Monday, February 4, 2013

topos



topos [ˈtɒpɒs] n. Plural topoi.

1.) A traditional motif or theme (in a literary composition); a rhetorical commonplace, a literary convention or formula (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd Edition).

Etymology: adoption of Greek τόπος, place. The use of τόπος for a class of considerations which would serve as a "place" in which a rhetorician might look for suggestions in treating his theme, goes back to Isocrates. By Aristotle, τόπος was especially appropriated to classes of considerations of a general character, common to many kinds of subjects, the use of which was open to any one dealing with his subject as a rhetorician or dialectician, not with special knowledge, with a view to scientific demonstration. Such were more fully described as κοινοὶ τόποι, loci communes, commonplaces.

"I am sorry. I have such respect for this woman that I just cannot show her to you in the light he shadow deserves. I am lovesick, and ungrown, and know no trope or toponymic topoi, no image worthy. I have to play the supplicant here; ask you simply to eat some raw bare propositions I can't prepare or flavor enough to engage your real imagination" ("Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way", David Foster Wallace, 1989).

(Autoritratto come allegoria della Pittura, Artemisia Gentileschi, ~1639)

3 comments:

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Too hoity-toity for me.

Evi @ sexta-feira said...

The phrase "κοινός τόπος" is still used Greek and it means that something is commonly known or ordinary.

It's so interesting to me to see Greek words here.

p.s: Miss Barrymore is indeed a little old for romantic comedies, but that didn't spoil it for me.

Poke The Rock said...

I had to actually translated into German and then look up the German explanation - I feel so dumb.

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