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Outlaw RhetoricFiguring Vernacular Eloquence in Shakespeare's England$
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Jenny C. Mann

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449659

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449659.001.0001

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The Mingle-Mangle

The Mingle-Mangle

The Hodgepodge of Fancy and Philosophy in Cavendish’s Blazing World

(p.171) Chapter 6 The Mingle-Mangle
Outlaw Rhetoric

Jenny C. Mann

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines how vernacular eloquence operates by focusing on Margaret Cavendish's philosophical romance The Blazing World. More specifically, it uses The Blazing World to show how the linguistic anxieties first confronted by sixteenth-century rhetorical manuals move from the relationship between Latin and English into a different arena: the relationship between words and things. It first considers the two different notions of linguistic abuse outlined by Quintilian and John Locke—the contamination of one's language with dialect or foreign words and the more widespread confusion of words and things perpetrated by figures of speech in general. It then analyzes the figure soraismus, or what George Puttenham calls the “mingle mangle” and explains how it evokes one of the core problems of the English language: its linguistic impurity resulting from an ongoing susceptibility to foreign contamination. The chapter also discusses the challenges faced by vernacular rhetoric at the end of the early modern period.

Keywords:   vernacular eloquence, Margaret Cavendish, The Blazing World, linguistic abuse, foreign words, figures of speech, soraismus, mingle mangle, linguistic impurity, rhetoric

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