Ars Poetriae

Ars Poetriae

Rhetorical and Grammatical Invention at the Margin of Literacy

Book - 1996
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In this study of thirteenth-century poetry and prose composition, William M. Purcell corrects the tendency of classical historiographers to marginalize the contributions of medieval rhetoric and, specifically, to obscure the importance of ars poetriae. Defining the genre as a unique hybrid of rhetoric and grammar, he contends that it should be understood as a development important for its time and pertinent to the evolution of rhetorical theory. Purcell suggests that the medieval genre holds contemporary significance as a model for rhetorical concerns brought to light by the critiques of post-modernism and feminism. Purcell examines the six Latin artes poetriae or works intended to instruct students in the composition of prose and poetry. He contends that because of their position in the shift from oral to written communication, the treatises reveal much about the nature of rhetoric and grammar. Purcell traces the pedagogical traditions - rhetorical and grammatical - that influenced ars poetriae,and he illumines thirteenth-century literary fashion, which favored original presentations of existing themes and strict compliance with the constraints of meter. Purcell argues that by combining the rhetorical doctrines of invention, arrangement, and style with the grammatical conjugations, declensions, and figures, ars poetriae utilized the versatility of rhetorical doctrine to create original presentations while relying on grammar's structure to facilitate meter. Unlike previous studies that have emphasized the similarities of the artes poetriae and have overlooked their grammatical tradition as a means of understanding the genre, Purcell's analysis comments on both their collective andindividual significance. His study also evaluates the value of ars poetriae for the contemporary rhetor, positing that the genre offers a means to subvert the tyranny of texts and ultimately to own the ideas found in them.
Publisher: Columbia, South Carolina : University of South Carolina Press, c1996
ISBN: 9781570030598
Branch Call Number: PN1042 .P87 1996x
Characteristics: p. ; cm


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