Master class honouring the 38th Erasmus Birthday Lecture

Peter Mack: Rhetoric as a Guide to Interpretation

17 November 2017 from 12:00 to 14:15 hrs
KNAW, Trippenhuis, Kloveniersburgwal 29, 1011 JV Amsterdam
020 551 0767
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This master class will examine the possibility of using the doctrines of rhetoric not for generating new texts but for analysing existing texts and images. Rhetoric invites us to think about the relationship between speaker, audience and subject matter, and provides a range of techniques for finding ideas and words suitable for persuading that audience. 

The class will  consider the possible hermeneutic applications of a range of rhetorical teachings and will discuss the interpretation of a Renaissance poem, a scene from Hamlet, passages from Salman Rushdie’s The Moor’s Last Sigh, and paintings by Rembrandt (Bathsheba at Her Bath, 1654, Louvre) and Cézanne (Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1904-6, Kunsthaus Zürich) in this light. 

Fifteen promising young graduate students (MA students and PhD candidates) will be selected to participate in this master class. Peter Mack will provide all participants with around 50 pages of material to read in preparation for the master class.


This event is fully booked. You can not register anymore. If you have already registered, we will let you know whether your application has been successful before 8 November 2017. Peter Mack’s public lecture Paraphrase, Paradox and Amplification in Agricola and Erasmus will take place later the same afternoon.

Peter W.D. Mack (Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Warwick University) studies Medieval and Renaissance European intellectual, cultural and literary history, and especially rhetoric. Most of his publications have been concerned with Renaissance rhetoric. They include Renaissance Argument: Valla and Agricola in the Traditions of Rhetoric and Dialectic (1993), Elizabethan Rhetoric (2002), Reading and Rhetoric in Montaigne and Shakespeare (2010), A History of Renaissance Rhetoric 1380-1629 (2011) and Rhetoric's Questions, Reading and Interpretation (2017). Future plans include a book on the Uses of Literary Tradition.