Chapter

‘For your forder aduertisement’:Performative Rescription in Wyatt’s Letters and Verse Epistles

Chris Stamatakis

in Sir Thomas Wyatt and the Rhetoric of Rewriting

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199644407
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738821 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199644407.003.0004

Series: Oxford English Monographs

‘For your forder aduertisement’:Performative Rescription in Wyatt’s Letters and Verse Epistles

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This chapter charts acts of performative rewriting in Wyatt’s epistolary texts—his two letters to his son, diplomatic correspondence, and three verse epistles. In different ways, these letters all call upon a rhetoric of rewriting: their readers and addressees are urged towards rescriptive action. In his paternal letters, Wyatt invokes the culture of imitation advocated in humanist pedagogy to instruct his son to model himself on exemplary copy-texts: manual copying shades into ethical rewriting. As a diplomatic ‘orator’ on embassies in Europe, Wyatt composed letters to the home court which not only recount previous texts and conversations, but also prompt his readers to rescriptive performance: inert words are transformed into material deeds. Wyatt’s three verse epistles, which critics often reduce to satires, rewrite their sources so as to invite their own rewriting by his readers. Such turning of the epistolary coin reaffirms the textual friendship between writer and reader.

Keywords: Wyatt; letters; epistolarity; pedagogy; paternity; copying; handwriting; enactment; verse epistles; conversation

Chapter.  23131 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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