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Lying in Early Modern English CultureFrom the Oath of Supremacy to the Oath of Allegiance$
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Andrew Hadfield

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198789468

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198789468.001.0001

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Rhetoric, Commonplacing, and Poetics

Rhetoric, Commonplacing, and Poetics

(p.158) 4 Rhetoric, Commonplacing, and Poetics
Lying in Early Modern English Culture

Andrew Hadfield

Oxford University Press

Chapter 4 examines a variety of treatises and debates about rhetoric and its value, and whether the art of persuasion could be a dangerous tool in the hands of the unscrupulous or even whether it was a skill that risked corrupting the user, dangers that were identified by Quintilian, whose Institutio Oratoria (The Orator’s Education) shaped so much rhetorical theory and practice in the Renaissance. The chapter explores the practice of commonplacing, noting down particular maxims which could then serve as the basis of explorations of issues, a practice that, like rhetoric, generated anxiety about truth, falsehood, and lying. Particular attention is paid to Erasmus’s Colloquies and Lingua; William Baldwin’s A Treatise of Moral Philosophy, the most popular work of philosophy in sixteenth-century England; the use of commonplaces in Montaigne’s Essays; George Puttenham’s use of proverbs and figures in his Arte of English Poesie (1589); and Sir Philip Sidney’s understanding of poetry as lying in The Defence of Poetry.

Keywords:   rhetoric, Quintilian, Aristotle, commonplaces, Erasmus, William Baldwin, Montaigne, George Puttenham, Sir Philip Sidney

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