Courting Power : Persuasion and Politics in the Early Thirteenth Century book cover
1st Edition

Courting Power
Persuasion and Politics in the Early Thirteenth Century

ISBN 9780815331223
Published December 1, 1998 by Routledge
262 Pages

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Book Description

This text chronicles a change in epistolary persuasion in the 1230's, crystallized at the imperial chancery of Frederick II, Emperor from 1220-1250. There, traditional appeals, premised on authority and harmony, were challenged by letters in which historical circumstances functioned as an integral part of the strategy of persuasion. Based on the close reading of "Artes Dictandi", as well as a series of letters issued from the papal and imperial chanceries, this book explores the theory and practice of medieval letter-writing. Letters are evaluated as verbal acts intended to persuade, with the public as the ultimate arbiter of success. The author argues that the form, proportion and style of letters were contoured by ideology.

Table of Contents

Part 1 Background to the Question; Chapter 1 Framing the Facts in Medieval Epistolary Theory; Chapter 2 Persuasion and Reception; Chapter 3 Pope vs. Emperor: The Issues of Contention; Part 2 Persuasion and Power at the Papal Chancery; Chapter 4 Elevated Prose Style and Power at the Chancery of Innocent III; Chapter 5 Harmony and Conflict at the Chancery of Honorius III; Chapter 6 Limits of Persuasion at the Chancery of Gregory IX; Part 3 Persuasion and Resistance at the Imperial Chancery; Chapter 7 Emergence of a New Paradigm of Persuasion; Chapter 8 Persuasion and the Science of Nature at the Court of Frederick II; Chapter 9 The Failure of Persuasion; Conclusion; Bibliography Index;

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Laurie Shepard


"Shepard's citations of sources and of modern scholarship are complete and transparent." -- Speculum-A Journal of Medieval Studies
"Although she teaches literature, her reading in the historical sources is broad and deep. She has underlined the importance of rhetoric as a tool fir thirteenth-century society and has described its cultivation and use. There is much valuable information in the book and in the notes to guide students who are interested in the field of rhetoric and its rebirth in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.--Kenneth Pennington, International History Review, Catholic University of American."