The Emperor of Men's Minds: Literature and the Renaissance Discourse of Rhetoric

By Wayne A. Rebhorn | Go to book overview

Foreword

Stated simply, the purpose of this series is to study rhetoric in all the varied forms it has taken in human civilizations by situating it in the social and political contexts to which it is inextricably bound. The series Rhetoric and Society rests on the assumption that rhetoric is both an important intellectual discipline and a necessary cultural practice and that it is profoundly implicated in a large array of other disciplines and practices, from politics to literature to religion. Interdisciplinary by definition and unrestricted in range either historically or geographically, the series investigates a wide variety of questions; among them, how rhetoric constitutes a response to historical developments in a given society, how it crystallizes cultural tensions and conflicts and defines key concepts, and how it affects and shapes the social order in its turn. The series includes books that approach rhetoric as a form of signification, as a discipline that makes meaning out of other cultural practices, and as a central and defining intellectual and social activity deeply rooted in its milieu. In essence, the books in the series seek to demonstrate just how important rhetoric really is to human beings in society.

By examining what rhetoricians actually say about the nature and functions of their art, The Emperor of Men's Minds offers a revisionary interpretation of Renaissance rhetoric that argues for its historically distinctive character and for its direct engagement with many of the basic. concerns of its culture, including political power and authority, social mobility, gender, ethics, and the body. This book also offers a new model for the rhetorical reading of literary works, interpreting them as

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