rhetoric


rhetoric
/ret"euhr ik/, n.
1. (in writing or speech) the undue use of exaggeration or display; bombast.
2. the art or science of all specialized literary uses of language in prose or verse, including the figures of speech.
3. the study of the effective use of language.
4. the ability to use language effectively.
5. the art of prose in general as opposed to verse.
6. the art of making persuasive speeches; oratory.
7. (in classical oratory) the art of influencing the thought and conduct of an audience.
8. (in older use) a work on rhetoric.
[1300-50; < L rhetorica < Gk rhetorikè (téchne) rhetorical (art); r. ME rethorik < ML rethorica, L rhetorica, as above]

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Art of speaking or writing effectively.

It may entail the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times, and it can also involve the study of writing or speaking as a means of communication or persuasion. Classical rhetoric probably developed along with democracy in Syracuse (Sicily) in the 5th century BC, when dispossessed landowners argued claims before their fellow citizens. Shrewd speakers sought help from teachers of oratory, called rhetors. This use of language was of interest to philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle because the oratorical arguments called into question the relationships among language, truth, and morality. The Romans recognized separate aspects of the process of composing speeches, a compartmentalization that grew more pronounced with time. Renaissance scholars and poets studied rhetoric closely, and it was a central concern of humanism. In all times and places where rhetoric has been significant, listening and reading and speaking and writing have been the critical skills necessary for effective communication.

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Introduction

      the principles of training communicators (communication)—those seeking to persuade or inform; in the 20th century it has undergone a shift of emphasis from the speaker or writer to the auditor or reader. This article deals with rhetoric in both its traditional and its modern forms. For information on applications of rhetoric, see the articles broadcasting, communication, and propaganda.

Rhetoric in literature

The nature and scope of rhetoric
Traditional and modern rhetoric
      The traditional rhetoric is limited to the insights and terms developed by rhetors, or rhetoricians, in the Classical period of ancient Greece, about the 5th century BC, to teach the art of public speaking (oratory) to their fellow citizens in the Greek republics and, later, to the children of the wealthy under the Roman Empire. Public performance was regarded as the highest reach of education proper, and rhetoric was at the centre of the educational process in western Europe for some 2,000 years. Institutio oratoria (before AD 96; “The Training of an Orator”), by the Roman rhetorician Quintilian, perhaps the most influential textbook on education ever written, was in fact a book about rhetoric. Inevitably, there were minor shifts of emphasis in so long a tradition, and for a long time even letter writing fell within the purview of rhetoric; but it has consistently maintained its emphasis upon creation, upon instructing those wishing to initiate communication with other people.

      Modern rhetoric has shifted its focus to the auditor or reader. literary criticism always borrowed from rhetoric—stylistic terms such as antithesis and metaphor were invented by Classical rhetoricians. When language became a subject of sustained scholarly concern, it was inevitable that scholars would turn back to Classical theories of rhetoric for help. But modern rhetoric is far more than a collection of terms. The perspective from which it views a text is different from that of other disciplines. History, philosophy, literary criticism, and the social sciences are apt to view a text as though it were a kind of map of the author's mind on a particular subject. Rhetoricians, accustomed by their traditional discipline to look at communication from the communicator's point of view, regard the text as the embodiment of an intention, not as a map. They know that that intention in its formulation is affected by its audience. They know also that the structure of a piece of discourse is a result of its intention. A concern for audience, for intention, and for structure is, then, the mark of modern rhetoric. It is as involved with the process of interpretation, or analysis, as it is with the process of creation, or genesis.

      Rhetorical analysis is actually an analogue of traditional rhetorical genesis: both view a message through the situation of the auditor or reader as well as the situation of the speaker or writer. Both view the message as compounded of elements of time and place, motivation and response. An emphasis on the context automatically makes a rhetorician of the literary critic or interpreter and distinguishes that approach from the other kinds of verbal analysis. Critics (New Criticism) who have insisted upon isolating, or abstracting, the literary text from the mind of its creator and from the milieu of its creation have found themselves unable to abstract it from the situation of its reader. Certain modern critics have joined with rhetoricians in denouncing the folly of all such attempts at abstraction. In interpreting any text—say a speech by Elizabeth I of England at Tilbury, Essex, or a play by the great Hindu poet of the 5th century, Kālidāsa—the rhetorician must imaginatively re-create the original situation of that text as well as endeavour to understand those factors that condition a present understanding.

      All discourse now falls within the rhetorician's purview. Modern rhetoricians identify rhetoric more with critical perspective than with artistic product. They justify expanding their concerns into other literary provinces on the basis of a change in thinking about the nature of human reason. Modern philosophers of the Existentialist (Existentialism) and Phenomenologist (Phenomenology) schools have strongly challenged the assumptions whereby such dualities as knowledge and opinion, persuasion and conviction, reason and emotion, rhetoric and poetry, and even rhetoric and philosophy have in the past been distinguished. The old line between the demonstrable and the probable has become blurred. According to these modern philosophers, a person's basic method of judgment is argumentation, whether in dialogue with others or with a text, and the results are necessarily relative and temporal. Such modern philosophers use legal battles in a courtroom as basic models of the process every person goes through in acquiring knowledge or opinion. For some, philosophy and rhetoric have become conflated, with rhetoric itself being a further conflation of the subject matter Aristotle discusses not only in his Rhetoric but also in his Topics, which he had designed for dialectics, for disputation among experts. According to this view, philosophers engage in a rhetorical transaction that seeks to persuade through a dialogic process first themselves and then, by means of their utterances, others. It is in this “argumentative” light that a rhetorically trained reader or auditor interprets all texts and justifies their inclusion within the province of rhetoric.

      Rhetoric has come to be understood less as a body of theory or as certain types of artificial techniques and more as an integral component of all human discourse. As a body of discursive theory, rhetoric has traditionally offered rules that are merely articulations of contemporary attitudes toward certain kinds of prose and has tended to be identified with orations in which the specific intent to persuade is most obvious. But modern rhetoric is limited neither to the offering of rules nor to studying topical and transient products of controversy. Rather, having linked its traditional focus upon creation with a focus upon interpretation, modern rhetoric offers a perspective for discovering the suffusion of text and content inhering within any discourse. And for its twin tasks, analysis and genesis, it offers a methodology as well: the uncovering of those strategies whereby the interest, values, or emotions of an audience are engaged by any speaker or writer through his discourse. The perspective has been denoted with the term situation; the methodology, after the manner of certain modern philosophers, may be denoted by the term argumentation. It should be noted at the outset that one may study not only the intent, audience, and structure of a discursive act but also the shaping effects of the medium itself on both the communicator and the communicant. Those rhetorical instruments that potentially work upon an audience in a certain way, it must be assumed, produce somewhat analogous effects within the writer or speaker as well, directing and shaping his discourse.

