Figurative language. Stanisław Kostka Potocki on tropes and rhetorical figures Cover Image

Mowa figuryczna. Stanisław Kostka Potocki o tropach i figurach retorycznych
Figurative language. Stanisław Kostka Potocki on tropes and rhetorical figures

Author(s): Wojciech Ryczek
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies, Studies of Literature, Polish Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego
Keywords: the Enlightenment; rhetoric; elocutio; tropes; rhetorical figures; figurative language; metaphor; Staniław Kostka Potocki; style

Summary/Abstract: In this paper, the author presents a critical edition of three chapters on rhetorical de-vices excerpted from the treatise O wymowie i stylu (On Eloquence and Style, Warsaw 1815) written by Stanisław Kostka Potocki (1755–1821), an enlightened man of letters. He begins with a brief introduction to a reading of Potocki’s text on some figurative uses of language. The author explains the circumstances in which Potocki wrote his rhetorical manual (the request of the Warsaw Society of Friends of Learning) and discusses its most important sources, both classic (Aristotle’s On Rhetoric, Cicero’s On the Ideal Orator, Quintilian’s Institutions of Oratory) and modern (César Chesneau Dumarsais’ Traité des Tropes, Paris 1730, Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, Dublin, Edinburgh 1783). With a few explanatory remarks on the three chapters presenting the nature of figurative language (in particular metaphor, personification, hyperbole and apostrophe) the author examines the connection between the rhetorical considerations on style and the Enlightenment philosophy of language. According to Stanisław Kostka Potocki, the tropes and rhetorical figures, being almost natural expressions of emotions, passions and imagination, should be regarded as the primordial origin of the human language. Thus the Enlightenment, the triumph of analytical (‘pure’) reason over imagination tinged with emotionality, is a period when authors intentionally limited the use of figurative language (although never totally rejected it) in order to reach the simplicity of the linguistic expression.

  • Issue Year: 16/2014
  • Issue No: 2 (31)
  • Page Range: 225-258
  • Page Count: 34
  • Language: Polish