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A contradiction in terms: Skelton's 'effecte energiall' in "A Replycacion"

Jane Griffiths
Renaissance Studies
Vol. 17, No. 1, Bonae Litterae: Current Research on the "Studia Humanitatis" (MARCH 2003), pp. 55-68
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24413371
Page Count: 14
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A contradiction in terms: Skelton's 'effecte energiall' in "A Replycacion"
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Abstract

This paper tests the commonplace that John Skelton's late poem A Replycacion (1527–8) contains the first English formulation of the Platonic theory of divine inspiration. It argues first that Skelton's use of the term 'effecte energiall' suggests the influence of Aristotle as well as of Plato, second that Skelton's 'divine inspiration' can be read as a metaphor for the activity of the poet's own mind. In asserting the poet's originary power at a time when his authority was still widely thought to be derivative, the poem thus anticipates late sixteenth-century views of poetic authority.

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