Elements of rhetoric
      For the tasks imposed by the rhetorical approach some of the most important tools inherited from antiquity are the figures of speech: for example, the metaphor, or comparison between two ostensibly dissimilar phenomena, as in the famous comparison by the 17th-century English poet John Donne of his soul and his mistress's to the legs on a geometer's compass in his “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning”; another is the allegory, the extended metaphor, as in John Bunyan's classic of English prose Pilgrim's Progress (1678, 1684), wherein man's method of earning Christian salvation is compared to a road on which he journeys, and the comparison is maintained to such an extent that it becomes the central structural principle of the entire work. Such figures may be said to pertain either to the texture of the discourse, the local colour or details, or to the structure, the shape of the total argument. Ancient rhetoricians made a functional distinction between trope (like metaphor, a textural effect) and scheme (like allegory, a structural principle). To the former category belong such figures as metaphor, simile (a comparison announced by “like” or “as”), personification (attributing human qualities to a nonhuman being or object), irony (a discrepancy between a speaker's literal statement and his attitude or intent), hyperbole (overstatement or exaggeration) or understatement, and metonymy (substituting one word for another which it suggests or to which it is in some way related—as part to whole, sometimes known as synecdoche). To the latter category belonged such figures as allegory, parallelism (constructing sentences or phrases that resemble one another syntactically), antithesis (combining opposites into one statement—“To be or not to be, that is the question”), congeries (an accumulation of statements or phrases that say essentially the same thing), apostrophe (a turning from one's immediate audience to address another, who may be present only in the imagination), enthymeme (a loosely syllogistic form of reasoning in which the speaker assumes that any missing premises will be supplied by the audience), interrogatio (the “rhetorical” question, which is posed for argumentative effect and requires no answer), and gradatio (a progressive advance from one statement to another until a climax is achieved). However, a certain slippage in the categories trope and scheme became inevitable, not simply because rhetoricians were inconsistent in their use of terms but because well-constructed discourse reflects a fusion of structure and texture. One is virtually indistinguishable from the other. Donne's compass comparison, for example, creates a texture that is not isolable from other effects in the poem; rather, it is consonant with a structural principle that makes the comparison both appropriate and coherent. Above all, a modern rhetorician would insist that the figures, like all elements of rhetoric, reflect and determine not only the conceptualizing processes of the speaker's mind but also an audience's potential response. For all these reasons figures of speech are crucial means of examining the transactional nature of discourse.

Rhetoric of or in a discourse
      In making a rhetorical approach to various discursive acts, one may speak of the rhetoric of a discourse—say, Robert Browning's (Browning, Robert) poem “My Last Duchess” (1842)—and mean by that the strategies whereby the poet communicated with his contemporaries, in this case the Victorians, or with modern man, his present readers; or one may speak of the rhetoric in a discourse and mean by that the strategies whereby the persona, the Duke of Ferrara who speaks Browning's poem in dramatic-monologue fashion, communicates with his audience in the poem, in this case an emissary from the father of Ferrara's next duchess. The two kinds of rhetoric are not necessarily discrete: in oratory or in lyric poetry, for example, the creator and his persona are assumed to be identical. To a degree Aristotle's distinction between the three voices of discourse still holds. A poet, according to Aristotle, speaks in his own voice in lyric poetry, in his own voice and through the voices of his characters in epic (or narrative), and only through the voices of his characters in drama. Thus, the speaker of oratory or of most nonfictional prose is similar to the lyric speaker, with less freedom than the latter either to universalize or to create imaginatively his own audience.

Rhetorical traditions
      Although knowledge (learning) of rhetorical traditions is essential to the modern student's work, it must be borne in mind that he is nonetheless divorced from those traditions in two important ways. First, there is an almost exclusive emphasis upon the speaker or writer in traditional rhetoric; and, second, there is an implicit belief that the truth can be detached from the forms of discourse and can be divided into the demonstrable and the probable. In both of these respects, modern rhetorical practice differs.

Ancient Greece (ancient Greek civilization) and Rome
      Since the time of Plato it has been conventional to posit a correlative if not causal relationship between rhetoric and democracy. Plato located the wellsprings of rhetoric in the founding of democracy at Syracuse in the 5th century BC. Exiles returning to Syracuse entered into litigation for the return of their lands from which they had been dispossessed by the overthrown despotic government. In the absence of written records, claims were settled in a newly founded democratic legal system. To help litigants improve their persuasiveness, certain teachers (philosophy) began to offer something like systematic instruction in rhetoric.

      In this experience at Syracuse, certain identifiable characteristics become prototypal: the rhetor, or speaker, is a pleader; his discourse is argumentative; and members of his audience are participants in and judges of a controversy. Later, in Athens, these characteristics began to aggregate to themselves some serious intellectual issues.

      In Athens early teachers of rhetoric were known as Sophists (Sophist). These men did not simply teach methods of argumentation; rather, they offered rhetoric as a central educational discipline and, like modern rhetoricians, insisted upon its usefulness in both analysis and genesis. With the growth of Athenian democracy and higher systematized education, the Sophists became very powerful and influential. Today the word sophistic refers to a shabby display of learning or to specious reasoning; it refers, consequently, to an image of the Sophists that resulted from the attacks upon them led by such reformers as Plato. The ideal rhetoric proposed by Socrates in Plato's dialogue the Phaedrus, however, is itself not unlike the ideal sought by the Sophists in general, Isocrates in particular. Though the Platonic-Socratic ideal is more specialized in its focus on creating discourse, nonetheless, like the Sophistic ideal, it sought a union of verbal skills with learning and wisdom. Specifically, Platonic-Socratic rhetoric became a means of putting into practice the wisdom one acquires in philosophy. In this way Plato and Socrates resolved one of the most serious intellectual issues surrounding the subject: the relationship between truth and rhetorical effectiveness. The resolution, of course, presupposes and maintains a bifurcation between the two.

      Aristotle, too, presupposed and maintained the same division between truth, which was knowable to varying degrees of certainty, and verbal skills, which for Aristotle were primarily useful in assisting truth to prevail in a controversy. But Aristotle lived in a world different from Plato's, one that was closer to the present in the premium it placed upon literacy and upon those patterns of thought that literacy encourages. The literate function of Aristotle's brilliance at recording and categorizing is well captured in Donne's phrase, “Nature's Secretary.” Aristotle's Rhetoric both recorded contemporary practice and sought its reform through fitting it into its proper category among the arts. One of the masterstrokes of Aristotle's thought on the subject is his teaching that rhetoric itself is not a productive art of making but is an art of doing, embodying a power which is employed in certain kinds of speaking. Further evidence of his brilliance on the subject is his division of speaking into the forensic, the deliberative, and the epideictic and of persuasive (persuasion) appeals into the ethical, the emotional, and the logical. His division of speaking into three kinds reflects his efforts to distinguish rhetoric and its counterpart, dialectics (dialectic), from philosophy and science. Rhetoric and dialectics, he felt, are concerned with probable matters, in which there are several roads to truth; philosophy and science, on the other hand, are concerned with demonstrable matters, in which the roads are fewer but the truth more certain. In dividing persuasive appeals into three kinds, Aristotle indicated an unmistakable preference for the logical. This preference has been interpreted variously as a result of Aristotle's naïve assumption about the rationality of most audiences and as an attempt to reform the emotionally charged rhetoric of his contemporaries. In discussing elements of style, Aristotle treated metaphor, perhaps the major figure of speech (speech, figure of), in a way that was to plague rhetoricians and poets for centuries. He describes it not as an instrument of thought but as an ornamentation, an adornment that at best serves the functions of clarity and vividness. The effect is further reflection of the principle noted earlier: for Aristotle the truth with which rhetoric is concerned is not demonstrable. It is, moreover, detachable from the forms of argument, and it can be tested by such analytical means as dialectics, which is the counterpart of rhetoric but which does not have what Aristotle viewed as rhetoric's cloying concerns with that beast of many heads, the heterogeneous audience composed of experts and laymen alike.

