The vernacular works of the celebrated Hellenist, humanist, and printer Henri Estienne (1531-1598) provide a good case-study for the use of commonplace material in polemical contexts in the later sixteenth century. In what follows, I will understand the ‘commonplace’ not in its strict and technical sense as an element in a tightly structured compendium of arguments derived from authoritative (typically classical) sources and designed to persuade by means of an appeal to the shared knowledge of an elite, highly educated culture, but rather as a feature of the everyday language and experience of 16th-century readers and writers that typically enjoys low cognitive salience but a correspondingly high potential for persuasion by means of its appeal to ‘commonsense’ knowledge.
Cowling, D. (2011). Commonplaces and Everyday Wisdom in Henri Estienne. In D. Cowling, & M. B. Bruun (Eds.), Commonplace culture in Western Europe in the early modern period I : reformation, counter-reformation and revolt (113-127). Peeters Publishers