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The art of rhetoric (1560)

Author: Thomas Wilson; Peter E Medine
Publisher: University Park, Pa. : Pennsylvania State University Press, ©1994.
Edition/Format:   Book : State or province government publication : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"A learned work of rhetoric ... compiled and made in the English tongue, of [one] who in judgment is profound, in wisdom and eloquence most famous." Thus in 1563 rhetorician Richard Rainolde praised The Art of Rhetoric, the work that brought into English the procedures of Ciceronian rhetoric - invention, disposition, style, memory, and delivery - the core of the academic curriculum in Renaissance England. Written in
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Genre/Form: Early works
Early works to 1800
Named Person: Thomas (Politiker) Wilson
Material Type: Government publication, State or province government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Thomas Wilson; Peter E Medine
ISBN: 0271009411 9780271009414
OCLC Number: 26722914
Notes: Originally published: London, 1560.
Description: xiv, 321 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Contents: Occasion and Composition. Wilson's Life. The Art of Rhetoric in Renaissance England. Classical Rhetoric and the Renaissance. Wilson's Art of Rhetoric. This Edition. Notes to the Introduction --
The Art of Rhetoric. Dedication to the Earl of Warwick. Prologue to the Reader. Preface. Verses by Walter Haddon. Verses by Thomas Wilson. The Art of Rhetoric. The Second Book. The Third Book --
Index of Rhetorical Terms.
Responsibility: Thomas Wilson ; edited with notes and commentary by Peter E. Medine.

Abstract:

"A learned work of rhetoric ... compiled and made in the English tongue, of [one] who in judgment is profound, in wisdom and eloquence most famous." Thus in 1563 rhetorician Richard Rainolde praised The Art of Rhetoric, the work that brought into English the procedures of Ciceronian rhetoric - invention, disposition, style, memory, and delivery - the core of the academic curriculum in Renaissance England. Written in vigorous, native English, the Art went through eight editions between 1553 and 1585. At least part of its appeal was practicality. On the final page of his copy on Quintilian, Gabriel Harvey noted that The Art of Rhetoric is the "daily bread of our common pleaders and discoursers." But its appeal was also academic. In 1619, nearly forty years after the Art had lapsed from print, John Milton's teacher Alexander Gill invoked Wilson as he ridiculed the affectations of pretentiously learned language.

Seen in its historical context, Wilson's The Art of Rhetoric reveals a great deal about the education of such authors as Shakespeare, Spenser, Jonson, and Milton. Since it bears directly on what is basic to imaginative literature - the art of language - the Art encapsulates a literary context relevant to all those studying the English Renaissance, whether their approach is historicist, structuralist, deconstructionist, or new historicist. In addition, it will be of interest to students of rhetoric, education, and intellectual history, in general.

There have been four editions of the Art in the twentieth century: two facsimiles and two original-spelling texts, none of which is in print. Peter Madine's edition modernizes the spelling and punctuation of the text of the second edition, which Wilson revised and expanded in 1560, and furnishes a fully critical apparatus, including introduction, textual notes, commentary, and glossary. As such, this edition makes available a central work of the English Renaissance in an accessible format.

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