      The Sophistic doctrine that rhetoric should be the central discipline in the educational scheme had a long history, rising to its fullest statement in the writings (Latin literature) of Quintilian in Rome (ancient Rome) of the 1st century AD. By the age of Quintilian three intellectual issues had become firmly fixed within the orbit of rhetoric. Two of these were consciously faced: (1) the relationship between truth and verbal expression and (2) the difficulties of achieving intellectual or artistic integrity while communicating with a heterogeneous audience. In a sense, both of these issues were not faced at all but dodged, as they had been in the past, with the implicit assumption that wisdom and eloquence were not necessarily synonymous and that truth and integrity were ultimately dependent upon the character of the speaker. The orator, according to Cato the Elder (Cato, Marcus Porcius), must be a good man skilled in speaking. Through the writings of Cicero (Cicero, Marcus Tullius), the ancient Roman orator of the 1st century BC whom later ages were to adulate both for his statesmanship and for his prose style, Cato's doctrine was spread in the Western world for centuries. Quintilian's tediously prescriptive Institutio oratoria is built on Cato's thesis: it offers an educational program for producing generations of Ciceronian statesmen. But for all its importance and influence, the work never found its time so far as being used as a text for political leaders to follow. Quintilian's program was impossible to achieve in the age of tyranny in which he lived, and it was impracticable in the Renaissance. Nevertheless, it was in the Renaissance that the Institutio oratoria began to be revered as the greatest educational treatise ever written.

      A third issue arose in part as a consequence of literacy and in part as a consequence of social change: rhetoric became a productive art, but one whose role and status were unclear. The audience was no longer quite the full partner in the creative event that it had been in older days of freer public discussion; subsequently, from the classical period through the Middle Ages rhetoricians began to conceive of their art as a kind of methodical, solitary progress toward literary creation. Rhetoric was thought of less in terms of a power and more in terms of certain products of that power—orations; elaborate rules were given for distinguishing the kinds of orations and for arranging the material in them. Accompanying this shift, the entire creative process taught by the rhetoricians became linear and sequential in concept, with some activities located at further and further removes from the serious operations of the mind. A certain linearity, or step-by-step procedure, is evident in Aristotle's Rhetoric, but the attendant dangers of compartmentalization and fragmentation into increasingly trivial matters did not make themselves felt for centuries. By the time of Cicero, rhetoric was considered to be a discipline that encompassed five “offices”: invention, analyzing the speech topic and collecting the materials for it; disposition, arranging the material into an oration; elocution, fitting words to the topic, the speaker, the audience, and the occasion; pronunciation or action, delivering the speech orally; and memory, lodging ideas within the mind's storehouse. Not only orations but also poems, plays, and almost every kind of linguistic product except those belonging peculiarly to logic (or dialectics) fell within the rhetoricians' creative art. Thus, the function of rhetoric appeared to be the systematic production of certain kinds of discourse, but the significance of this now clearly productive art became increasingly dubious in ages when governments did not allow public deliberation on social or political issues or when the most significant speaking was done by church authorities whose training had been capped by logic and theology.

The Middle Ages
      The early Church Father St. Augustine (Augustine, Saint) made one of the earliest efforts to write a rhetoric for the Christian orator. Book IV of On Christian Doctrine is usually considered the first rhetorical theory specifically designed for the minister. Of course, the kind of truth to which Augustine sought to give verbal effectiveness was the “revealed” truth as contained in the Scriptures. The first three books of On Christian Doctrine, which describe procedures for a proper interpretation of the Bible, actually set forth the invention part of Augustine's rhetoric. There is no basis here for replacing either logic or theology with rhetoric as the capstone of professional training. The work does represent, however, one of the first theoretical efforts to bring together interpretation—that is, interpreting a text, as opposed to interpreting the facts of a case—and rhetoric.

      Late in the 13th century, two students of the German philosopher Albertus Magnus produced a great impact upon the thought—particularly the educational thought—of succeeding generations. Thomas Aquinas (Aquinas, Thomas, Saint), who became in effect the preceptor of the theological curriculum, and Peter of Spain (later Pope John XXI), the preceptor of the general or “arts” curriculum, gave articulate force to the current educational practice of making logic the specialty toward which the professional student advanced beyond rhetoric. Thomas wrote on the logic of abstract, symbolic thought, and Peter wrote on the logic of dialectics, disputation among experts.

The Renaissance and after
      In the 16th century, at a time marked by a tremendous growth of interest in creating vernacular rhetorics to satisfy a new self-consciousness in the use of native tongues, the French philosopher Petrus Ramus (Ramus, Petrus) and his followers merely completed the incipient fragmentation of rhetorical theory by affirming the offices as discrete specialties. Invention and disposition were assigned to dialectics, by now largely a silent art of disputation which in the Ramist system placed a premium upon self-evident, axiomatic statements. Memory was considered not a matter of creating sound effects to enhance the memorization of the orator's ideas but a matter of effective disposition, so that separate attention to memory disappeared. Elocution and pronunciation were considered the only two offices proper to rhetoric, and these fell under peculiar opprobrium.

      Elocution, or style, became the centre of rhetorical theory, and in Ramist hands it was almost solely concerned with figures of speech. Actually, a strong emphasis upon the figures of speech had been evolving since the late Middle Ages. When responsibly taught, as linguistic postures, stances, gestures of the mind in confrontation with external reality, the figures served a useful purpose; and in Renaissance education they were widely employed, as in the modern manner, in the interpretation or analysis of discourse. Less responsibly taught, the figures became merely an ornamentation, like the metaphor in Aristotle. In the Ramistic system, the figures ranged between serving as arguments and serving as extrinsic decorations. The figures of speech fell into greater disrepute in the new culture of the Renaissance, which was marked not only by an enthusiasm for printed vernacular discourse in a “plain” style but also by an increasing perplexity over doctrines of the passions. For centuries rhetoricians had taught figures of speech as means of “amplifying” ideas so that they would appeal to the passions in an audience. With Ramus, rhetoric discarded its principles of amplification, leaving the passions to be discussed primarily by “moral philosophers,” who battled heatedly over which were ordinate and which were inordinate passions. Ultimately, the passions themselves became subjects, or objects, of the new scientists, who divorced them from moral or religious dogma. It was the end of the 18th century before doctrines of the passions fell once more within the rhetorician's purview; however, at that time the figures were regarded less as appeals to an audience's passions and more as manifestations of the author's or speaker's psychology—or, to use the metaphor employed earlier, as places on the map of his mind.

