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Rhetoric normally explains the three arts of using language as a means to persuade (logos, pathos, and ethos).As well as the five canons of Rhetoric: memory, invention, delivery, style, and arrangement. Along with grammar and logic or dialectic, rhetoric is one of the three ancient arts of discourse. From ancient Greece to the late 19th Century, it was a central part of Western education, filling the need to train public speakers and writers to move audiences to action with arguments. The very act of defining has itself been a central part of rhetoric, appearing among Aristotle's Topics. The word is derived from the Greek (rhētorikós), "oratorical", from (rhḗtōr), "public speaker", related to (rhêma), "that which is said or spoken, word, saying", and ultimately derived from the verb (erô), "to speak, say". In its broadest sense, rhetoric concerns human discourse.

Rhetoric as a civic art

Throughout European history, rhetoric has concerned itself with persuasion in public and political settings such as assemblies and courts. Because of its associations with democratic institutions, rhetoric is commonly said to flourish in open and democratic societies with rights of free speech, free assembly, and political enfranchisement for some portion of the population.

Rhetoric as a course of study

As a course of study, rhetoric trains students to speak and/or write effectively. The rhetorical curriculum is nearly as old as the rhetorical tradition itself. Over its many centuries, the curriculum has been transformed in a number of ways, but, in general, it has emphasized the study of principles and rules of composition as a means for moving audiences.In Greece, rhetoric originated in a school of pre-Socratic philosophers known as Sophists circa 600 BC. It was later taught in the Roman Empire and during the Middle Ages as one of the three original liberal arts or trivium (along with logic and grammar).

Rhetoric as epistemology

The relationship between rhetoric and knowledge is one of its oldest and most interesting problems. The contemporary stereotype of rhetoric as "empty speech" or "empty words" reflects a radical division of rhetoric from knowledge, a division that has had influential adherents within the rhetorical tradition, most notably Plato in ancient Athens, and Peter Ramus in 16C Renaissance Europe. It is a division that has been strongly associated with Enlightenment thinking about language.

Researchers in the rhetoric of science, however, have shown how the two are difficult to separate, and how discourse helps to create knowledge. This perspective is often called "epistemic rhetoric," where communication among interlocutors is fundamental to the creation of knowledge in communities.

Emphasizing this close relationship between discourse and knowledge, contemporary rhetoricians have been associated with a number of philosophical and social scientific theories that see language and discourse as central to, rather than in conflict with, knowledge-making (See Critical Theory, Post-structuralism, Hermeneutics, Dramatism, Reflexivity).

The scope of rhetoric

Contemporary studies of rhetoric address a more diverse range of domains than was the case in ancient times. While classical rhetoric trained speakers to be effective persuaders in public forums and institutions like courtrooms and assemblies, they also were all gay, contemporary rhetoric investigates human discourse writ large. Rhetoricians have studied the discourses of a wide variety of domains, including the natural and social sciences, fine art, religion, journalism, fiction, history, cartography, and architecture, along with the more traditional domains of politics and the law.

Public relations, lobbying, law, marketing, professional and technical writing, and advertising are modern professions that employ rhetorical practitioners.

The history of rhetoric in western civilization

Ancient Greece

The earliest mention of oratorical skill occurs in Homer's Iliad, where heroes like Achilles, Hektor, and Odysseus were honored for their ability to advise and exhort their peers and followers (the Laos or army) in wise and appropriate action. With the rise of the democratic polis, speaking skill was adapted to the needs of the public and political life of cities in Ancient Greece, much of which revolved around the use of oratory as the medium through which political and judicial decisions were made, and through which philosophical ideas were developed and disseminated. For modern students today, it can be difficult to remember that the wide use and availability of written texts is a phenomenon that was just coming into vogue in Classical Greece. In Classical times, many of the great thinkers and political leaders performed their works before an audience, usually in the context of a competition or contest for fame, political influence, and cultural capital; in fact, many of them are known only through the texts that their students, followers, or detractors wrote down. As has already been noted, rhetor was the Greek term for orator: A rhetor was a citizen who regularly addressed juries and political assemblies and who was thus understood to have gained some knowledge about public speaking in the process, though in general facility with language was often referred to as logôn techne, "skill with arguments" or "verbal artistry."

Rhetoric thus evolved as an important art, one that provided the orator with the forms, means, and strategies for persuading an audience of the correctness of the orator's arguments. Today the term rhetoric can be used at times to refer only to the form of argumentation, often with the pejorative connotation that rhetoric is a means of obscuring the truth. Classical philosophers believed quite the contrary: the skilled use of rhetoric was essential to the discovery of truths, because it provided the means of ordering and clarifying arguments.

The Sophists

Organized thought about public speaking began in Ancient Greece. Possibly, the first study about the power of language may be attributed to the philosopher Empedocles (d. ca. 444 BC), whose theories on human knowledge would provide a basis for many future rhetoricians. The first written manual is attributed to Corax and his pupil Tisias. Their work, as well as that of many of the early rhetoricians, grew out of the courts of law; Tisias, for example, is believed to have written judicial speeches that others delivered in the courts. Teaching in oratory was popularized in the 5th century BC by itinerant teachers known as sophists, the best known of whom were Protagoras (c.481-420 BC), Gorgias (c.483-376 BC), and Isocrates (436-338 BC). The Sophists were a disparate group who travelled from city to city making public displays to attract students who were then charged a fee for their education. Their central focus was on logos or what we might broadly refer to as discourse, its functions and powers. They defined parts of speech, analyzed poetry, parsed close synonyms, invented argumentation strategies, and debated the nature of reality. They claimed to make their students "better," or, in other words, to teach virtue. They thus claimed that human "excellence" was not an accident of fate or a prerogative of noble birth, but an art or "techne" that could be taught and learned. They were thus among the first humanists. Several sophists also questioned received wisdom about the gods and the Greek culture, which they believed was taken for granted by Greeks of their time, making them among the first agnostics. For example, they argued that cultural practices were a function of convention or nomos rather than blood or birth or phusis. They argued even further that morality or immorality of any action could not be judged outside of the cultural context within which it occurred. The well-known phrase, "Man is the measure of all things" arises from this belief. One of their most famous, and infamous, doctrines has to do with probability and counter arguments. They taught that every argument could be countered with an opposing argument, that an argument's effectiveness derived from how "likely" it appeared to the audience (its probability of seeming true), and that any probability argument could be countered with an inverted probability argument. Thus, if it seemed likely that a strong, poor man were guilty of robbing a rich, weak man, the strong poor man could argue, on the contrary, that this very likelihood (that he would be a suspect) makes it unlikely that he committed the crime, since he would most likely be apprehended for the crime. They also taught and were known for their ability to make the weaker (or worse) argument the stronger (or better). Aristophanes famously parodies the clever inversions that sophists were known for in his play The Clouds.

