Milton and the Art of Rhetoric

Milton and the Art of Rhetoric

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Daniel Shore
Cambridge University Press, 7/30/2012
EAN 9781107021501, ISBN10: 1107021502

Hardcover, 211 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
Language: English

Challenging the conventional view of John Milton as an iconoclast who spoke only to a 'fit audience though few', Daniel Shore argues that Milton was a far more pragmatic writer than previous scholarship has recognized. Summoning evidence from nearly all of his works - poetry and prose alike - Shore asserts that Milton distanced himself from the prescriptions of classical rhetoric to develop new means of persuasion suited to an age distrustful of traditional eloquence. Shore demonstrates that Milton's renunciation of agency, audience, purpose and effect in the prose tracts leads not to quietism or withdrawal, but rather to a reasserted investment in public debate. Shore reveals a writer who is committed to persuasion and yet profoundly critical of his own persuasive strategies. An innovative contribution to the field, this text will appeal to scholars of Milton, seventeenth-century literature, Renaissance literature and the history and theory of rhetoric.

spoken only to trees and stones
Part I. The Renunciation of Rhetoric
1. Milton in the public sphere
2. Constraint as a means of persuasion
3. Becoming a supplement
Part II. The Preservation of Rhetoric
4. Why Milton is not an iconoclast
5. The uses of trembling
6. Instrumental reason and Imitatio Christi
the threat of Samson Agonistes.