      The other part of the fragmented Ramist rhetoric, pronunciation or action, was rarely mentioned in the Renaissance; it hath not yet been perfected, was the excuse the Ramists gave. The first real impetus for a scientizing of English oral delivery came at the beginning of the 17th century from Francis Bacon (Bacon, Francis, Viscount Saint Alban (or Albans), Baron of Verulam), who, in touching on rhetoric in his writings, called for a scientific approach to the study of gesture. The Ramists had created a context within which Bacon's call would have peculiar force and meaning. John Bulwer's Chirologia (1644) was the first work to respond, and in its wake came a host of studies of the physical, nonverbal expression of ideas and passions, including works by Charles Darwin and Alexander Melville Bell in the 19th century and modern writings on “silent language” by the American linguist Edward T. Hall.

      But, so far as rhetorical theory is concerned, even more significant attempts to specialize in the study of pronunciation or action came in the elocutionary movement of the 18th century, which was the first large-scale, systematic effort to teach reading aloud (oral interpretation). The elocutionists named their study for the third office of rhetoric partly because “pronunciation” was coming to refer solely to correct English phonation and partly because “elocution” had traditionally referred to the decorous expression of previously composed material. The most important elocutionists were actors (acting) or lexicographers, such as Thomas Sheridan (Sheridan, Thomas) and John Walker, both of whom acted in London and went on to write dictionaries in the late 18th century. At first glance, their efforts to describe or prescribe the oral delivery of written or printed discourse (poems, plays, as well as speeches) appear to operate on extremely inadequate theory: exactly how one discovered the meaning on the page seems mysterious, almost divinatory. Some of their efforts produced such absurdities as statelike posing or a contempt for the verbal later associated in America with the 19th-century French teacher of dramatic and musical expression François Delsarte. Yet, their efforts may also be seen as attempts to restore the voice to that entire language process which the page abstracted—as attempts to bridge the gap left in concepts of “natural” meaning by the decay of the oral traditions. Moreover, it is most significant that of all theorists within the history of rhetoric, the elocutionists were the first to place an exclusive concern upon interpreting discourse. Indeed, it was through the elocutionary emphasis upon interpretation that something like a meaningful restoration of pronunciation occurred within the rhetorical tradition.

      Sheridan had found within the teachings of the 17th-century English philosopher John Locke (Locke, John) a foundation on which the study of elocution could be built: words are the signs of ideas, tones the signs of passions. A new, virtually irrevocable split had apparently occurred between spoken language and printed or written discourse. But the split did not produce in other rhetoricians quite the anxiety it produced in the elocutionists. Other rhetoricians began to discover faculty psychology (i.e., the obsolete notion that supposed faculties of the mind such as will and reason account for all human behaviour) and associationism (association) (i.e., the philosophy expostulated by the 18th-century Scot David Hume (Hume, David) and others that most mental activity is based on the association of ideas). In these concepts they found a fragmented, compartmentalized means whereby a fragmented, compartmentalized rhetorical theory could recover part of its earlier vast province, as, for example, doctrines of the passions. Pathetic appeals could simply become, as in Hugh Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1783), something like the sixth office of rhetoric. Besides Blair's, the most important rhetorical treatises of the period were George Campbell's Philosophy of Rhetoric (1776) and Richard Whately's (Whately, Richard) Elements of Rhetoric (1828). All three books were written by Protestant clerics, and all reveal the pervasive assumptions of the Age of Reason (Enlightenment). Though rhetoric may involve the whole man—indeed, that is the very reason Campbell believed rhetoric properly seen is naturally allied with a science of the mind—nonetheless, man was viewed as an animal with higher and lower faculties, whose intellect was susceptible to being disordered by his passions and whose noble achievement was the creation of rational, preferably written, discourse.

      Theories of rhetorical invention of the 18th and 19th centuries seldom treated the exigencies of oral composition before live audiences or even involved an imaginative projection of oneself into a public situation. Rather, they posited an inventive process that was silent, solitary, meditative—a process of conducting solitary, or inward, dialogues. Imagination, that faculty by which man may potentially synthesize what faculty psychology termed his rational and sensory experiences, was not vindicated philosophically until the Romantic movement (Romanticism) of the 19th century (and perhaps never effectively). By that time, rhetoric had fallen into discredit. Printed matter had proliferated to such an extent that traditional principles of invention had become antiquated. Eventually all traditional techniques of style and all organized rhetorical study were devalued by interest in experiments; in Switzerland, cultural historian Jacob Burckhardt described antiquity's interest in rhetoric as a “monstrous aberration.” In America, the Delsarteans, who stressed gesture rather than words, spread an antirhetorical approach to imagination, the passions, sensory experience, and delivery. Thus, well into the 20th century, “elocution” in popular speech meant florid delivery and “rhetoric,” because of its principal concern with oratory, meant purple prose. In academic circles, “rhetoric” referred largely to principles of “belles lettres” until “belletristic” became a pejorative; then “rhetoric” in a host of college “composition” courses referred to less philosophically troublesome principles of paragraph development and thematic arrangement. More than the medieval logicians, more than Ramus, more than all Rationalist philosophers, and more than even the new philosophies of science, it was probably the very momentum of the revolution begun by Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the printing press that caused traditional rhetoric, both as an educational principle and as a theory, to go under.

Toward a new rhetoric
      These extremely negative views toward rhetoric prevailed until the 1930s, when attention to the importance of studying how language is used was stimulated by Logical Positivism, the philosophical movement that insists that all statements be verifiable by observation or experiment, and that movement had ironically been stimulated in turn by the very scientism that had earlier disparaged rhetoric. Substantial attempts were made, particularly in the United States, to develop an art of discourse suitable for teaching in schools and universities.

      In the opening decades of the 20th century, an attempt was made in American universities to restore rhetoric to the serious study of communication (that is, of creating discourse). Teachers of public speaking were the first to turn to rhetorical traditions for help, followed by teachers of writing. (The teaching of speaking had been divorced from the teaching of writing in America since the third quarter of the 19th century—a divorce that has been recognized by modern universities but challenged by the temper of modern life.) Appropriately, considering the impetus of Logical Positivism, the restored rhetoric was largely Aristotelian, an Aristotelianism that was filtered through centuries of faculty psychology, that was becoming part of a doctrinaire stance against the Romantics and the elocutionists, and that was interpreted in terms of lingering presuppositions of a typographical age. Nonetheless, the rhetoric offered through the tenets of a restored Aristotelianism was potentially more comprehensive—more inclusive of all the offices of rhetoric—than any in Western education since the Renaissance. The political facts of modern life, however, made the Rationalist proclivity of this rhetoric appear naïve. The new media—films, radio, and television—and the new orality of modern life was felt by those interested in rhetoric as a challenge to older linguistic notions, not simply those of the print-oriented teachers of written or spoken composition but those of the Aristotelian Positivists as well.