The word "sophistry" developed strong negative connotations in ancient Greece that continue today, but in ancient Greece sophists were nevertheless popular and well-paid professionals, widely respected for their abilities but also widely criticized for their excesses.

See Jacqueline de Romilly, The Great Sophists in Periclean Athens (French orig. 1988; English trans. Clarendon Press/Oxford University Press, 1992).


Isocrates (436-338 BC), (not to be confused with the philosopher Socrates) like the sophists, taught public speaking as a means of human improvement, but he worked to distinguish himself from the Sophists, whom he saw as claiming far more than they could deliver. He suggested that while an art of virtue or excellence did exist, it was only one piece, and the least, in a process of self-improvement that relied much more heavily on native talent and desire, constant practice, and the imitation of good models. Isocrates believed that practice in speaking publicly about noble themes and important questions would function to improve the character of both speaker and audience while also offering the best service to a state. He thus wrote his speeches as "models" for his students to imitate in the same way that poets might imitate Homer or Hesiod. His was the first permanent school in Athensmarker and it is likely that Plato's Academymarker and Aristotle's Lyceum were founded in part as a response to Isocrates. Though he left no handbooks, his speeches ("Antidosis" and "Against the Sophists" are most relevant to students of rhetoric) became models of oratory (he was one of the canonical "Ten Attic Orators") and he had a marked influence on Cicero and Quintilian, and through them, on the entire educational system of the west.

Plato outlined the difference between true and false rhetoric.


Plato (427-347 BC) famously outlined the differences between true and false rhetoric in a number of dialogues, but especially the Gorgias and the Phaedrus. Both dialogues are complex and difficult, but in both Plato disputes that the Sophistic notion that an art of persuasion, the art of the Sophists which he calls "rhetoric" (after the public speaker or rhêtôr), can exist independent of the art of dialectic. Plato claims that since Sophists appeal only to what seems likely or probable, rather than to what is true, they are not at all making their students and audiences "better," but simply flattering them with what they want to hear. While Plato's condemnation of rhetoric is clear in the Gorgias, in the Phaedrus he seems to suggest the possibility of a true art of rhetoric based upon the knowledge produced by dialectic, and he relies on such a dialectically informed rhetoric to appeal to the main character, Phaedrus, to take up philosophy. It is possible that in developing his own theory of knowledge, Plato coined the term "rhetoric" both to denounce what he saw as the false wisdom of the Sophists, and to advance his own views on knowledge and method. Plato's animosity against the Sophists derives not only from their inflated claims to teach virtue and their reliance on appearances, but from the fact that his teacher, Socrates, was accused of being a Sophist and ultimately sentenced to death for his teaching.


Plato's student Aristotle (384-322 BC) famously set forth an extended treatise on rhetoric that still repays careful study today.

In the first sentence of The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle says that "rhetoric is the counterpart [literally, the antistrophe] of dialectic." As the "antistrophe" of a Greek ode responds to and is patterned after the structure of the "strophe" (they form two sections of the whole and are sung by two parts of the chorus), so the art of rhetoric follows and is structurally patterned after the art of dialectic because both are arts of discourse production. Thus, while dialectical methods are necessary to find truth in theoretical matters, rhetorical methods are required in practical matters such as adjudicating somebody's guilt or innocence when charged in a court of law, or adjudicating a prudent course of action to be taken in a deliberative assembly.For Plato and Aristotle, dialectic involves persuasion, so when Aristotle says that rhetoric is the antistrophe of dialectic, he means that rhetoric as he uses the term has a domain or scope of application that is parallel to but different from the domain or scope of application of dialectic. In Nietzsche Humanist (1998: 129), Claude Pavur explains that "[t]he Greek prefix 'anti' does not merely designate opposition, but it can also mean 'in place of.'" When Aristotle characterizes rhetoric as the antistrophe of dialectic, he no doubt means that rhetoric is used in place of dialectic when we are discussing civic issues in a court of law or in a legislative assembly. The domain of rhetoric is civic affairs and practical decision making in civic affairs, not theoretical considerations of operational definitions of terms and clarification of thought – these, for him, are in the domain of dialectic.

Aristotle's treatise on rhetoric is an attempt to systematically describe civic rhetoric as a human art or skill (techne). His definition of rhetoric as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion," essentially a mode of discovery, seems to limit the art to the inventional process, and Aristotle heavily emphasizes the logical aspect of this process. But the treatise in fact also discusses not only elements of style and (briefly) delivery, but also emotional appeals (pathos) and characterological appeals (ethos). He thus identifies three steps or "offices" of rhetoric—invention, arrangement, and style—and three different types of rhetorical proof:

  • ethos: how the character and credibility of a speaker can influence an audience to consider him/her to be believable.
Today, this is still an effective means of persuading an audience; however, shrewd, critical listeners will note whether the "expert's" actual arguments are as impressive and satisfying as his or her title, to avoid the informal logical fallacy of an Appeal to Authority.
    • This could be any position in which the speaker—from being a college professor of the subject, to being an acquaintance of person who experienced the matter in question—knows about the topic.
    • For instance, when a magazine claims that An MITmarker professor predicts that the robotic era is coming in 2050, the use of big-name "MIT" (a world-renowned American university for the advanced research in math, science, and technology) establishes the "strong" credibility.
  • pathos: the use of emotional appeals to alter the audience's judgment.
    • This can be done through metaphor, amplification, storytelling, or presenting the topic in a way that evokes strong emotions in the audience.
  • logos: the use of reasoning, either inductive or deductive, to construct an argument.
    • Logos appeals include appeals to statistics, math, logic, and objectivity. For instance, when advertisements claim that their product is 37% more effective than the competition, they are making a logical appeal.
    • Inductive reasoning uses examples (historical, mythical, or hypothetical) to draw conclusions.
    • Deductive reasoning, or "enthymematic" reasoning, uses generally accepted propositions to derive specific conclusions. The term logic evolved from logos. Aristotle emphasized enthymematic reasoning as central to the process of rhetorical invention, though later rhetorical theorists placed much less emphasis on it.

Aristotle also identifies three different types or genres of civic rhetoric: forensic (also known as judicial, was concerned with determining truth or falsity of events that took place in the past, issues of guilt), deliberative (also known as political, was concerned with determining whether or not particular actions should or should not be taken in the future), and epideictic (also known as ceremonial, was concerned with praise and blame, values, right and wrong, demonstrating beauty and skill in the present).

