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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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Withholding Names: Periphrasis in Mary Wroth’s Urania

Withholding Names: Periphrasis in Mary Wroth’s Urania

(p.141) Chapter 6 Withholding Names: Periphrasis in Mary Wroth’s Urania
Indecorous Thinking

Colleen Ruth Rosenfeld

Fordham University Press

Following a set of characters who travel through the Urania while conspicuously withholding the names of their love objects, chapter six argues that periphrasis, that figure of speech which names an object by talking around that object, models a peculiar form of possession: Periphrasis is the figure that permits characters to maintain their grasp on precisely that which they do not have. While Wroth’s readers have tended to read her romance as a roman à clef, this chapter suggests that the Urania’s orientation towards history does not take the form of a topical allegory but a circumlocution. Periphrasis becomes the instrument by which Wroth’s fictional world brings about precisely that which history denied.

Keywords:   allegory, circumlocution, history, fiction, figure of speech, Mary Wroth, periphrasis, possession, topical, The Urania

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