      Moreover, the restoration of traditional rhetoric was at first—within speech departments and then later within English departments—an attempt to serve as an emphasis upon training students in how to communicate. When modern rhetoricians shifted their emphasis to interpretation and shifted their concerns from the speaker or writer to the auditor or reader, traditional rhetoric was seen in a new perspective and the subject itself was given its strongest modern impetus and relevance. As noted earlier, the latter effect was the combined result of the work of modern philosophers and literary critics as well as educators (education).

      The 20th century witnessed the publication of some highly provocative works on rhetoric, which potentially carry the subject beyond its Aristotelian confines and give it new relevance to an age dissatisfied with older epistemologies (or theories of knowledge) and their curious, divisive assumptions about truth and verbal expression or about oral and written discourse. Particular attention must be called to the work of the American critic and philosopher Kenneth Burke (Burke, Kenneth). A controversial writer, partly because of his extension of rhetoric into the study of nonverbal transactions and sensations, he has perhaps done more than anyone else to create a theoretical basis for the use of rhetoric in interpretation.

      As noted at the opening of this article, modern literary critics have helped to free rhetoric from its traditional emphasis by proving its instrumentality in literary analysis—“practical criticism,” as the English critic I.A. Richards (Richards, I.A.) called his 1929 book on the subject. But in turn the practical critic has helped preserve traditional rhetoric for the analyses of traditional literature, and through his work on modern literature, he has stimulated the demand for a new rhetoric.

The rhetoric of non-Western cultures
      Freed, too, of the parochialism engendered by its Western traditions, rhetoric could undertake a variety of analytical endeavour, even “cross-cultural” studies—for example, the mingling of Malaysian and Western cultures in the political oratory of the Philippines, structure and intention in the oral literatures of Africa, or the communicative strategy of the Japanese verse form haiku.

      Indeed, the search for the rhetoric of non-Western cultures has become a crucial scholarly and political endeavour, as people seek bases for understanding the politics as well as the poetry of other lands—and, hopefully, bases for dialogue across tribal and national boundaries. The avenues this search has taken thus far reveal a significant fact both about rhetoric and about the nature of its Western tradition: the true rhetoric of any age and of any people is to be found deep within what might be called attitudinizing conventions, precepts that condition one's stance toward experience, knowledge, tradition, language, and other people. Searching for those precepts, the scholar realizes the extent to which Western culture has become secularized and compartmentalized. In Western culture one may seek out a body of writing under such special rubrics as “rhetoric,” “religion,” “ethics.” But in some Oriental or Middle Eastern cultures, the search may begin and end with religious thought and practices. The Talmudic rabbis, with their disputatious hermeneutics and their attitudes toward Oral Law, gave centuries of Jews (Judaism) a pattern of reasoning and communication. No less so did the Tao-te Ching (Daodejing)—the basic text of the Chinese religious system of Taoism—shape a mentality that is as inherent in certain Chinese poetry as in the oratory, dance, painting, architecture, and government of that ancient culture. And for all the Western studies one might encourage into the haiku, surely only one thoroughly grounded in the mysterious doctrines of Zen Buddhism can fully understand how that imagistic poetry itself “works.” Moreover, as rhetorical doctrine, the form and function of the “sayings” of a modern, secular Oriental revolutionary may not be so far distant from the form and function of the ancient analects of the sage Confucius. Though rhetoric is to be found in every use of language, only Westerners have attempted to divide its precepts discretely from the great body of ethical, moral, or religious precepts that condition the very nature of a culture.

      In sum, the basic rhetorical perspective is simply this: all utterance, except perhaps the mathematical formula, is aimed at influencing a particular audience at a particular time and place, even if the only audience is the speaker or writer himself; any utterance may be interpreted rhetorically by being studied in terms of its situation—within its original milieu or even within its relationship to any reader or hearer—as if it were an argument.

Thomas O. Sloane

Rhetoric in philosophy: the new rhetoric
      There is nothing of philosophical interest in a rhetoric that is understood as an art of expression, whether literary or verbal. Rhetoric, for the proponents of the new rhetoric, is a practical discipline that aims not at producing a work of art but at exerting through speech a persuasive action on an audience.

Nature of the new rhetoric
      The new rhetoric is defined as a theory of argumentation (argument) that has as its object the study of discursive techniques that aim to provoke or to increase the adherence of men's minds to the theses that are presented for their assent. It also examines the conditions that allow argumentation to begin and to be developed, as well as the effects produced by this development.

      This definition indicates in what way the new rhetoric continues classical rhetoric and in what way it differs from it. The new rhetoric continues the rhetoric of Aristotle insofar as it is aimed at all types of hearers. It embraces what the ancients termed dialectics (dialectic) (the technique of discussion and debate by means of questions and answers, dealing especially with matters of opinion), which Aristotle analyzed in his Topics; it includes the reasoning that Aristotle qualified as dialectical, which he distinguished from the analytical reasoning of formal logic. This theory of argumentation is termed new rhetoric because Aristotle, although he recognized the relationship between rhetoric and dialectic, developed only the former in terms of the hearers.

      It should be noted, moreover, that the new rhetoric is opposed to the tradition of modern, purely literary rhetoric, better called stylistic, which reduces rhetoric to a study of figures of style, because it is not concerned with the forms of discourse for their ornamental or aesthetic value but solely insofar as they are means of persuasion and, more especially, means of creating “presence” (i.e., bringing to the mind of the hearer things that are not immediately present) through the techniques of presentation.

      The elaboration of a rhetoric thus conceived has an undeniable philosophical interest because it constitutes a response to the challenge of Logical Empiricism. The Logical Empiricists proclaim the irrationality of all judgments of value—i.e., those judgments that relate to the ends of men's actions—because such judgments can be grounded neither in experience nor in calculation, neither in deduction nor in induction. But it is not clearly necessary, after discarding the recourse to intuition as an insufficient basis for a judgment of value, to declare all such judgments equally arbitrary. This amounts to considering as futile the hopes of philosophers to elaborate a wisdom that would guide men in their public as well as their private lives. The alternative offered by the new rhetoric would furnish a complementary tool to traditional logic, which is limited to the technique of demonstration, or necessary proof according to the rules of deduction and induction; it would add the technique of argumentation. This would allow men not only to verify and to prove their beliefs but also to justify their decisions and their choices. Thus, the new rhetoric, elaborating a logic for judgments of value, is indispensable for the analysis of practical reasoning.

Systematic presentation of the new rhetoric
Personal relations with the audience
      Argumentation, whether it be called rhetorical or dialectical, always aims at persuading or convincing the audience to whom it is addressed of the value of the theses for which it seeks assent. Because the purpose of all argumentation is to gain or reinforce the adherence of an audience, it must be prepared with this audience in mind. Unlike demonstration, it cannot be conceived in an impersonal manner. On the contrary, it is essential that it be adapted to the audience if it is to have any effectiveness. Consequently, the orator—the person who presents an argument either by speech or in writing to an audience of listeners or readers—must seek to build his argumentative discourse on theses already accepted by his audience. The principal fallacy in argumentation is the petitio principii (“begging of the question”), in which the speaker presupposes that the audience accepts a thesis that actually is contested by them, even implicitly (See also logic: The critique of forms of reasoning (applied logic)).

