Directions for English

Wolfgang G. Müller

in The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Literature

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780199205882
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Directions for English

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



Thomas Wilson's Art of Rhetoric (1553), a comprehensive humanist attempt to make English readers acquainted with rhetoric in the tradition of Cicero and George Puttenham's Art of English Poesy (1589), a rhetorical poetics and conduct book designed for the English courtier in his role as a poet, are both concerned with eloquence or persuasive speech as an essential element of social and cultural life. These two pioneering works, which self-confidently extol the function of eloquence in different social milieux, have to be seen in the context of the rise of English vernacular as a medium of public and literary expression. This article briefly characterizes this context followed by a discussion of the two texts.

Keywords: rhetoric; Cicero; poetics; conduct; English courtier; persuasive speech; social life

Article.  8027 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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