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Formal mattersReading the materials of English Renaissance literature$
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Allison K. Deutermann and András Kiséry

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719085536

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719085536.001.0001

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How to construct a poem: Descartes, Sidney

How to construct a poem: Descartes, Sidney

(p.219) 10 How to construct a poem: Descartes, Sidney
Formal matters

Shankar Raman

Manchester University Press

Shankar Raman’s essay argues that the very idea of creative invention—so central to modern assumptions about literary authorship—is embedded in philosophical and mathematical ideas and practices of making. By focusing on the “matter” of key geometrical texts, from Euclid to Descartes, Shankar Raman finds evidence of a radical change in the imagined purpose of geometric training, which he relates to new ways of thinking about poetic production. The descriptions and non-linguistic representations of algebraic and geometric problems found in Descartes’ project becomes analogous, in ways Philip Sidney’s Defence of Poetry seems almost to anticipate, to the poet’s struggle to make rather than to imitate.

Keywords:   Philip Sidney, René Descartes, Geometry, Poetry, Euclid

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