The Palace of Secrets: Beroalde de Verville and Renaissance Conceptions of Knowledge by Neil Kenny

The Palace of Secrets: Beroalde de Verville and Renaissance Conceptions of Knowledge

byNeil Kenny

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

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During the Renaissance, very divergent conceptions of knowledge were debated. Dominant among these was encyclopedism, which treated knowledge as an ordered and unified circle of learning in which branches were logically related to each other. By contrast, writers like Montaigne saw humanknowledge as an inherently unsystematic and subjective flux. The Palace of Secrets explores the tension between these two views by examining specific areas such as theories of knowledge, uses of genre, and the role of fiction in philosophical texts. Examples are drawn from numerous sixteenth- andseventeenth-century texts but focus particularly on the polymath Beroalde de Verville, whose work graphically illustrates these two competing conceptions of knowledge, since he gradually abandoned encyclopedism. Hitherto Beroalde has been mainly known for the extraordinary and notorious Moyen deparvenir; this is the first detailed study of the whole range of his work, both fictional and learned. The book straddles literary and intellectual history, and indeed it demonstrates that the division between the two has little meaning in Renaissance terms. The intellectual conflicts which itexplores have significance for the history of thought right up to the Enlightenment.

About The Author

Neil Kenny is at Queen Mary and Westfield College, London.

Details & Specs

Title:The Palace of Secrets: Beroalde de Verville and Renaissance Conceptions of KnowledgeFormat:HardcoverDimensions:318 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.94 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198158629

ISBN - 13:9780198158622

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`Kenny's erudition is impressive, and he offers many rich insights into the intellectual milieu of the late Renaissance, especially in France. His stress on the interrelatedness of philosophy and fiction deserves close attention.' Robin B. Barnes, The Sixteenth Century Journal XXIII/392