"O! My Son": Musical Interpretations of a Father's Grief in the Age of Jacobean Rhetoric (Honors)

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English artists at the turn of the seventeenth century were remarkably attuned to the power or rhetoric, an art defined by Aristotle as "the faculty [power] of discovering in the particular case...the available means of persuasion," and expressed more simply as "the art of putting one's thoughts across in the most effective way." The art of making a text convincing overtook Elizabethan and Jacobean imaginations oriented around humanistic ideals of the Renaissance-namely a respect for the intellectual and affective individual-which aspired to a more direct connection with the audience. Consequently, the rhetorical arts saw" ever-increasing refinement and ingenuity" in this "golden age" of the English Renaissance; it was under this period's newfound prosperity that William Shakespeare and John Donne developed persuasive technical innovations in literature and composers Thomas Morley and William Byrd explored the depth of music's rhetorical dimensions.

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