Mark Robson
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Rhetoric, in more than one sense
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The notion of 'showing' implies that there is something to be shown, that there is already something that lies behind the linguistic utterance. Ben Jonson's struggle to control the effects of language, which may be seen for example in his comments on the proper use of metaphor in the Discoveries, is indicative of a wider debate about the nature of language and its relation to meaning or sense. Rhetoric, in both the early modern period and the classical texts from which it took its most powerful ideas, tended to be seen as either neutral or double, that is, as suspect as well as to be lauded. In Immanuel Kant's Critique of Judgment, as Rodolphe Gasché has pointed out, there is a distinct division in his handling of the question of rhetoric.

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The sense of early modern writing

Rhetoric, poetics, aesthetics


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