      Taken in a broad sense, the new rhetoric can treat the most varied questions and be addressed to the most diverse audiences. The audience may involve only the individual deliberating within himself or it may involve another person in a dialogue. The discourse may be addressed to various particular audiences or to the whole of mankind—to what may be called the universal audience—in which case the orator appeals directly to reason.

      Classical rhetoric was traditionally addressed to an audience made up of a crowd of generally incompetent hearers gathered in a public place; argumentation, however, can be addressed to highly qualified audiences, such as the members of an academy or some learned society. As a result, effectiveness is not the only means of testing the value of an argument, for this value also depends on the quality and competence of the minds whose adherence is sought. An argument may persuade an audience of less informed persons and remain without effect on a more critical audience. For Plato, the argumentation worthy of a philosopher should convince the gods themselves.

Basis of agreement and types of argumentation
      The orator, in order to succeed in his undertaking, must start from theses accepted by his audience and eventually reinforce this adherence by techniques of presentation that render the facts and values on which his argument rests present to the listener. Thus, the orator can have recourse to literary devices, using figures of rhetoric and other techniques of style and composition that are well known to writers.

      If the discourse is addressed to a nonspecialized audience, its appeal will be to common sense and common principles, common values, and common loci, or “places.” Agreement about common values is general, but their object is vague and ill-defined. Thus, the appeal to universal values, such as the good and the beautiful, truth and justice, reason and experience, liberty and humanity, will leave no one indifferent, but the consequences to be drawn from these notions will vary with the meaning attached to them by the different individuals. Therefore, an agreement about common values must be accompanied by an attempt to interpret and define them, so that the orator can direct the agreement to make it tally with his purposes. If the discourse is addressed to a specialized group—such as a group of philosophers or jurists or theologians—the basis of agreement will be more specific.

      To pass from the premises accepted by the audience to the conclusions he wishes to establish, the orator can use arguments of various types of association and dissociation. A detailed analysis of such arguments would require a whole treatise; the best known, however, are arguments by example, by analogy, by the consequences, a pari (arguing from similar propositions), a fortiori (arguing from an accepted conclusion to an even more evident one), a contrario (arguing from an accepted conclusion to the rejection of its contrary), and the argument of authority. The traditional figures of rhetoric are usually only abridged arguments, as, for instance, a metaphor is an abbreviated analogy.

      Associative arguments transfer the adherence from the premises to the conclusion; for example, the act–person association enables one to pass from the fact that an act is courageous to the consequence that the agent is a courageous person. Argumentation leads to the dissociation of concepts if appearance is opposed to reality. Normally, reality is perceived through appearances that are taken as signs referring to it. When, however, appearances are incompatible—an oar in water looks broken but feels straight to the touch—it must be admitted, if one is to have a coherent picture of reality, that some appearances are illusory and may lead to error regarding the real. Because the status of appearance is equivocal, one is forced to distinguish between those appearances that correspond with reality and those that are only illusory. The distinction will depend on a conception of reality that can serve as a criterion for judging appearances. Whatever is conformable to this conception of the real will be given value; whatever is opposed to it will be denied value.

      Every concept can be subjected to a similar dissociation of appearance and reality. Real justice, democracy, and happiness can be opposed to apparent justice, democracy, and happiness. The former, being in conformity with the criteria of what justice, democracy, and happiness really are, will keep the value normally attached to these notions. The apparent—what is taken for real by common sense or unenlightened opinion—will be depreciated because it does not correspond to what actually deserves the name of justice, democracy, or happiness. By means of this technique of dissociating concepts, philosophers can direct men's actions toward what they hold to be true values and can reject those values that are only apparent. Every ontology, or theory about the nature of being, makes use of this philosophical process that gives value to certain aspects of reality and denies it to others according to dissociations that it justifies by developing a particular conception of reality.

Scope and organization of argumentation
      A discourse that seeks to persuade or convince is not made up of an accumulation of disorderly arguments, indefinite in number; on the contrary, it requires an organization of selected arguments presented in the order that will give them the greatest force. After its analysis of the various types of arguments, the new rhetoric naturally deals with the study of the problems raised by the scope of the argumentation, the choice of the arguments, and their order in the discourse.

      Although formal demonstrative proof is most admired when it is simple and brief, it would seem theoretically that there would be no limit to the number of arguments that could be usefully accumulated; in fact, because argumentation is concerned not with the transfer from the truth of premises to a conclusion but with the reinforcement of the adherence to a thesis, it would appear to be effective to add more and more arguments and to enlarge the audience. Because the argumentation that has persuaded some may fail to have any effect on others, it would appear to be necessary to continue the search for arguments better adapted to the enlarged audience or to the fraction of the audience that has been hitherto ignored.

      In practice, however, three different reasons point to the need to set bounds to the scope of an argumentation. First, there are limits to the capacity and the will of an audience to pay attention. It is not enough for an orator to speak or write; he must be listened to or read. Few people are prepared to listen to a 10-hour speech or read a book of 1,000 pages. Either the subject must be worth the trouble or the hearer must feel some obligation to the subject or orator. Normally, when a custom or an obligation exists, it binds not the hearer but the orator, setting limits to the space or time allotted to the presentation of a thesis. Second, it is considered impolite for an orator to draw out a speech beyond the normally allotted time. Third, by the mere fact that he occupies the platform, an orator prevents other people from expressing their point of view. Consequently, in almost all circumstances in which argumentation can be developed, there are limits that are not to be overstepped.

      It thus becomes necessary to make a choice between the available arguments, taking into account the following considerations: first, arguments do not have equal strength nor do they act in the same manner on an audience. They must be considered relevant for the thesis the speaker upholds and must provide valuable support for it. It is essential that they do not—instead of reinforcing adhesion—call the thesis into question again by raising doubts that would not have occurred to the audience had they not been mentioned. Thus, proofs of the existence of God have shaken believers who would never have thought of questioning their faith had such proofs not been submitted to them. Second, there is constant interaction between the orator and his discourse; thus, the speaker's prestige intensifies the effect of his discourse, but, inversely, if his arguments are weak, the audience's opinion of his intelligence, competence, or sincerity is influenced. Therefore, it is best to avoid using weak arguments; they may induce the belief that the speaker has no better arguments to support his thesis. Third, certain arguments, especially in the case of a mixed audience whose beliefs and aspirations are greatly varied, may be persuasive for only one part of an audience. Therefore, arguments should be chosen that will not be opposed to the beliefs and aspirations of some part of the audience. Thus, by stressing the revolutionary effect of a particular measure, for example, one stiffens the opposition to that measure on the part of those who wish to prevent the revolution, but one draws to the measure the favour of those who wait for the revolution to break out. For this reason arguments that have value for all men are superior to those that have more limited appeal; they are capable of convincing all the members of what could be called the universal audience, which is composed of all normally reasonable and competent men. An argumentation that aims at convincing a universal audience is considered philosophically superior to one that aims only at persuading a particular audience without bothering about the effect it might have on another audience in some other context or circumstances.

