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Five WordsCritical Semantics in the Age of Shakespeare and Cervantes$
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Roland Greene

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226000633

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226000770.001.0001

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(p.15) Invention
Five Words

Roland Greene

University of Chicago Press

Rabelais’s Third Book of Pantagruel talks about the physical and botanical properties of the herb Pantagruelion—an imaginary amalgamation of plants such as hemp, cotton, and flax, as well as minerals such as asbestos. This brings to mind the word invention, and how the word underwent change and adapted into its modern semantic configuration during the sixteenth century. This chapter explores the word invention as a means of defining the century’s cultural changes. It considers how the early modern understanding of this term and concept revives its classical understanding, examining writers who can be credited with reinventing the term—George Gascoigne, Philip Sidney, and Anne Lock. Invention, it turns out, is one of the key terms that describes the way through which power moves across divisions of society and culture.

Keywords:   invention, cultural changes, pantagruelion, George Gascoigne, Philip Sidney, Anne Lock

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