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Indecorous ThinkingFigures of Speech in Early Modern Poetics$
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Colleen Ruth Rosenfeld

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277919

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277919.001.0001

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Fighting Words: Antithesis in Philip Sidney’s Arcadia

Fighting Words: Antithesis in Philip Sidney’s Arcadia

(p.120) Chapter 5 Fighting Words: Antithesis in Philip Sidney’s Arcadia
Indecorous Thinking

Colleen Ruth Rosenfeld

Fordham University Press

In Direction for Speech and Style (1601), John Hoskyns described the balancing of contraries characteristic of the figure of antithesis as a battle that takes place in language between words rather than people: “though each touch not the other, yet each affronts the other” with the result that the words of one clause “are aggravated by opposition to every word” in the other clause. Through a reading of the battle in the midst of which Sidney’s revised Arcadia breaks off (never to be ended), chapter five considers how the figure of antithesis and its relentless commitment to the coexistence of contraries constitutes a first principle in the world of the Arcadia. This figure’s ability to calibrate the relation between opposing entities (not unlike the force felt between reversed magnets) becomes both the defining stylistic and structural principle of the Arcadian world and its proof for the existence of God (or a Poet-Maker).

Keywords:   antithesis, The Arcadia, battle, contraries, endings, figures of speech, poet-maker, Philip Sidney, style, world

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