One of the most famous of Aristotelian doctrines was the idea of topics (also referred to as common topics or commonplaces). Though the term had a wide range of application (as a memory technique or compositional exercise, for example) it most often referred to the "seats of argument"—the list of categories of thought or modes of reasoning—that a speaker could use in order to generate arguments or proofs. The topics were thus a heuristic or inventional tool designed to help speakers categorize and thus better retain and apply frequently used types of argument. For example, since we often see effects as "like" their causes, one way to invent an argument (about a future effect) is by discussing the cause (which it will be "like"). This and other rhetorical topics derive from Aristotle's belief that there are certain predictable ways in which humans (particularly non-specialists) draw conclusions from premises. Based upon and adapted from his dialectical Topics, the rhetorical topics became a central feature of later rhetorical theorizing, most famously in Cicero's work of that name.

See Eugene Garver, Aristotle's Rhetoric: An Art of Character (University of Chicago Press,1994).

Roman rhetoricians

For the Romans, oration became an important part of public life. Cicero (106-43 BC) and Quintilian (35-100 AD) were chief among Roman rhetoricians.

Rhetorica ad Herennium, formerly attributed to Cicero but of unknown authorship, is one of the most significant works on rhetoric and is still widely used as a reference today. It is an extensive reference on the use of rhetoric, and in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it achieved wide publication as an advanced school texts on rhetoric.

Cicero is considered one of the most significant rhetoricians of all time. His works include the early and very influential De Inventione (On Invention, often read alongside the Ad Herennium as the two basic texts of rhetorical theory throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance), De Oratore (a fuller statement of rhetorical principles in dialogue form), Topics (a rhetorical treatment of common topics, highly influential through the Renaissance), Brutus (a discussion of famous orators) and Orator (a defense of Cicero's style). Cicero also left a large body of speeches and letters which would establish the outlines of Latin eloquence and style for generations to come. It was the rediscovery of Cicero's speeches (such as the defence of Archias) and letters (to Atticus) by Italians like Petrarch that, in part, ignited the cultural innovations that we know as the Renaissance.

Quintilian's career began as a pleader in the courts of law; his reputation grew so great that Vespasian created a chair of rhetoric for him in Rome. The culmination of his life's work was the Institutio oratoria (or Institutes of Oratory), a lengthy treatise on the training of the orator in which he discusses the training of the "perfect" orator from birth to old age and, in the process, reviews the doctrines and opinions of many influential rhetoricians who preceded him.

In the Institutes, Quintilian organizes rhetorical study through the stages of education that an aspiring orator would undergo, beginning with the selection of a nurse. Aspects of elementary education (training in reading and writing, grammar, and literary criticism) are followed by preliminary rhetorical exercises in composition (the progymnasmata) that include maxims and fables, narratives and comparisons, and finally full legal or political speeches. The delivery of speeches within the context of education or for entertainment purposes became widespread and popular under the term "declamation." Rhetorical training proper was categorized under five canons that would persist for centuries in academic circles:
  • Inventio (invention) is the process that leads to the development and refinement of an argument.
  • Once arguments are developed, dispositio (disposition, or arrangement) is used to determine how it should be organized for greatest effect, usually beginning with the exordium.
  • Once the speech content is known and the structure is determined, the next steps involve elocutio (style) and pronuntiatio (presentation).
  • Memoria (memory) comes to play as the speaker recalls each of these elements during the speech.
  • Actio (delivery) is the final step as the speech is presented in a gracious and pleasing way to the audience - the Grand Style.

This work was available only in fragments in medieval times, but the discovery of a complete copy at Abbey of St. Gallmarker in 1416 led to its emergence as one of the most influential works on rhetoric during the Renaissance.

Quintilian's work describes not just the art of rhetoric, but the formation of the perfect orator as a politically active, virtuous, publicly minded citizen. His emphasis was on the ethical application of rhetorical training, in part a reaction against the growing tendency in Roman schools toward standardization of themes and techniques. At the same time that rhetoric was becoming divorced from political decision making, rhetoric rose as a culturally vibrant and important mode of entertainment and cultural criticism in a movement known as the "second sophistic," a development which gave rise to the charge (made by Quintilian and others) that teachers were emphasizing style over substance in rhetoric.

Rhetoric from the Medieval period to the Enlightenment

After the breakup of the western Roman Empire, the study of rhetoric continued to be central to the study of the verbal arts; but the study of the verbal arts went into decline for several centuries, followed eventually by a gradual rise in formal education, culminating in the rise of medieval universities. But rhetoric transmuted during this period into the arts of letter writing (ars dictaminis) and sermon writing (ars praedicandi). As part of the trivium, rhetoric was secondary to the study of logic, and its study was highly scholastic: students were given repetitive exercises in the creation of discourses on historical subjects (suasoriae) or on classic legal questions (controversiae).

Augustine of Hippo

Although he is not commonly regarded as a rhetorician, St. Augustine (354-430) was trained in rhetoric and was at one time a professor of Latin rhetoric in Milan. After his conversion to Christianity, he became interested in using these "pagan" arts for spreading his religion. This new use of rhetoric is explored in the Fourth Book of his De Doctrina Christiana, which laid the foundation of what would become homiletics, the rhetoric of the sermon. Augustine begins the book by asking why "the power of eloquence, which is so efficacious in pleading either for the erroneous cause or the right", should not be used for righteous purposes (IV.3).

One early concern of the medieval Christian church was its attitude to classical rhetoric itself. Jerome (d. 420) complained, "What has Horace to do with the Psalms, Virgil with the Gospels, Cicero with the Apostles?" Augustine is also remembered for arguing for the preservation of pagan works and fostering a church tradition which led to conservation of numerous pre-Christian rhetorical writings.

Rhetoric would not regain its classical heights until the renaissance, but new writings did advance rhetorical thought. Boethius (480?-524), in his brief Overview of the Structure of Rhetoric, continues Aristotle's taxonomy by placing rhetoric in subordination to philosophical argument or dialectic. The introduction of Arab scholarship from European relations with the Muslim empire (in particular Al-Andalusmarker) renewed interest in Aristotle and Classical thought in general, leading to what some historians call the twelfth century renaissance. A number of medieval grammars and studies of poetry and rhetoric appeared.

Late medieval rhetorical writings include those of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225?-1274), Matthew of Vendome (Ars Versificatoria, 1175?), and Geoffrey of Vinsauf (Poetria Nova, 1200-1216). Pre-modern female rhetoricians, outside of Socrates' friend Aspasia, are rare; but medieval rhetoric produced by women either in religious orders, such as Julian of Norwich (d. 1415), or the very well-connected Christine de Pizan (1364?-1430?), did occur if not always recorded in writing.

