Compar or parison: Measure for Measure

McDonald, Russ. 2007. Compar or parison: Measure for Measure. In: Sylvia Adamson; Gavin Alexander and Katrin Ettenhuber, eds. Renaissance Figures of Speech. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 33-58. ISBN 9780521866408 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

Assessing attitudes towards artifice is one of the most reliable ways of distinguishing between modern and early-modern culture. The triumph of modernism in the twentieth century brought with it a suspicion of anything ornamental or highly wrought, an aesthetic typified in Mies van der Rohe's famous phrase 'less is more' or Adolf Loos's essay 'Ornament as Crime'. Such a notion would have been incomprehensible to European artists of the Renaissance: in writing, in visual design, in the arts and crafts generally, English people of the sixteenth century favoured objects that were ornamental, 'curious', and unabashedly arranged. Artisans and audiences were devoted, in the words of Richard Lanham, to 'the style which shows'; they did not share Lady Bracknell's regrets.

Item Type:

Book Section

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature



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Date Deposited:

12 Mar 2009 15:41

Last Modified:

19 Apr 2016 16:24


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