Geographies of English Eloquence: Rhetoric, Poetics, and Place in Early Modern England


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


English Literature


While modern accounts tend to associate the English Renaissance with literary achievement and global expansion, the period itself admitted to both literary inferiority and global marginality. This dissertation examines the strategies by which vernacular authors negotiated the often vexed relationship between language and place in their efforts to bring eloquence to England. As these authors discovered in their attempts to adapt classical theories to the vernacular, geography had an important and complex role to play in the history of rhetoric and poetics. Responses to the peculiar challenges of what Thomas Nashe called “our homely Island tongue” thus reflect and rework longstanding associations between probability and proximity, figuration and foreignness, persuasion and transport.