Refiguring Donne and Spenser
Aspects of Ramist rhetoric
in Spenser and Donne
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This chapter attempts to read Donne’s poetry and the sermon Deaths Duell from a rhetorical perspective indicating how the contemporary fashionable rhetoric of Peter Ramus has a penetrating influence in conceptualization as well as execution of the literary works of Donne. The chapter breaks new ground in asserting that the same may also be said to be true with respect to Spenser. It attempts to make a selective analysis of The Faerie Queene to indicate that Spenser in the invention of his image-arguments takes the help of binary concept-clusters in opposition to each other as practised in the Ramist pairing of dichotomous thoughts. The chapter asserts that Spenser’s principal debts to Ramist logic are in the preferential use of place-logic in invention of images and wide use of oppositional arguments like contrary, comparison, contradiction and relation. The use of logical arguments in Spenser goes hand in hand with that of rhetorical figures promoting the harmonious conjunction of sense, sound, and persuasion.

Spenser and Donne

Thinking poets


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