For example the stylistic embellishments of his letters descriptorie and

For example the stylistic embellishments of his

This preview shows page 88 - 90 out of 233 pages.

For example, the stylistic embellishments of his letters ‘‘descriptorie’’ and ‘‘laudatorie’’ suit them more to prose romance than to practical communication, while the copious variations on themes like the love of learning to be found among the letters ‘‘hortatorie’’ turn them into moral essays rather than casual exchanges. Furthermore, Day’s mar- ginal identi fi cation of fi gures of speech in his sample letters, supplement- ed by a ‘‘declaration of . . . Tropes, Figures, and Schemes,’’ appears to elevate and aestheticize the letter-writing enterprise, removing it from everyday communication. Nonetheless, Day makes it clear that his purpose in naming and classifying fi gures is not to add on extra orna- ments to everyday speech or writing but rather ‘‘to set foorth vnto the learner, how much the phrase of our daylie speech by well ordering and deliuerie is graced with Figures and other ornaments of Art’’ (pt. II, p.  ). In other words, the art Day analyzes into tropes and fi gures is what he considers normal to the practice of daily speech and conversation. Nonetheless, while it is misleading to assimilate letter-writing in general or Day’s epistolary handbook in particular to the literary tradition, it may be equally misleading to make too absolute a distinction between them. As Jonathan Goldberg has usefully observed, ‘‘letter manuals serve to instruct on the socially countenanced modes for a self-produc- tion that can never be separated from the fi ctive simulations that structure the real.’’ ²⁷ Furthermore, the circulation in Day of a wide- ranging repertoire of social interaction scripts would certainly have been an invaluable resource for dramatists, like Shakespeare, who sought to simulate the situated discourse of people of all ranks.  Eloquent relations in letters
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The distinctively practical orientation of Day’s handbook – its provi- sion of real-life repertoires for the interactive self-production of letter writing – shows itself in how Day adjusts material he borrows from Erasmus. Day’s handbook is heavily indebted to Erasmus’s manual: he echoes Erasmus in his de fi nition of the epistle as ‘‘the familiar and mutuall talke of one absent friende to another’’ ( ); in his division of epistles into ‘‘Demonstratiue, Deliberatiue, Iudiciall, and Familiar’’ kinds (  ); both in his naming of the exordium , the narratio or propositio , the con fi rmatio , the confutatio , and the peroratio as parts of the letter and in his quali fi cation that ‘‘These are not altogither at all times vsed’’ (  ). But there is a remarkable disjunction between the Erasmian theory and the contemporary social practices that Day recommends. Repeatedly Day pro ff ers and then undermines Erasmian precepts. For example, in writing about ‘‘superscriptions and directions,’’ he follows Erasmus at fi rst by characterizing and praising the practices of the ancient Romans,
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