Off-campus WSU users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your WSU access ID and password, then click the "Off-campus Download" button below.

Non-WSU users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name



Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

First Advisor

Michael . Giordano


Alison Saunders defines the emblem as “a composite literary/artistic form in which figure and text together convey a meaningful moralizing message which could not be conveyed by one or the other form in isolation.” (2008, 455) As a literary genre, scholars have studied how the emblematic image is “designed to catch attention” (Manning, 2002), how text and image “work together in harmony as a rhetorical tool of persuasion” (Saunders, 1989), and how the combination of image and text solidifies the moral lesson to memory (Russell, 1981 and 1985; Saunders, 1986; Burin, 1988; Giordano, 1998; Black, 2013). Daniel Russell and Peter Daly have also pointed to the semiotic versatility of the emblem image as it could be combined with different text to create new meaning (Russell, 1985 and 1995; Daly, 1998). My argument is that the emblematic image did not stand alone; but rather it functioned within a larger series of systems, styles and sensibilities during the sixteenth-century. This study focuses on the woodcut imagery of Guillaume de la Perrière’s Théâtre des bons engins (1539) and Morosophie (1553) and Gilles Corrozet’s Hecatongraphie (1540). Chapter 1 outlines how the emblematic image served as part of a multinational bookmaking industry. The chapter traces the development of the emblem layout beginning with Andrea Alicato’s 1531 Emblematum liber, along with the three major schools of artistic thought present during the Golden Age of French printing (1530–1550). Chapter 2 examines the emblematic image’s role on the printed page. Here, we will review how the emblem format was customizable to each writer and how printers’ tools such as decorative borders (patterns and variations) visually enhanced emblem books. Chapter 3 reviews the figural arrangements seen in these images, which embrace the classical and mannerist artistic styles of the period. By investigating commonalities among images, compositional patterns become apparent. These patterns offer opportunities for artists to ‘show’ the complex elements of the writers’ text. Finally, Chapter 4 identifies concurrent artistic and literary genres that are reflected throughout these images. These stylistic borrowings point back to classical antiquity, which was a fascination and source of inspiration during the Renaissance.

Off-campus Download