Outlaw Rhetoric: Figuring Vernacular Eloquence in Shakespeare's England

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9780801449659: Outlaw Rhetoric: Figuring Vernacular Eloquence in Shakespeare's England
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A central feature of English Renaissance humanism was its reverence for classical Latin as the one true form of eloquent expression. Yet sixteenth-century writers increasingly came to believe that England needed an equally distinguished vernacular language to serve its burgeoning national community. Thus, one of the main cultural projects of Renaissance rhetoricians was that of producing a "common" vernacular eloquence, mindful of its classical origins yet self-consciously English in character. The process of vernacularization began during Henry VIII's reign and continued, with fits and starts, late into the seventeenth century. However, as Jenny C. Mann shows in Outlaw Rhetoric, this project was beset with problems and conflicts from the start.

Outlaw Rhetoric examines the substantial and largely unexplored archive of vernacular rhetorical guides produced in England between 1500 and 1700. Writers of these guides drew on classical training as they translated Greek and Latin figures of speech into an everyday English that could serve the ends of literary and national invention. In the process, however, they confronted aspects of rhetoric that run counter to its civilizing impulse. For instance, Mann finds repeated references to Robin Hood, indicating an ongoing concern that vernacular rhetoric is "outlaw" to the classical tradition because it is common, popular, and ephemeral. As this book shows, however, such allusions hint at a growing acceptance of the nonclassical along with a new esteem for literary production that can be identified as native to England. Working across a range of genres, Mann demonstrates the effects of this tension between classical rhetoric and English outlawry in works by Spenser, Shakespeare, Sidney, Jonson, and Cavendish. In so doing she reveals the political stakes of the vernacular rhetorical project in the age of Shakespeare.

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About the Author:

Jenny C. Mann is Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University.

Review:

"Outlaw Rhetoric is an intelligent, imaginative and extremely well-written study. Mann reveals just how fruitful historical formalism can be in Early Modern Studies when one gets really historical without forsaking literary attention, yet really literary without losing historical nuance. This is a crucial book for those hoping to understand the early modern English appropriation of the Latinate rhetorical tradition both theoretically in vernacular rhetorics and practically in its actual literature."―Review of English Studies



"Outlaw Rhetoric advances an elegant argument for the literary and cultural importance of rhetorical figures in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. . . . Mann's major achievement is to display the shaping force of these rhetorical figures in canonical works, including Spenser's Faerie Queene, Sidney's Arcadia, Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and Sonnet 20, Jonson's Epicene, and Cavendish's Blazing World. These works have been endlessly considered, and yet emerge afresh through her argument."―Renaissance Quarterly (Spring 2013)



"Mann . . . pays particular attention to the gendered implications acquired by enallage, the figure for 'exchange': 'In order to make enallage "speak English"―to turn it into the "Figure of exchange"―these rhetorics redefine it as a mode of pronoun substitution, turning enallage into a figure that exchanges “he" for “she.” As a result, within the catalogue of English figures of speech, the “Figure of Exchange” becomes the rhetorical expression of gender transvestism, even bodily hermaphroditism. . . .' (p.148). Through a series of penetrating readings, Mann reveals that enallage guides the sense of several canonical literary works. She provides an especially astute study of Shakespeare's Sonnet 20 . . . [and] a fascinating analysis of Thomas Wilson’s Arte of Rhetorique (1553). . . .”―David Hawkes, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 (Winter 2013)



"Jenny C. Mann considers the influence of English vernacular rhetorical handbooks on Renaissance literature, with particular emphasis upon the cultural anxieties and imaginative opportunities engendered by the nationalist project of translating the classical art of rhetoric into English. . . . Mann's study is intelligent, wide-ranging, and elegantly written; it makes a fine contribution to scholarship on early modern rhetoric and English nationalism."―Garrett A. Sullivan Jr., Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 (Spring 2013)



"In her thoughtful, well-researched debut book, Jenny C. Mann . . . explores the intersection between early modern rhetorical manuals and literary works. . . . Outlaw Rhetoric is an extremely valuable tool for understanding the cultural role of vernacular rhetoric in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, not least because of this spatial and chronological specificity―a refreshing change from other discussions of rhetoric in the Renaissance, which treat it as a continuation or resurrection of classical practices."―Marjorie Harrington, Sixteenth Century Journal (Summer 2013)




"Outlaw Rhetoric is a smart, insightful, well-informed, and beautifully written book. Using English Renaissance rhetoric manuals in conjunction with the literary texts informed by them, Jenny C. Mann argues that one of the main cultural projects of the English Renaissance, namely its desire to elevate the English language and place it on a level with Latin and Greek, was beset with problems and conflicts from the start. In support of this assertion about the changing place of rhetoric in English Renaissance culture, she offers a series of readings of important literary works by Cavendish, Jonson, Shakespeare, Sidney, and Spenser."―Wayne Rebhorn, University of Texas at Austin, author of The Emperor of Men's Minds



"Outlaw Rhetoric is concerned with the nexus of language and English national, cultural, and linguistic identity in the period from 1530 to 1679. Jenny C. Mann argues for a distinctively vernacular poetics of figurative language, making the claim that English authors used classical figures of speech to enact the displacement and relocation of these figures to England."―Paula Blank, Margaret L. Hamilton Professor of English, the College of William & Mary, author of Shakespeare and the Mismeasure of Renaissance Man

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2012. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. A central feature of English Renaissance humanism was its reverence for classical Latin as the one true form of eloquent expression. Yet sixteenth-century writers increasingly came to believe that England needed an equally distinguished vernacular language to serve its burgeoning national community. Thus, one of the main cultural projects of Renaissance rhetoricians was that of producing a common vernacular eloquence, mindful of its classical origins yet self-consciously English in character. The process of vernacularization began during Henry VIII s reign and continued, with fits and starts, late into the seventeenth century. However, as Jenny C. Mann shows in Outlaw Rhetoric, this project was beset with problems and conflicts from the start. Outlaw Rhetoric examines the substantial and largely unexplored archive of vernacular rhetorical guides produced in England between 1500 and 1700. Writers of these guides drew on classical training as they translated Greek and Latin figures of speech into an everyday English that could serve the ends of literary and national invention. In the process, however, they confronted aspects of rhetoric that run counter to its civilizing impulse. For instance, Mann finds repeated references to Robin Hood, indicating an ongoing concern that vernacular rhetoric is outlaw to the classical tradition because it is common, popular, and ephemeral. As this book shows, however, such allusions hint at a growing acceptance of the nonclassical along with a new esteem for literary production that can be identified as native to England. Working across a range of genres, Mann demonstrates the effects of this tension between classical rhetoric and English outlawry in works by Spenser, Shakespeare, Sidney, Jonson, and Cavendish. In so doing she reveals the political stakes of the vernacular rhetorical project in the age of Shakespeare. Seller Inventory # AAZ9780801449659

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