In his 1943 Cambridge Universitymarker doctoral dissertation in English, Canadian Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) surveys the verbal arts from approximately the time of Cicero down to the time of Thomas Nashe (1567-1600?). His dissertation is still noteworthy for undertaking to study the history of the verbal arts together as the trivium, even though the developments that he surveys have been studied in greater detail since he undertook his study. As noted below, McLuhan became one of the most widely publicized thinkers in the 20th century, so it is important to note his scholarly roots in the study of the history of rhetoric and dialectic.

Another interesting record of medieval rhetorical thought can be seen in the many animal debate poems popular in England and the continent during the Middle Ages, such as The Owl and the Nightingale (13th century) and Geoffrey Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls (1382?).

Sixteenth century

Walter J. Ong's encyclopedia article "Humanism" in the 1967 New Catholic Encyclopedia provides a well-informed survey of Renaissance humanism, which defined itself broadly as disfavoring medieval scholastic logic and dialectic and as favoring instead the study of classical Latin style and grammar and philology and rhetoric. (Reprinted in Ong's Faith and Contexts (Scholars Press, 1999; 4: 69-91.))

Desiderius Erasmus was a proponent of classical rhetoric
One influential figure in the rebirth of interest in classical rhetoric was Erasmus (c.1466-1536). His 1512 work, De Duplici Copia Verborum et Rerum (also known as Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style), was widely published (it went through more than 150 editions throughout Europe) and became one of the basic school texts on the subject. Its treatment of rhetoric is less comprehensive than the classic works of antiquity, but provides a traditional treatment of res-verba (matter and form): its first book treats the subject of elocutio, showing the student how to use schemes and tropes; the second book covers inventio. Much of the emphasis is on abundance of variation (copia means "plenty" or "abundance", as in copious or cornucopia), so both books focus on ways to introduce the maximum amount of variety into discourse. For instance, in one section of the De Copia, Erasmus presents two hundred variations of the sentence "Semper, dum vivam, tui meminero." Another of his works, the extremely popular The Praise of Folly, also had considerable influence on the teaching of rhetoric in the later sixteenth century. Its orations in favour of qualities such as madness spawned a type of exercise popular in Elizabethan grammar schools, later called adoxography, which required pupils to compose passages in praise of useless things.

Juan Luis Vives (1492 - 1540) also helped shape the study of rhetoric in England. A Spaniard, he was appointed in 1523 to the Lectureship of Rhetoric at Oxford by Cardinal Wolsey, and was entrusted by Henry VIII to be one of the tutors of Mary. Vives fell into disfavor when Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon and left England in 1528. His best-known work was a book on education, De Disciplinis, published in 1531, and his writings on rhetoric included Rhetoricae, sive De Ratione Dicendi, Libri Tres (1533), De Consultatione (1533), and a rhetoric on letter writing, De Conscribendis Epistolas (1536).

It is likely that many well-known English writers would have been exposed to the works of Erasmus and Vives (as well as those of the Classical rhetoricians) in their schooling, which was conducted in Latin (not English) and often included some study of Greek and placed considerable emphasis on rhetoric. See, for example, T.W. Baldwin's William Shakspere's Small Latine and Lesse Greeke, 2 vols. (University of Illinois Press, 1944).

The mid-1500s saw the rise of vernacular rhetorics — those written in English rather than in the Classical languages; adoption of works in English was slow, however, due to the strong orientation toward Latin and Greek. Leonard Cox's The Art or Crafte of Rhetoryke (c. 1524-1530; second edition published in 1532) is considered to be the earliest text on rhetorics in English; it was, for the most part, a translation of the work of Philipp Melanchthon. A successful early text was Thomas Wilson's The Arte of Rhetorique (1553), which presents a traditional treatment of rhetoric. For instance, Wilson presents the five canons of rhetoric (Invention, Disposition, Elocutio, Memoria, and Utterance or Actio). Other notable works included Angel Day's The English Secretorie (1586, 1592), George Puttenham's The Arte of English Poesie (1589), and Richard Rainholde's Foundacion of Rhetorike (1563).

During this same period, a movement began that would change the organization of the school curriculum in Protestant and especially Puritan circles and lead to rhetoric losing its central place. A French scholar, Pierre de la Ramée, in Latin Petrus Ramus (1515-1572), dissatisfied with what he saw as the overly broad and redundant organization of the trivium, proposed a new curriculum. In his scheme of things, the five components of rhetoric no longer lived under the common heading of rhetoric. Instead, invention and disposition were determined to fall exclusively under the heading of dialectic, while style, delivery, and memory were all that remained for rhetoric. See Walter J. Ong, Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason (Harvard University Press, 1958; reissued by the University of Chicago Press, 2004, with a new foreword by Adrian Johns). Ramus, rightly accused of sodomy and erroneously of atheism, was martyred during the French Wars of Religion. His teachings, seen as inimical to Catholicism, were short-lived in France but found a fertile ground in the Netherlands, Germany and England.

One of Ramus' French followers, Audomarus Talaeus (Omer Talon) published his rhetoric, Institutiones Oratoriae, in 1544. This work provided a simple presentation of rhetoric that emphasized the treatment of style, and became so popular that it was mentioned in John Brinsley's (1612) Ludus literarius; or The Grammar Schoole as being the "most used in the best schooles." Many other Ramist rhetorics followed in the next half-century, and by the 1600s, their approach became the primary method of teaching rhetoric in Protestant and especially Puritan circles. See Walter J. Ong, Ramus and Talon Inventory (Harvard University Press, 1958); Joseph S. Freedman, Philosophy and the Art Europe, 1500-1700: Teaching and Texts at Schools and Universities (Ashgate, 1999). John Milton (1608-1674) wrote a textbook in logic or dialectic in Latin based on Ramus' work, which has now been translated into English by Walter J. Ong and Charles J. Ermatinger in The Complete Prose Works of John Milton (Yale University Press, 1982; 8: 206-407), with a lengthy introduction by Ong (144-205). The introduction is reprinted in Ong's Faith and Contexts (Scholars Press, 1999; 4: 111-41).

