Sunday, May 08, 2005

Ramism and the Pied Piper

Walter J. Ong on Ramism and rat catching:

"A kind of climax [of Ramist method] was perhaps reached in the eighteenth century when what had once been the crown of logic is put to the service even of rat-catching in The Universal Directory for Taking Alive and Destroying Rats and All Other Kinds of Four-Footed and Winged Vermin in a Method Hitherto Unattempted (1763), published by Robert Smith who identifies himself as 'Rat-Catcher to the Princess Amelia.' This was a far cry from Aristotle and Galen, but it was congenial enough, certainly, to Smith's Hanoverian patroness, in whose ancestral German domaine, thanks to Ramism, 'method' had now usurped the prerogatives of the Pied Piper and outmoded his more vocal arrangements for dealing with vermin" (925-926).

Originally posted at Notes from the Walter J. Ong Archives.

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