have responded at least to a certam extent to the actual situation.’...

  12. 10 Mennonites and Literature in the Seventeenth Century
    (pp. 93-108)

    The participation of Mennonites III Dutch seventeenth-century literature has certainly been as great as that of members of other denominations. This is true not only for the more popular forms of devotional literature such as hymns or texts used to elucidate Biblical illustrations; Mennonite writers have also contributed to the most sophisticated Renaissance and Classicist genres. Some of these he long to the top, or at least tu the second, rank of Dutch literature. On this elevated level, however, it seems sensible to distinguish between literature written by Mennonires and explicitly Mennonite literature, for in the non-devotional field, texts written...

  13. 11 Women and Seventeenth-Century Dutch Literature”
    (pp. 109-124)

    There is a certain ambivalence in the subject of my lecture today, an amhiva-knee, as a matter of fact, I intend to exploit. For my thesis will be that the ways women were looked upon in Dutch seventeenth-century literature and, conse quently, the ways the images and the opinion on women were, up to a certain degree, promoted by Dutch literature, had a rather important Impact on the ways women took parr in the production of literature in those days. Let us see where this complex proposition willlead us.

    The first step to be taken will complicate things still further....

  14. 12 Argumentative Aspects of Rhetoric and Their Impact on the Poetry of joost van den Vondel
    (pp. 125-134)

    In this paper, I wish to discuss the roll; of argument in rhetoric as it concerns the poetry of thepoeta laureatusJoost van den Vondel.’ I will illustrate my propo sition by way of an analysis of Vondel’s poem celebrating the new Amsterdam town hall, which is today the Royal Palace, on the Dam Square, a majestic and sumptuously decorated budding, a triumph of seventeenth-century Dutch archi tecture and art.

    At the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth century, the most progressive Dutch poets were drawn to the Pleiadic, Neo-Plaronic conception of poetry, according to...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 135-156)
  16. List of Works published by Marijke Spies 1973-1999
    (pp. 157-162)
    (pp. 163-166)
  18. Tabula Gratulatoria
    (pp. 167-169)