Preaching Rhetorical Invention: Poeta and Paul in the Digby <i>Conversion of St Paul</i>


  • Ann Hubert University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign



Poeta, Paul, preaching, sermon, invention


This article evaluates the Digby Conversion of St Paul through the lens that medieval preaching affords, exposing how Poeta’s rhetoric makes the internal process of Paul’s conversion external and transparent to the audience. By uncovering Poeta’s incorporation of preaching strategies and the rhetorical principle of invention specifically, I show how Poeta’s prologues and epilogues grant Paul the ethical mobility he requires to become a believable Christian convert and preacher. Poeta’s rhetoric anticipates and validates the language of Paul’s sermon, a circumstance that prompts my reevaluation of Poeta’s role as a framing device to show instead his interactive relationship with Paul throughout the play.

Author Biography

Ann Hubert, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Ann Hubert ( is a doctoral student in the department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include medieval and early modern drama, Latin and vernacular sermons, and classical literatures and languages. She is also involved in drama productions. Ann has co-directed Mankind and directed the Digby Conversion of St Paul as well as the N-Town ‘Trial of Mary and Joseph', ‘Nativity', and ‘Assumption of Mary’ plays.