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Suger, Abbot of S-Denis, and the Rhetoric of Persuasion

Suger, Abbot of S-Denis, and the Rhetoric of Persuasion

Manipulating Reality and Producing Meaning

Chapter:
(p.73) 3 Suger, Abbot of S-Denis, and the Rhetoric of Persuasion
Source:
Plotting Gothic
Author(s):
Stephen Murray
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226191942.003.0004

The abbey church of S-Denis, just to the northwest of Paris, has assumed a most significant place in traditional stories as the starting point of Gothic. Abbot Suger has been credited with a direct role in the determination of the forms of the new church, which allegedly (Panofsky) resulted from his readings in the neo-Platonic writings of the Pseudo Dionysius (conflated with Saint Denis). This chapter examines the relationship between talking, writing and building, finding parallelism between the abbot’s deceptive “rhetoric of persuasion” and the architectural forms and spaces of his church. Writing and building were both corporate enterprises, both dependent upon the spoken word.

Keywords:   Abbot Suger, S-Denis, Panofsky, neo-Platonism, Pseudo-Dionysius, rhetoric of persuasion

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