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Punctual Relations: Thomas Browne’s Rhetorical Reclamations

Punctual Relations: Thomas Browne’s Rhetorical Reclamations <p>Abstract:</p><p/><p>This essay situates Thomas Browne’s late <i>Musaeum Clausum</i>, a fictive encycopedic catalogue or spoof catalogue, within the early modern culture of collecting. I argue that repeated rhetorical figures and effects in this text enforce a theme of absence, irrecoverability, and anonymity, and I suggest that Browne’s attitude here toward losses in learning is enervated and pessimistic in relation to the more typically optative mood of discovery and intellectual recuperation that characterizes much of his earlier writing. Browne relies on two rhetorical figures in particular—meronymy and ekphrasis—to structure his disquisition on loss within the framework of collecting. Browne’s late fascination with the fragmentary and dispersed indicates the belatedness and probable futility that he finds in the redemptive projects fashioned by Baconian investigators seeking to reassemble the knowledge that remains scattered throughout the world.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

Punctual Relations: Thomas Browne’s Rhetorical Reclamations

Studies in Philology , Volume 115 (3) – Jun 29, 2018

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of North Carolina Press.
ISSN
1543-0383

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p/><p>This essay situates Thomas Browne’s late <i>Musaeum Clausum</i>, a fictive encycopedic catalogue or spoof catalogue, within the early modern culture of collecting. I argue that repeated rhetorical figures and effects in this text enforce a theme of absence, irrecoverability, and anonymity, and I suggest that Browne’s attitude here toward losses in learning is enervated and pessimistic in relation to the more typically optative mood of discovery and intellectual recuperation that characterizes much of his earlier writing. Browne relies on two rhetorical figures in particular—meronymy and ekphrasis—to structure his disquisition on loss within the framework of collecting. Browne’s late fascination with the fragmentary and dispersed indicates the belatedness and probable futility that he finds in the redemptive projects fashioned by Baconian investigators seeking to reassemble the knowledge that remains scattered throughout the world.</p>

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jun 29, 2018

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