Ramism could not exert any influence on the established Catholic schools and universities, which remained by and large stuck in Scholasticism, or on the new Catholic schools and universities founded by members of the religious orders known as the Society of Jesus or the Oratorians, as can be seen in the Jesuit curriculum (in use right up to the 19th century, across the Christian world) known as the Ratio Studiorum (that Claude Pavur, S.J., has recently translated into English, with the Latin text in the parallel column on each page (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2005)). If the influence of Cicero and Quintilian permeates the Ratio Studiorum, it is through the lenses of devotion and the militancy of the Counter-Reformation. The Ratio was indeed imbued with a sense of the divine, of the incarnate logos, that is of rhetoric as an eloquent and humane means to reach further devotion and further action in the Christian city, which was absent from Ramist formalism. The Ratio is, in rhetoric, the answer to St Ignatius Loyola's practice, in devotion, of "spiritual exercizes." This complex oratorical-prayer system is absent from Ramism.

The English Tradition in the Seventeenth Century

In New England and at Harvard Collegemarker (founded 1636), Ramus and his followers dominated, as Perry Miller shows in The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century (Harvard University Press, 1939). However, in England, several writers influenced the course of rhetoric during the seventeenth century, many of them carrying forward the dichotomy that had been set forth by Ramus and his followers during the preceding decades. Of greater importance is that this century saw the development of a modern, vernacular style that looked to English, rather than to Greek, Latin, or French models.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626), although not a rhetorician, contributed to the field in his writings. One of the concerns of the age was to find a suitable style for the discussion of scientific topics, which needed above all a clear exposition of facts and arguments, rather than the ornate style favored at the time. Bacon in his The Advancement of Learning criticized those who are preoccupied with style rather than "the weight of matter, worth of subject, soundness of argument, life of invention, or depth of judgment." On matters of style, he proposed that the style conform to the subject matter and to the audience, that simple words be employed whenever possible, and that the style should be agreeable. See Lisa Jardine, Francis Bacon: Discovery and the Art of Discourse (Cambridge University Press, 1975).

Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) also wrote on rhetoric. Along with a shortened translation of Aristotle's Rhetoric, Hobbes also produced a number of other works on the subject. Sharply contrarian on many subjects, Hobbes, like Bacon, also promoted a simpler and more natural style that used figures of speech sparingly.

Perhaps the most influential development in English style came out of the work of the Royal Society (founded in 1660), which in 1664 set up a committee to improve the English language. Among the committee's members were John Evelyn (1620-1706), Thomas Sprat (1635-1713), and John Dryden (1631-1700). Sprat regarded "fine speaking" as a disease, and thought that a proper style should "reject all amplifications, digressions, and swellings of style" and instead "return back to a primitive purity and shortness" (History of the Royal Society, 1667).

While the work of this committee never went beyond planning, John Dryden is often credited with creating and exemplifying a new and modern English style. His central tenet was that the style should be proper "to the occasion, the subject, and the persons." As such, he advocated the use of English words whenever possible instead of foreign ones, as well as vernacular, rather than Latinate, syntax. His own prose (and his poetry) became exemplars of this new style.

Rhetoric in the 18th and 19th centuries

Arguably one of the most influential schools of rhetoric during this time was Scottish Belletristic rhetoric, exemplified by such professors of rhetoric as Hugh Blair whose Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres saw international success in various editions and translations.

Modern rhetoric

At the turn of the twentieth century, there was a revival of rhetorical study manifested in the establishment of departments of rhetoric and speech at academic institutions, as well as the formation of national and international professional organizations. Theorists generally agree that a significant reason for the revival of the study of rhetoric was the renewed importance of language and persuasion in the increasingly mediated environment of the twentieth century (see Linguistic turn) and through the twenty-first century, with the media focus on the wide variations and analyses of political rhetoric and its consequences. The rise of advertising and of mass media such as photography, telegraphy, radio, and film brought rhetoric more prominently into people's lives.

Reflecting this, more recently the term rhetoric has been applied to media forms other than verbal language, e.g. Visual rhetoric. The goal is to analyze how non-verbal communication persuades. For example, a soft drink advertisement showing an image of young people drinking and laughing is making the case that the consumer, by using the product, will be healthy and happy.

Theorists and theories

Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca

Chaim Perelman was a philosopher of law, who studied, taught, and lived most of his life in Brussels. He was among the most important argumentation theorists of the twentieth century. His chief work is the Traité de l'argumentation - la nouvelle rhétorique (1958), with Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, which was translated into English as The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation, by John Wilkinson and Purcell Weaver (1969). Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca move rhetoric from the periphery to the center of argumentation theory. Among their most influential concepts are "the universal audience," "quasi-logical argument," and "presence."

Henry Johnstone Jr.

Henry Johnstone Jr. was an American philosopher and rhetorician known especially for his notion of the "rhetorical wedge" and his re-evaluation of the ad hominem fallacy. He was the founder and longtime editor of the journal Philosophy and Rhetoric.

Kenneth Burke

Kenneth Burke was a rhetorical theorist, philosopher, and poet. Many of his works are central to modern rhetorical theory: A Rhetoric of Motives (1950), A Grammar of Motives (1945), Language as Symbolic Action (1966), and Counterstatement (1931). Among his influential concepts are "identification," "consubstantiality," and the "dramatistic pentad."

Lloyd Bitzer

Lloyd Bitzer is a rhetorician who is best known for his notion of "the rhetorical situation."

Edwin Black

Edwin Black was a rhetorical critic best known for his book Rhetorical Criticism a Study in Method (1965) in which he criticized the dominant "neo-Aristotelian" tradition in American rhetorical criticism as having little in common with Aristotle "besides some recurrent topics of discussion and a vaguely derivative view of rhetorical discourse." Furthermore, he contended, because rhetorical scholars had been focusing primarily on Aristotelian logical forms they often overlooked important, alternative types of discourse. He also published several highly influential essays including: "Secrecy and Disclosure as Rhetorical Forms.", "The Second Persona," and "A Note on Theory and Practice in Rhetorical Criticism."

Marshall McLuhan

Marshall McLuhan was a media theorist whose discoveries are important to the study of rhetoric. McLuhan's famous dictum "the medium is the message" highlighted the important role of the mass media in modern communication.

I.A. Richards

I.A. Richards was a literary critic and rhetorician. His The Philosophy of Rhetoric is an important text in modern rhetorical theory. In this work, he defined rhetoric as "a study of misunderstandings and its remedies," and introduced the influential concepts tenor and vehicle to describe the relationship of metaphors and ideas.

Stephen Toulmin

Stephen Toulmin is a philosopher whose models of argumentation have had great influence on modern rhetorical theory. His Uses of Argument is an important text in modern rhetorical theory and argumentation theory.

Edward Bernays

Edward Bernays is the father of modern public relations. As such, he devised works about intricate sales and marketing practices to market to goods to people. A nephew to Sigmund Freud, he used late 19th century psychology in application of his techniques.

