The research-group Pretextual Strategies focuses on two connected themes:
- ethos in paratexts
- strategies in argumentative prose texts.
The main focus is on literary criticism and poetics, on examining Renaissance
pretexts for rhetorical phenomena, reader’s persuasion and ethos.
Research contains the analyzing and interpreting of texts with the help of literary criticism, and rhetorical theories. Central research questions are: what does the text say about how an author is structuring his ideas, how is the process of influencing the public take shape, and what are the rhetorical or ideological frames with which the author (re)shapes or adapts his material. How does the self of the author (or publisher) appears within the text, how does he/she uses his authority and what does the reader read between the lines. For answering these questions researchers study Renaissance literary texts from the perspective of their rhetorical context, focusing on `strategies’: strategic positioning, strategic acting, author’s strategy. They analyze and interpret texts with the help of rhetorical theories, varying from classical rhetoric to modern argumentation theory, from classical `ethos’ to framing, negotiation tactics, and strategic maneuvering. In the analysis of historical texts methodology from historical linguistics, pragmatics and argumentation theory may be included.