Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy

Living Edition
| Editors: Marco Sgarbi

Tropes in Renaissance Rhetoric

  • Javier Patino LoiraEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02848-4_1084-1


A trope is the transfer of a word from its usual meaning to a different one, justified by a relation of similitude, or of another kind, between the two meanings. Early modern students of grammar and rhetoric memorized the tropes and learned how to identify and use each of them through the use of widely reprinted ancient and contemporary manuals of rhetoric, as well as publications dealing exclusively with tropes, such as those by Despauterius, Mosellanus and Susenbrotus. In practical terms, tropes stood out as crucial ingredients of the ornament of style, and as such they were central to the way literate individuals would speak and, especially, write. Furthermore, from a theoretical standpoint, tropes were a catalyst for crucial developments in early modern linguistic and aesthetic thought. On the one hand, they provided a window to the mechanisms through which language works, opening as they did a distinction between literal and figurative meaning. On the other, tropes (and especially metaphor) attracted great attention as the locus of coalescence between cognition and pleasure and became, therefore, touchstones for the development of a theory of the beautiful.

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Primary Literature

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Marco Sgarbi
    • 1
  • Peter Mack
    • 2
  1. 1.University Ca' Foscari VeniceVeniceItaly
  2. 2.The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced StudyUniversity of LondonLondonUnited Kingdom