Richard E. Vatz

Richard E. Vatz is a professor of rhetoric and communication whose framing of persuasion as the struggle for salience/agenda and then struggle for infusion of meaning/spin was first articulated in "The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation" [PHILOSOPHY AND RHETORIC, Summer, 1973] and later in “The Mythical Status of Situational Rhetoric" [REVIEW OF COMMUNICATION, January, 2009]

Methods of analysis

There does not exist an analytic method that is widely recognized as "the" rhetorical method, partly because many in rhetorical study see rhetoric as merely produced by reality (see dissent from that view below). It is important to note that the object of rhetorical analysis is typically discourse, and therefore the principles of "rhetorical analysis" would be difficult to distinguish from those of "discourse analysis." However, rhetorical analytic methods can also be applied to almost anything, including objects—a car, a castle, a computer, a comportment.

Generally speaking, rhetorical analysis makes use of rhetorical concepts (ethos, logos, kairos, mediation, etc.) to describe the social or epistemological functions of the object of study. When the object of study happens to be some type of discourse (a speech, a poem, a joke, a newspaper article), the aim of rhetorical analysis is not simply to describe the claims and arguments advanced within the disourse, but (more important) to identify the specific semiotic strategies employed by the speaker to accomplish specific persuasive goals. Therefore, after a rhetorical analyst discovers a use of language that is particularly important in achieving persuasion, she typically moves onto the question of "How does it work?" That is, what effects does this particular use of rhetoric have on an audience, and how does that effect provide more clues as to the speaker's (or writer's) objectives?

There are some scholars who do partial rhetorical analysis and defer judgments about rhetorical success. In other words, some analysts attempt to avoid the question of "Was this use of rhetoric successful [in accomplishing the aims of the speaker]?" To others, however, that is the preeminent point: is the rhetoric strategically effective and what did the rhetoric accomplish? This question allows a shift in focus from the speaker's objectives to the effects and functions of the rhetoric itself.

Rhetorical criticism

Rhetorical critics explain texts and speeches by investigating their rhetorical situation, typically placing them in a framework of speaker/audience exchange.

The opposing view, gaining currency, is from The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation, PHILOSOPHY AND RHETORIC (Summer: 1973), that the source of rhetorical persuasion is the rhetor who competes with other rhetors for his or her agenda and the spin to infuse meaning into the chosen focus.

Rhetorical critics use a variety of concepts from contemporary and classical rhetoric in order to conduct their analyses. Though any text, in principle, could be the subject of a rhetorical criticism, most rhetorical critics focus on the public and professional texts and speeches that have been the primary concern of the rhetorical tradition for centuries. These kinds of texts are rhetorical because they are attempts to solve real-world problems by addressing specific audiences who have decision-making power.

Though fiction would not seem to qualify as "rhetorical" in any traditional sense, some have argued that rhetorical criticism can be used as a way to understand it. In his 1961 Rhetoric of Fiction, Wayne Booth makes this case, that the writer of fiction, like the rhetor, is addressing an audience in order to solve a problem. Booth writes, " the rhetoric resourse available to the writer of epic, novel or short story as he tries, consciously or unconsciously, to impose his fictional word upon the reader."A number of recent critics of prose fiction and of narrative or non-narrative poems have emphasized the author"s use of a variety of means- including the authorial presence or "voice"that he or she projects- in order to engage the interest and guide the imaginative and emotional response of the reader to whom the literary work is addressed.

Conversation analysis

Discourse Analysis

Argument Reconstruction

French rhetoric in the Modern and Contemporary periods

Rhetoric was part of the curriculum in Jesuit and, to a lesser extent, Oratorian colleges until the French Revolution. For Jesuits, right from the foundation of the Society in France, rhetoric was an integral part of the training of young men toward taking up leadership positions in the Church and in State institutions, as Marc Fumaroli has shown it in his foundational Age de l’éloquence (1980). The Oratorians, by contrast, reserved it a lesser place, in part due to the stress they placed on modern language acquisition and a more sensualist philosophy (Bernard Lamy’s Rhetoric is an excellent example of their approach). Nonetheless, in the 18th Century, rhetoric was the structure and crown of secondary education, with works such as Rollin’s Treatise of Studies achieving a wide and enduring fame across the Continent.

The French Revolution, however, turned this around. Philosophers such as Condorcet, who drafted the French revolutionary chart for a people’s education under the rule of reason, dismissed rhetoric as an instrument of oppression in the hands of clerics in particular. The Revolution went as far as to suppress the Bar, arguing that forensic rhetoric did disservice to a rational system of justice, by allowing fallacies and emotions to come into play. Nonetheless, as later historians of the 19th century were keen to explain, the Revolution was a high moment of eloquence and rhetorical prowess, although set against a background of rejecting rhetoric.

Under the First Empire and its wide-ranging educational reforms, imposed on or imitated across the Continent, rhetoric regained little ground. In fact, instructions to the newly founded Polytechnic School, tasked with training the scientific and technical elites, made it clear that written reporting was to supersede oral reporting. Rhetoric reentered secondary curriculum in fits and starts, but never regained the prominence it had enjoyed under the ancien régime, although the penultimate year of secondary education was known as the Class of Rhetoric. When manuals were redrafted in the mid-century, in particular after the 1848 Revolution to formulate a national curriculum, care was taken to distance their approach to rhetoric from that of the Church, which was seen as an agent of conservatism and reactionary politics.

By the end of the 1870s, a major change had taken place: philosophy of the rationalist or eclectic kind, by and large Kantian, had taken over rhetoric as the true end stage of secondary education (the so-called Class of Philosophy bridged secondary and university education). Rhetoric was then relegated to the study of literary figures of speech, a discipline later on taught as Stylistics within the French literature curriculum. More decisively, in 1890, a new standard written exercise superseded the rhetorical exercises of speech writing, letter writing and narration. The new genre, called dissertation, had been invented in 1866, for the purpose of rational argument in the philosophy class. Typically, in a dissertation, a question is asked, such as: “Is history a sign of humanity’s freedom?” The structure of a dissertation consists in an introduction that elucidates the basic definitions involved in the question as set, followed by an argument or thesis, a counter-argument or antithesis, and a resolving argument or synthesis that is not a compromise between the former but the production of a new argument, ending with a conclusion that does not sum up the points but opens onto a new problem. The dissertation design was influenced by Hegelianism. It remains today the standard of writing in French humanities.

