Early modern printed books are copiously illustrated with charts, diagrams, and other kinds of images that represent systems of thought and ways of doing things. Visual Rhetoric and Early Modern English Literature shows how these images fostered what Elizabeth Eisenstein called brainwork related to concepts of space, truth, art, and nature, and reveals their importance to poetry by Andrew Marvell and John Milton, and Aphra Behn's Oroonoko. The genres of illustration considered in this book include military strategy and tactics, garden design, instrumentation, Bibles, scientific schema, drawing instruction, natural history, comparative anatomy, and Aesop's Fables. The argument produces unique insights into the ways in which visual rhetoric affected verbal expression, and the book develops novel methods of using printed images as evidence in the interpretation of the rich, strange, and beautiful literature of early modern England.
Katherine O. Acheson is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Waterloo, Canada.
Contents: Introduction: printed images and early modern English literature; Space: 'The discription of the worlde': military, horticultural, and technical illustration and Andrew Marvell's Gardens; Truth: The 'way of dichotomy': dichotomous tables and John Milton's Paradise Lost; Art: 'Speculatory ingenuity': painting, writing, and Andrew Marvell's 'last instructions to a painter'; Nature: 'surveying Nature, with too nice a view': naturalistic, realistic, anatomical, and allegorical animals in Aphra Behn's Oroonoko; Works cited; Index.