In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

HUMANITIES 447 which is normally the smallest interval in the Western system. Consequently, Vicentino devised a special keyboard instrument, the archicembalo, that used thirty-one keys for the octave (instead of the usual twelve in conventional keyboards). His motivation in reintroducing these genera was to recapture the legendary power of ancient music toaffect the sout particularly, in the modem application, through the expression of the sentiments of sung literary text. The principal ancient sources for tetrachord theory are Aristoxenus (fl 300 Be) and Ptolemy (fl AD 120), of whom Vicentino seems to be unaware. Rather, Vicentino's account is adapted from that of Boethius, in book 1 of his De institutione musica. Here it would have been useful to know that this passage is probably a translation of the longer treatise of Nicomachus (fl AD roo), which otherwise does not survive, as Calvin Bower points out in his 1989 translation of Boethius. And so Vicentino's material is at least indirectly based on an antique source. Finally Maniates dismisses the connection between Vicentino's division of thewhole tone into five equal parts and that proposed by Marchetta of Padua inhis LtLcidan·um (1317-18). Yet]an Berlinger, in his 1985 edition, has shown that this work was widely read in Italy until at least the end of the fifteenth century, and the latest exta.n.t source from the sixteenth century was copied in Venice in 1509; hence it is not impossible that Vicentino might have known it. More argument is needed to confirm or deny the connection. In sum, Maniates has given us a careful reading and consideration of Vicentino's treatise, replete with erudition. 11Us volume is a signficant accomplishment and addition to our knowledge of sixteenth-century music theory. (JAMES GRl£R) Michael F.N. Dixon. The Pollihcke G:Jurtier: Spenser's 'The Faerie Queene' as a Rhetoric ofJustice MeGill-Queen's University Press 1996. x, 246. $49·95 According to James Murphy, few Spenserians know rhetoric, and even fewer rhetoricians know Spenser. Michael Dixon's focus in The Polliticke Courtier seeks to bridge this reciprocal ignorance; his erudite explications of rhetorical theory provide a lexicon for our enhanced understanding of The Faerie Queene's strucrures and motivating concepts. Rather than concentrating on the definition of rhetoric traditional to Spenserian criticism, which tends to limit itself to the identification of tropes and schemes, he cites Kenneth Burke's powerful concept of 'courtship,' which Burke, invoking Castiglione, defines as 'the use of suasive devices for the transcending of social estrangement.' Estrangement is the mystery that 'motivates desire and defines the asymmetric conditions of power' in three fundamental areas: erotic (between the sexes), social (between classes), and 448 LETTERS IN CANADA 1997 transcendent (between different orders of Being). Each dynamic creates an analogous rhetorical structure, a hierarchical pyramid in which strategies exist to overcome estrangement and allow the subject to ascend to the 1 triadic apex,' whefuer this ultimate point is union with the beloved, attainment of social preferment, or merging with deity. The notions of courtship and estrangement are, of course, congruent with Platonic idealism, and there is thus a particular suitability to Dixon's choice of theoretical model. This definition of rhetoric privileges both a dynamism of interaction and also structural principles, especially as they are created through analogues (characters,episodes, architectures, or rhetorical styles). Dixon is canny in his perception of these correspondences, and the densely (and often eloquently) written analysis is richly illustrative of what attention to rhetorical structure can reveal. The emphasis on estrangementproduces a sensitivity both to the mobile interactions between elements within Spenser's romance-epic and also outside of the poem.r whetherbetweenSpenser and his audience orbetween various theoretical and critical schools. One of the most impressive features of this book is the dialogue that is set up between traditional Spenserian criticism and poststructuralist and new histortcist approaches. Dixon is perceptive in his acknowledgment of the connections between his own interest in the structural elements of literature and those of New Critics, deconstructionists, and poststructuralists. He is also judicious in his engagement with other critical positions such as the caricature of the new historicist position that sees The Faerie Queerre as...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 447-449
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.