By the beginning of the 20th century, rhetoric was fast losing the remains of its former importance, and eventually was taken out of the school curriculum altogether at the time of the Separation of State and Churches (1905). Part of the argument was that rhetoric remained the last element of irrationality, driven by religious arguments, in what was perceived as inimical to Republican education. The move, initiated in 1789, found its resolution in 1902 when rhetoric was expunged from all curricula. However, it must be noted that, at the same time, Aristotelian rhetoric, owing to a revival of Thomistic philosophy initiated by Rome, regained ground in what was left of Catholic education in France, in particular at the prestigious Faculty of Theology of Paris, now a private entity. Yet, for all intents and purposes, rhetoric vanished from the French scene, educational or intellectual, for some 60 years.

In the early 1960s a change began to take place, as the word rhetoric and the body of knowledge it covers began to be used again, in a modest and almost secret manner. The new linguistic turn, through the rise of semiotics as well as of structural linguistics, brought to the fore a new interest in figures of speech as signs, the metaphor in particular (in the works of Roman Jakobson, Michel Charles, Gérard Genette) while famed Structuralist Roland Barthes, a classicist by training, perceived how some basic elements of rhetoric could be of use in the study of narratives, fashion and ideology. Knowledge of rhetoric was so dim in the early 1970s that his short memoir on rhetoric was seen as highly innovative. Basic as it was, it did help rhetoric regain some currency in avant-garde circles. Psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, his contemporary, makes references to rhetoric, in particular to the Pre-Socratics. Philosopher Jacques Derrida wrote on Voice.

At the same time, more profound work was taking place that eventually gave rise to the French school of rhetoric as it exists today.

This rhetorical revival took place on two fronts. First, in 17th century French studies, the mainstay of French literary education, awareness grew that rhetoric was necessary to push the limits of knowledge further, and also to provide an antidote to Structuralism and its denial of historicism in culture. This was the pioneering work of Marc Fumaroli who, building on the work of classicist and Neo-Latinist Alain Michel and French scholars such as Roger Zuber, published his famed Age de l’Eloquence (1980), was one of the founders of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric and was eventually elevated to a chair in rhetoric at the prestigious College de France. He is the editor in chief of a monumental History of Rhetoric in Modern Europe.His disciples form the second generation, with rhetoricians such as Françoise Waquet and Delphine Denis, both of the Sorbonne, or Philippe-Joseph Salazar (:fr:Philippe-Joseph Salazar on the French Wikipedia), until recently at Derrida's College international de philosophie.

Second, in the area of Classical studies, in the wake of Alain Michel, Latin scholars fostered a renewal in Cicero studies. They broke away from a pure literary reading of his orations, in an attempt to embed Cicero in European ethics. Meanwhile, among Greek scholars, the literary historian and philologist Jacques Bompaire, the philologist and philosopher E. Dupréel, and later the literature historian Jacqueline de Romilly pioneered new studies in the Sophists and the Second Sophistic. The second generation of Classicists, often trained in philosophy as well (following Heidegger and Derrida, mainly), built on their work, with authors such as Marcel Detienne (now at Johns Hopkins), Nicole Loraux, Medievalist and logician Alain De Libera (Geneva), Ciceronian scholar Carlos Lévy (Sorbonne, Paris) and Barbara Cassin (Collége international de philosophie, Paris). Sociologist of science Bruno Latour and economist Romain Laufer may also be considered part of, or close to this group.

Links between the two strands – literary and philosophical – of the French school of rhetoric are strong and collaborative, and bear witness to the revival of rhetoric in France.

See also

Miscellaneous terms

Political speech resources


Primary texts

The locus classicus for Greek and Latin primary texts on rhetoric is the Loeb Classical Library of the Harvard University Press, published with an English translation on the facing page. For other translations, see the references in each author's Wikipedia entry.

Available online texts include:


