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Polemic concerning the theory of ornament.
strate that the whole business conformed in every particu-
1703 (reprinted Modena, 1735, with all polemics relating thereto).
We find the theory of rhetorical ornament jealously Du Marsals kept intact by Baumgarten and Meier, while in France it ****P*. was as vigorously assailed by César Chesneau du Marsais, who published in 1730 a treatise on Tropes (the seventh part of his General Grammar)," wherein he develops, on the subject of metaphor, the observation already made by Montaigne : indeed he was perhaps inspired by Montaigne, although he does not mention his name. Du Marsais remarks that it is said that figures are modes of speech and turns of expression removed from the ordinary and common ; which is an empty phrase, as good as saying “the figured differs from the non-figured and figures are figures and not non-figures.” On the other hand it is wholly untrue that figures are removed from ordinary speech, for “nothing is more natural, ordinary and common than figures: more figures of speech are used in the town square on a market-day than in many days of academical discussion ”; and no speech, however short, can be composed entirely of non-figurative expressions. And Du Marsais gives instances of quite obvious and spontaneous expressions in which Rhetoric cannot refuse to recognize the figures of apostrophe, congeries, interrogation, ellipsis, prosopopoeia : “The apostles were persecuted and suffered their persecutions with patience. What can be more natural than the description given by St. Paul ? Maledicimur et benedicimus ; persecutionem patimur et sustinemus ; blasphemamur et obsecramus. Yet the apostle makes use of a fine figure of antithesis; cursing is the opposite to blessing ; persecution to endurance ; blasphemy to prayer.” But further, the very language of the figure is figured, since it is a metaphor.— But after such acute observations, Du Marsais ends by himself becoming confused and defines figures as “manners of speech differing from others in a particular modification by which it is possible to reduce each one to a species apart, and give a more lively, noble or pleasing effect than
. . Des tropes ou des différens sens dans lesquels on peut prendre un même mot dans une méme langue, Paris, 1730 (CEuvres de Du Marsais, Paris, 1797, vol. i.).
can be gained by a manner of speech expressing the same content of thought without such particular modification.” +
But the psychological interpretation of figures of speech, the first stage towards their aesthetic criticism, was not allowed to drop here. In his Elements of Criticism, Home says that he had long questioned whether that part of Rhetoric concerning figures might not be reduced to rational principles, and had finally discovered that figures consist in the passional element ; * he set himself therefore to analyse prosopopoeia, apostrophe and hyperbole in the light of the passional faculty. From Du Marsais and Home is derived everything of value in the Lectures on Rhetoric and belles lettres of Hugh Blair, professor at Edinburgh University from 1759 onwards; * published in book form, these lectures had an immense vogue in all the Schools of Europe including those of Italy, and replaced advantageously, by their “reason and good sense,” works of a much cruder type. Blair defined figures in general as “language suggested by imagination or passion.” " Similar ideas were promulgated in France by Marmontel in his Elements of Literature." In Italy Cesarotti was contrasting the logical element or “cypher-terms ” of language with the rhetorical element or “figure-terms,” and rational eloquence with imaginative eloquence." Beccaria, though a shrewd psychological analyst, held to the view of literary style as “accessory ideas or feelings added to the principal in any discourse ’’; that is, he failed to free himself from the distinction between the intellectual form intended for the expression of the principal ideas, and the literary form, modifying the first by the addition of accessory ideas.” In Germany an effort was made by Herder to interpret tropes and meta
* Des tropes ou des différens sens dans lesquels on peut prendre un méme mot dans une méme langue, part i. art. I ; cf. art. 4.
* Elem. of Criticism, iii. ch. 20.
phors as Vico had done, that is to say as essential to
and caused it practically to be thrown on the scrap-heap ;
* R. Bonghi, Lettere critiche, 1856 (4th ed., Naples, 1884), pp. 37, 65-67, 9o, Io:3.
* Gustav Gröber, Grundiss d. romanischen Philologie, vol. i. pp. 209-25o ; K. Vossler, B. Cellinis Stil in seiner Vita, Versuch einer psychol. Stilbetrachtung, Halle a. S., 1899; cf. the self-criticism of Vossler, Positivismus u. Idealismus in der Sprachwissenschaft, Heidelberg, 1904 (It. trans., Bari, Laterza, 1908).
• Ernst Elsteb, Principien d. Literaturwissenschaft, Halle a. S., 1897, vol. i. pp. 359-413.
Romanticism and Rhetoric. Present day.
Biese has devoted an entire book to metaphor; but one searches it in vain for a serious aesthetic analysis of this category."
The best scientific criticism of the theory of ornament is found scattered throughout the writings of De Sanctis, who when lecturing on rhetoric preached what he called anti-rhetoric.” But even here the criticism is not conducted from a strictly systematic point of view. It seems to us that the true criticism should be deduced negatively from the very nature of aesthetic activity, which does not lend itself to partition ; there is no such thing as activity of type a or type b, nor can the same concept be expressed now in one way, now in another. Such is the only way of abolishing the double monster of bare form which is, no one knows how, deprived of imagination, and ornate form which contains, no one knows how, an addition on the side of imagination.”
The kinds in The theory of artistic and literary kinds and of the ... laws or rules proper to each separate kind has almost always followed the fortunes of the rhetorical theory. Traces of the threefold division into epic, lyric and dramatic are found in Plato; and Aristophanes gives an example of criticism according to the canon of the kinds, particularly that of tragedy." But the most conspicuous theoretical treatment of the kinds bequeathed us by antiquity is precisely the doctrine of Tragedy which forms a large part of the Aristotelian fragment known as the Poetics. Aristotle defines such a composition as an imitation of a serious and complete action, having size,
1 Biese, Philos. des Metaphorischen, Hamburg-Leipzig, 1893. * La Giovinezza di Fr. de S. chs. 23, 25; Scritti vari, ii. pp. 272-274.
* See above, pp. 67-73. * Republic, iii. 394; see also E. Muller, Gesch. d. Th. d. Kunst, i.
pp. 134-206; ii. pp. 238-239, note.