      Further, for a discourse to be persuasive, the arguments presented must be organized in a particular order. If they are not, they lose their effectiveness, because an argument is neither strong nor weak in an absolute sense and for every audience but only in relation to a particular audience that is prepared to accept it or not. In the first place, the orator must have a certain amount of prestige, and the problem in question must raise some interest. Should the orator be a small child, a man of ill-repute, or one supposed to be hostile to the audience or should the question be devoid of interest for the audience, there is little chance that the orator will be allowed to speak or that he will be listened to. Thus, an orator is normally introduced by someone who has the public ear, and the orator then uses the exordium, or beginning portion of his discourse, not to speak about his subject but to gain the audience's sympathy.

      Effective arguments can modify the opinions or the dispositions of an audience. An argument that is weak because it is ill-adapted to the audience can become strong and effective when the audience has been modified by a previous argument. Similarly, an argument that is ineffective because it is not understood can become relevant once the audience is better informed. Research into the effectiveness of discourse can determine the order in which arguments should be presented. The best order, however, will often be whatever is expected, whether it be a chronological order, a conventional order, or the order followed by an opponent whose argumentation has to be refuted point by point.

      In all these considerations—concerning the techniques of presentation and argumentation and the arrangement of a discourse—form is subordinated to content, to the action on the mind, to the effort to persuade and to convince. Consequently, the new rhetoric is not part of literature; it is concerned with the effective use of informal reasoning in all fields.

      It has been seen that common principles and notions and common loci play a part in all nonspecialized discourses. When the matter that is debated belongs to a specialized field, the discussion will normally be limited to the initiated—i.e., those who, because of their more or less extensive training, have become familiar with the theses and methods that are currently accepted and regarded as valid in the field in question. In such instances, the basis of the argumentation will not be limited to common loci but to specific loci. The introduction in some field of a new thesis or new methods is always accompanied by criticism of the theses or methods that are being replaced; thus, criticism must be convincing to the specialists if the new thesis or method is to be accepted. Similarly, the rejection of a precedent in law has to be justified by argumentation giving sufficient reasons for not applying the precedent to the case in question.

Significance of the new rhetoric
      The new rhetoric introduces a fundamental change in the philosophical outlook. Insofar as it aims at directing and guiding human action in all of the fields in which value judgments occur, philosophy is no longer conceived as the search for self-evident, necessary, universally and eternally valid principles but, rather, as the structuring of common principles, values, and loci, accepted by what the philosopher sees as the universal audience. The way the philosopher sees this universal audience, which is the incarnation of his idea of reason, depends on his situation in his cultural environment. The facts a philosopher recognizes, the values he accepts, and the problems he attends to are not self-evident; they cannot be determined a priori. The dialectical interaction between an orator and his audience is imposed also on the philosopher who wishes to influence his audience. Therefore, each philosophy reflects its own time and the social and cultural conditions in which it is developed. This is the fundamental truth in the thought of G.W.F. Hegel, a German Idealist: the history of philosophy is not regarded as an abstract and timeless dialectic that proceeds in a predetermined direction but as an argumentation that aims at universality at a concrete moment in history.

      To the extent that the new rhetoric views all informal discourse and all philosophical discourse from the viewpoint of its action on the minds of the hearers, it integrates into the analysis of thought valuable elements from both Pragmatism and Existentialism. In stressing the effects of discourse it allows Analytical philosophy to be given the dynamic dimension that some scholars believe it has heretofore lacked. The new rhetoric can thus contribute to the development of a theory of knowledge and to a better understanding of the history of philosophy.

Chaim Perelman

Additional Reading
From the following works, those prior to 1971 may be regarded as fundamental to the points made in the preceding article and remain foundational for later work. Books from 1971 on are suggested below for additional perspectives and reflect contemporary developments.

Voices before 1971
Books that provide the basis for the textual argument include Edwin Black, Rhetorical Criticism (1965, reissued 1978); Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction, 2nd ed. (1983, reissued 1991); Kenneth Burke, The Philosophy of Literary Form: Studies in Symbolic Action, 3rd ed. (1974), A Grammar of Motives (1945, reissued 1969), and A Rhetoric of Motives (1950, reissued 1969); Chaim Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyteca, The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation (1969; originally published in French, 2 vol., 1958); Chaim Perelman, The Realm of Rhetoric (1982; originally published in French, 1977); John Crowe Ransom, The New Criticism (1941; reprinted 1979); Stephen Toulmin, The Uses of Argument, updated ed. (2003); and Stephen Toulmin, Richard Rieke, and Allan Janik, An Introduction to Reasoning, 2nd ed. (1984), a practical explication of the Toulmin model that in the early 1980s began to be widely discussed as a scheme to wed insights from logical analysis with rhetoric. In addition to Ransom's book, I.A. Richards, The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936, reissued ed. by John Constable, 2001), helped illuminate the early stages of the modern relationship between rhetoric and literary criticism. The copious detail of three books by Wilbur Samuel Howell, Logic and Rhetoric in England, 1500–1700 (1956, reissued 1999), Eighteenth-Century British Logic and Rhetoric (1971, reissued 1999), and Poetics, Rhetoric, and Logic: Studies in the Basic Disciplines of Criticism (1975), render them still helpful. George Kennedy, The Art of Persuasion in Greece (1963, reissued 1974); and Walter J. Ong, Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason (1958, reissued 2004) continue to reward the reader.

The popularizing and renewing of rhetoric
The revival of interest in rhetoric's literary and cultural applications, combined with ongoing research in psychology, linguistics, sociology, and composition pedagogy resulted in an explosion of new work in rhetoric from the early 1970s, including the following important studies: James L. Kinneavy, A Theory of Discourse (1971, reissued 1980); W. Ross Winterowd, Contemporary Rhetoric: A Conceptual Background with Readings (1975); Francis Christensen and Bonniejean Christensen, Notes Toward a New Rhetoric: Nine Essays for Teachers, 2nd ed. (1978); Frank J. D'Angelo, A Conceptual Theory of Rhetoric (1975); Walter J. Ong, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (1982, reissued 2002); George A. Kennedy, Classical Rhetoric & Its Christian & Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times, 2nd ed., rev. and enlarged (1999); Edward P.J. Corbett and Robert J. Connors, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student, 4th ed. (1999); and Samuel IJsseling, Rhetoric and Philosophy in Conflict: An Historical Survey (1976; originally published in Dutch, 1975). A handy, widely-used survey is James J. Murphy et al., A Synoptic History of Classical Rhetoric, 3rd ed. (2003). From the traditions of speech and communication, Douglas Ehninger and Wayne Brockriede, Decision by Debate, 2nd ed. (1978), put rhetorical and argumentation principles in service to debate. In writings, mostly essays, from the late 1920s to mid-1980s, Richard McKeon, Rhetoric: Essays in Invention and Discovery, ed. by Mark Backman (1987), McKeon describes rhetoric as an “architectonic” art, capable of wide-ranging interdisciplinary allegiances and historic reconfigurations, presaging that in the 1980s and 1990s rhetoric became both an independent discipline and an umbrella term for dynamic creation and reassessment.