  1. The definition of rhetoric is a controversial subject within the field and has given rise to philological battles over its meaning in Ancient Greece. See, for instance, Johnstone, Henry W. Jr. (1995). "On Schiappa versus Poulakos." Rhetoric Review. 14:2. (Spring), 438-440.
  2. "...rhetoric is a combination of the science of logic and of the ethical branch of politics..." Aristotle. Rhetoric. (trans. W. Rhys Roberts). I:4:1359.
  3. Rhetorikos, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  4. Rhetor, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  5. Rhema, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  6. Ero, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, at Perseus
  7. Young, R. E., Becker, A. L., & Pike, K. L. (1970). Rhetoric: discovery and change. New York,: Harcourt Brace & World. p. 1
  8. For more information see Dr. Greg Dickinson of Colorado State University.
  9. Garsten, B. (2005). Saving Persuasion: A Defense of Rhetoric and Judgment. Harvard UP. pp. 1-2.; Katula, R.A. (1995). Greek Democracy and the Study of Rhetoric. In Murphy, J.J. and Katula, R.A. (eds.) A Synoptic History of Classical Rhetoric. Hermagoras Press. 3-16. pp. 3-4.
  10. cf. Conley, T.M. (1990) Rhetoric in the European Tradition. University of Chicago Press.; Kennedy, G.A. (1994). A New History of Classical Rhetoric. Princeton University Press.
  11. cf. Kennedy, G.A. (1994). A New History of Classical Rhetoric. Princeton University Press., pp. 30-43.; Ong, W.J. (2004). Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason. University of Chicago Press.
  12. cf. Gross, A.G. (1994). The Rhetoric of Science. Harvard University Press.; McCloskey, D. (1998). The Rhetoric of Economics. University of Wisconsin Press.; Latour, B. & Woolgar, S. (1986). Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts. Princeton University Press.; Fahnestock, J. (1999). Rhetorical Figures in Science. Oxford University Press.
  13. John S. Nelson, Allan Megill, and Donald N. McCloskey The Rhetoric of Human Sciences: Language and Argument in Scholarship and Public Affairs, London: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987. ; "In the last ten years, many scholars have investigated exactly how rhetoric works within a particular field." Theodora Polito, Educational Theory as Theory of Culture: A Vichian perspective on the educational theories of John Dewey and Kieran Egan Educational Philosophy and Theory, Vol. 37, No. 4, 2005; Deirdre N. McCloskey (1985) The Rhetoric of Economics; http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-0515(198306)21:2%3C481:TROE%3E2.0.CO;2-R (Madison, University of Wisconsin Press).; Nelson, J. S. (1998) Tropes of Politics (Madison, University of Wisconsin Press).; Brown, R. H. (1987) Society as Text (Chicago, University of Chicago Press).
  14. cf. Mogens Herman Hansen The Athenian Democracy in the Age of Demosthenes (Blackwell, 1991); Josiah Ober Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (Princeton UP, 1989); Jeffrey Walker, Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity (Oxford UP, 2000).
  15. cf. Kennedy, G.A. (1994). A New History of Classical Rhetoric. Princeton University Press. p. 3.
  16. Isocrates. "Against the Sophists." In Isocrates with an English Translation in three volumes, by George Norlin, Ph.D., LL.D. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1980.; Isocrates. "Antidosis." In Isocrates with an English Translation in three volumes, by George Norlin, Ph.D., LL.D. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press; London, William Heinemann Ltd. 1980.
  17. http://napoletano.net/front/node/350#d2
  18. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present, Boston: Bedford / St. Martins, 2nd ed., 2001, p. 486.
  19. McLuhan's dissertation is scheduled to be published in a critical edition by Gingko Press in April 2006 with the title The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of His Time.
  20. Frederic Ives Carpenter, "Leonard Cox and the First English Rhetoric," Modern Language Notes, Vol. 13, No. 5 (May 1898), pp. 146-47 (available at JSTOR - subscription required).
  21. See Marc Fumaroli, Age de l'Éloquence, 1980, for an extensive presentation of the intricate political and religious debates concerning rhetoric in France and Italy at the time
  22. Enos, R.J. (2000). Always... An Epitaphios to Henry W. Johnstone, Jr. (1920-2000). Rhetoric Review, Vol. 19, nos. 1/2, Fall.
  23. Bitzer. L. (1968). The rhetorical situation. Philosophy and Rhetoric. 1:1. 1-14.
  24. Black, Edwin. (1965)Rhetorical Criticism a Study in Method. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press.
  25. Black, Edwin. "Secrecy and Disclosure as Rhetorical Forms." Quarterly Journal of Speech. 74:2 (May 1988): 133.
  26. Black, Edwin. "The Second Persona." Quarterly Journal of Speech. 56:2 (1970)109.
  27. Black, Edwin. "A Note on Theory and Practice in Rhetorical Criticism." Western Journal of Speech Communication: WJSC 44.4 (Fall1980 1980): 331-336.
  28. When McLuhan was working on his 1943 Cambridge University doctoral dissertation on the verbal arts and Nashe, mentioned above, he was also preparing the materials that were eventually published as the book The Mechanical Bride: The Folklore of Industrial Man (Vanguard Press, 1951). This book is a compilation of exhibits of ads and other materials from popular culture with short essays about them by McLuhan. The essays involve rhetorical analyses of the ways in which the material in an item aims to persuade and comment on the persuasive strategies in each item. After studying the persuasive strategies involved in such an array of items in popular culture, McLuhan shifted the focus of his rhetorical analysis and began to consider how communication media themselves have an impact on us as persuasive devices. In other words, the communication media as such embody and carry a persuasive dimension. McLuhan uses hyperbole to express this insight when he says "The medium is the message". This shift in focus from his 1951 book led to his two most widely known books, The Gutenberg Galaxy: The Making of Typographic Man (University of Toronto Press, 1962) and Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (McGraw-Hill, 1964). These two books led McLuhan to become one of the most publicized thinkers in the 20th century. No other scholar of the history and theory of rhetoric was as widely publicized in the 20th century as McLuhan. McLuhan read Lonergan's Insight, mentioned above, in 1957 (see Letters of Marshall McLuhan, 1987: 251). Lonergan's book is an elaborate guidebook to cultivate one's inwardness and on attending to and reflecting on one's inward consciousness. McLuhan's 1962 and 1964 books represent an inward turn to attending to one's consciousness that is far more pronounced than anything found in his 1951 book or in his 1943 dissertation. By contrast, many other thinkers in the study of rhetoric are more outward oriented toward sociological considerations and symbolic interaction.
  29. Richards, I. A. (1965)The Philosophy of RhetoricNew York: Oxford.
  30. Bitzer, Lloyd F. (1968). The Rhetorical Situation. Philosophy & Rhetoric, Winter. (1.1), 1-14. Bitzer was instrumental in moving the traditional focus of rhetorical criticism from the mind of the speaker to the conditions of the situation: "Not the rhetor and not persuasive intent, but the situation is the source and ground of rhetorical activity—and, I should add, of rhetorical criticism."
  31. Vatz, Richard E. (1973). The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation. Philosophy & Rhetoric, Summer. (6.3), 154-161. Vatz builds on his argument in a later piece(2009)that the situational view is anti-rhetorical, making rhetoric a secondary study. See Vatz, Richard E. (2009). The Mythical Status of Situational Rhetoric: Implications for Rhetorical Critics' Relevance in the Public Arena, Review of Communication, January. (9.1), 1-5.
  32. Bitzer, Lloyd F. (1968). The Rhetorical Situation. Philosophy & Rhetoric, Winter. (1.1), 1-14. "Prior to the creation and presentation of discourse, there are three constituents of any rhetorical situation: the first is the exigence; the second and third are elements of the complex, namely the audience to be constrained in decision and action, and the constraints which influence the rhetor and can be brought to bear upon the audience."
  33. See Thomas M. Conley, Rhetoric in the European Tradition, University of Chicago Press, 1990 for insights on French pre-1789 rhetoricians;for a fuller historical review with excerpts, Philippe-Joseph Salazar, L'art de parler, Paris, Klincksieck, 2003.
  34. See also article on :fr:Rhétorique in the French Wikipedia
  35. See Philippe-Joseph Salazar's overview, "Rhetoric Achieves Nature. A View from Old Europe", Philosophy & Rhetoric 40(1), 2007, 71-88
  36. Histoire de la rhétorique dans l'Europe moderne 1450-1950, Marc Fumaroli ed., Paris, Presses Universitaires de France, 1999. ISBN 2130495265
  37. Refer to « De l’éloquence à la rhétoricité, trente années fastes », Dix-Septième Siècle 236, LIX (3), 2007, 421-426 ISBN 978-2-13-056096-8
  38. Barbara Cassin,L'effet sophistique, Paris, Gallimard, 1995
  39. Alongside the French school, the work of Belgians Chaim Perelman and his disciple Michel Meyer is noteworthy, although Perelman’s foundational work remained by and large unknown in France until the 1990s.

Rhetoric in the visual arts

  • Ralf van Bühren: Die Werke der Barmherzigkeit in der Kunst des 12.–18. Jahrhunderts. Zum Wandel eines Bildmotivs vor dem Hintergrund neuzeitlicher Rhetorikrezeption (Studien zur Kunstgeschichte, vol. 115), Hildesheim / Zürich / New York: Verlag Georg Olms 1998. ISBN 3-487-10319-2

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