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Rhetoric in Tooth and ClawAnimals, Language, Sensation$
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Debra Hawhee

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226398174

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226398204.001.0001

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Accumulatio, Natural History, and Erasmus’s Copia

Accumulatio, Natural History, and Erasmus’s Copia

(p.133) Chapter 6 Accumulatio, Natural History, and Erasmus’s Copia
Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw

Debra Hawhee

University of Chicago Press

This chapter serves as a conclusive capstone to the book with a focus on animals in the writings of the famed humanist and teacher of rhetoric, Desiderius Erasmus (1456-1536). In de Copia, Erasmus’s wildly popular manual for developing an abundant style, Erasmus explicitly recommends consulting the works of natural science and committing the facts there to memory in order to create a storehouse, and accumulation of things from which one can draw comparisons, narratives, proverbs, and the like. In keeping with his age, Erasmus’s regard for Pliny the Elder, the ancient (Roman) author of Natural History, makes for marked continuity with findings earlier in this book. Erasmus promotes a “collected memory,” the contours and implications of which can best be seen by focusing on animals as collectibles in the context of print culture.

Keywords:   Desiderius Erasmus, Pliny, natural history, natural science, accumulation, de Copia, collected memory

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