By Harry Blamires (auth.)
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Additional resources for A History of Literary Criticism
It is clear that as the rhetoricians trained their pupils to the mechanical exploitation of contrived stylistic devices, a notion of rhetoric was encouraged which saw it as a training in the manipulation of descriptive flights, wordy amplifications, epigrammatic turns of phrase, exaggerated paradoxes and ou dan dish expressions. This debased recipe for rhetoric was transmitted to later ages. The fifth century writer Martianus Capella wrote an influential extravaganza De Nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii, the Marriage of Learning and Eloquence.
It is really the first English book on education and what Elyot has to say about the place of literature in education certainly expresses the Renaissance spirit. In Book I, chapter X, What order shulde be in lerninge and which autours shulde be first redde, Elyot recommends especially Homer 'from whom as from a fountaine proceded all eloquence and lernyng'. It is not only that much can be learned from Homer about military matters, but also that here is to be found 'incomparable wisedomes, and instructions for politike governaunce of people'.
The good is the object of our desire. 32 A HISTORY OF LITERARY CRITICISM Aquinas supplies a definition of what constitutes beauty: For in respect to beauty three things are essential: first of all, integrity or completeness, since beings deprived of wholeness are on this score ugly; secondly, a certain required design or patterned structure; and finally, a certain splendour, inasmuch as things are called beautiful which possess a pleasing colour. 6 This is the definition which Stephen Dedalus quotes in Joyce's Portrait of the Artist, using the terms 'wholeness', 'harmony' and 'radiance'.
A History of Literary Criticism by Harry Blamires (auth.)