The Senecan Amble: A Study in Prose Form from Bacon to Collier

The Senecan Amble: A Study in Prose Form from Bacon to Collier

The Senecan Amble: A Study in Prose Form from Bacon to Collier

The Senecan Amble: A Study in Prose Form from Bacon to Collier

Excerpt

This is not a history of prose style in the seventeenth century, but an account of its most incisive pattern. Yet, as it deals with one of the extremes that serve to define contemporary styles, it becomes more than the story of a fashion. It is at bottom, however, an expanded revision of 'Senecan Style in the Seventeenth Century', for the use of which thanks are due to the editors of Philological Quarterly. Shaftesbury, who found in the Senecan mode a 'uniform Pace', complained that 'the common Amble or Canterbury is not . . . more tiresome to a good Rider, than this see-saw of Essay-Writers is to an able Reader'. Though but one of several metaphors that were used to describe the mannered structure and movement of Senecan style, the 'Amble' may extend to the easy gait of that prose. With exceptional address Morris W. Croll has treated the same subject in various essays on the broad European scene, giving considerable attention to England. But most of the writers involved in this study are illustrated in English Prose, the selections edited by Sir Henry Craik.

For an earlier period there are two works of importance. G. P. Krapp, in The Rise of English Literary Prose (1915), traces the development of artistic prose from Wyclif to Bacon. R. W. Chambers, in The Continuity of English Prose (1932), attempts that which Krapp thought impossible, to trace its continuity back to Alfred and ülfric. But Krapp is not concerned, like Croll, with the Ciceronian and Attic traditions as such, nor with any general Senecan or Patristic imitation. And Chambers is content with native tradition; for him English style is like the long bow, even if Ascham required something more to write Toxophilus. For the later period there is W. Fraser Mitchell English Pulpit Oratory from Andrewes to Tillotson (1932), which crosses this study at various points, but is centred on the development of prose style as related to 'metaphysical' preaching. Another point of view is found in the articles by . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.