Race and Rhetoric in the Renaissance: Barbarian Errors by I. Smith

By I. Smith

Through the English Renaissance, the determine of the classical barbarian—identified through ineloquent speech that marked him as a cultural outsider—was recovered for stereotyping Africans. This publication advances the concept that language, and never merely colour or faith, functioned as a massive racial code. This learn additionally finds the way England’s strategic projection of a “barbarous” language used to be intended to reinforce its personal photo on the price of the early smooth African. Ian Smith uses the sixteenth-century preoccupation with language rehabilitation to inform the bigger tale of an apprehensive state redirecting cognizance clear of its personal marginal, minority prestige via racial scapegoating.

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Extra resources for Race and Rhetoric in the Renaissance: Barbarian Errors (Early Modern Cultural Studies)

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Race, Fanon reminds us, is an oppressive, aggregate fiction that confers special meaning on an otherwise neutral body over time; the constitutive subterfuge of race resides in the covert denial of its fictional, rhetorical status and simultaneous insistence on the self-evident truth of a brute, corporeal empiricism. Without question, race can, and does, often with horrifying results, resort to material reinforcements, but its prior instrumentality lies in argumentation, its imaginative conviction that the human word is made alien flesh and affective belief is the justifiable criterion of reality.

Peter Heather argues, however, that, even in late antiquity, this education reproduced and “maintained a totally artificial language—not susceptible to normal linguistic transformation over time—by which the ruling elite of the Empire could recognize one another” (1994: 183). The exclusive canonical regimen produced a highly specialized and immediately recognizable vocabulary, endorsed a core set of moral values for emulation, and promoted the disciplined mental habits that were endemic to the system.

Subscribing to this myth’s pervasive thesis of a languagegenerated sociological revolution, Isocrates (436–338 BC), however, does more than spin a fantastic story. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromsoe - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-11 C 24 R ACE AND R HETORIC IN THE RENAISSANCE His endorsement of the instrumentality of language bears directly on the political reforms that had revolutionized Athenian society and favored the emergence of rhetoric as “the art of discourse” in fifth-century Athens (Antidosis 253–54).

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