The art of imitation in the order of things : poetry, rhetoric, and the discursive formation of English
The first part of this thesis offers an analysis of Elizabethan poetical treatises, such as Philip Sidney’s Apology for Poetry, in terms of Michel Foucault’s discursive formations, and the ways in which they were instrumental in redefining the sixteenth century literary terrain of poetry, prose, drama, poetics and literary criticism. It examines the role of contributory factors such as the Puritan attack, Renaissance humanism, the Ramist reform of logic and rhetoric, increased levels of literacy and printing. It explores conflicting definitions of poetry in the early modern period and its changing role and function, and the appropriation of significant elements from other discourses, notably rhetoric, arguing that this process constituted part of the wider reorganisation of contemporary knowledges. The second part of the thesis is concerned with the work and practice of the writer George Gascoigne, author of the first poetical treatise in English and his importance as an Elizabethan poet.