Abstract and Keywords
The Jesuit investment in images, whether verbal or visual, virtual or actual, pictorial or poetic, rhetorical or exegetical, was strong and sustained, and may perhaps even be identified as one of the order’s defining characteristics. This chapter focuses on the major genres of illustrated books produced by Jesuits between the late sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries, asking how and why pictorial images functioned in these texts not merely as decorative ornaments but rather as crucial instruments of demonstration, argumentation, and amplification. For Jesuit authors, the printed image became a key hermeneutic device upon which the book’s textual apparatus jointly hinged. Moreover, the verbal production of mental images by means of such rhetorical figures as definitio per descriptionem, ekphrasis, hypotyposis, and prosopopoeia can be seen to work in tandem with the materially produced images—woodcuts or engravings for the most part—that populate these books.
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