Late-20th-century rhetoric
A popular introduction to the history and modern directions has been Robert J. Connors, Lisa S. Ede, and Andrea A. Lunsford (eds.), Essays on Classical Rhetoric and Modern Discourse (1984). Susan C. Jarratt, Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured (1991), is a feminist/deconstructionist approach to re-reading ancient rhetoric. C. Jan Swearingen, Rhetoric and Irony: Western Literacy and Western Lies (1991), integrates rhetoric, language theory, and aesthetics up to Augustine. Two especially thorough historical surveys with original-language quotes are Richard Leo Enos, Greek Rhetoric Before Aristotle (1993); and Thomas M. Conley, Rhetoric in the European Tradition (1990). Bruce A. Kimball, Orators & Philosophers: A History of the Idea of Liberal Education, expanded ed. (1995), traces two opposing traditions throughout the history of a liberal arts education. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg (eds.), The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present, 2nd ed. (2001), provides a rich selection of canonical texts as well as newly introduced writings of women. Bizzell's and Herzberg's introductory essays to each time period are helpful.John Bender and David E. Wellbery (eds.), The Ends of Rhetoric: History, Theory, Practice (1990); and Brian Vickers, In Defence of Rhetoric (1988), are useful for their historical and interdisciplinary scope. James E. Porter, Audience and Rhetoric: An Archaeological Composition of the Discourse Community (1992), considers the role of the audience from classical rhetoric through modern reader-response criticism and post-structuralist literary theory. An interview and response format provides fruitful exchanges in a pair of books: Gary A. Olson and Irene Gale (eds.), (Inter)views: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Rhetoric and Literacy (1991); and its sequel, Gary A. Olson (ed.), Philosophy, Rhetoric, Literary Criticism: (Inter)views (1994). A helpful survey of the intersections of composition theory and literary theory is John Clifford and John Schilb (eds.), Writing Theory, and Critical Theory (1994). Victor Vitanza (ed.), Writing Histories of Rhetoric (1994), recommends changing the ways in which rhetoric's history has been conceived. Similarly, Takis Poulakos (ed.), Rethinking the History of Rhetoric: Multidisciplinary Essays on the Rhetorical Tradition (1993), assembled contributors whose goal is a refiguration of rhetoric history. Gerard A. Hauser, Introduction to Rhetorical Theory, 2nd ed. (2002); and Timothy W. Crusius, Discourse: A Critique and Synthesis of Major Theories (1989), are helpful introductions to major theoretical branches of recent rhetorical studies.Richard Harvey Brown, Society as Text (1987), discusses rhetoric in sociological terms, with rhetoric as the context-giving tradition that informs moral and political praxis. Roderick P. Hart and Suzanne M. Daughton, Modern Rhetorical Criticism, 3rd ed. (2005), argues for good rhetorical criticism and analyzes many short speeches and popular-interest texts. Barry Brummett, Rhetorical Dimensions of Popular Culture (1991); and Walter Nash, Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion (1989), pay particular attention to the role of rhetoric in contemporary popular culture. Harold Barrett, Rhetoric and Civility: Human Development, Narcissism, and the Good Audience (1991), applies insights from developmental psychology to political rhetoric, particularly in the United States; Karlyn Kohrs Campbell and Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Deeds Done in Words: Presidential Rhetoric and the Genres of Governance (1990), gives a critical history of U.S. presidential rhetoric. Karlyn Kohrs Campbell, Man Cannot Speak for Her, 2 vol. (1989), is a critical study of early feminist rhetoric with key texts of early feminists. Andrea A. Lunsford (ed.), Reclaiming Rhetorica: Women in the Rhetorical Tradition (1995), interpolates women's voices and rhetorics into the seamless masculine, rhetorical historical tradition. Krista Ratcliffe, Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich (1996), emphasizes the extraction of feminist rhetorical theory from the texts of three prominent female writers. An interesting collection of essays about teachers and scholars concerned with the role of feminism in rhetoric and composition is Louise Wetherbee Phelps and Janet Emig (eds.), Feminine Principles and Women's Experience in American Composition and Rhetoric (1995).Three other essay collections that survey scholarship in rhetoric are Winifred Bryan Horner (ed.), The Present State of Scholarship in Historical and Contemporary Rhetoric, rev. ed. (1990); Winifred Bryan Horner and Michael Leff (eds.), Rhetoric and Pedagogy: Its History, Philosophy, and Practice: Essays in Honor of James J. Murphy (1995); and W. Ross Winterowd and Vincent Gillespie (eds.), Composition in Context: Essays in Honor of Donald C. Stewart (1994).

Rhetoric for teachers
Numerous books address the question of what composition teachers need to know about rhetoric, including the following: Erika Lindemann and David Anderson, A Rhetoric for Writing Teachers, 4th ed. (2001); W. Ross Winterowd and Jack Blum, A Teacher's Introduction to Composition in the Rhetorical Tradition (1994); Richard Fulkerson, Teaching the Argument in Writing (1996); and James A. Berlin, Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures (1996, reissued with new afterword and response essays, 2003), published posthumously.An especially thorough survey of contemporary developments in argumentation, rhetoric, logic, and language approaches to argumentation is found in Frans H. van Eemeren, Rob Grootendorst, and Francisca Snoeck Henkemans, Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory: A Handbook of Historical Backgrounds and Contemporary Developments (1996). The final chapter includes a helpful summary of European and non-European work in rhetoric and related areas of research. Persuasion, preaching, intellectual history, and native narrative are addressed in Don Paul Abbott, Rhetoric in the New World: Rhetorical Theory and Practice in Colonial Spanish America (1996).

Journals of rhetoric
A few of the many scholarly journals reflecting the most recent developments in rhetorical theory and interdisciplinary work include Rhetoric Review (quarterly); Philosophy & Rhetoric; Rhetorica (quarterly), with articles in English, French, German, Italian, Latin, and Spanish; Rhetoric Society Quarterly; Argumentation and Advocacy (quarterly); Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy and the Social Sciences (bimonthly); and College Composition and Communication (quarterly).

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Rhetoric — Rhet o*ric, n. [F. rh[ e]torique, L. rhetorica, Gr. ???? (sc. ???), fr. ??? rhetorical, oratorical, fr. ??? orator, rhetorician; perhaps akin to E. word; cf. ??? to say.] 1. The art of composition; especially, elegant composition in prose. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rhetoric — ► NOUN 1) the art of effective or persuasive speaking or writing. 2) language with a persuasive or impressive effect, but often lacking sincerity or meaningful content. ORIGIN from Greek rh torik tekhn art of rhetoric …   English terms dictionary

  • rhetoric — I (insincere language) noun affectation, artificial eloquence, bombastic speech, declamation, euphuism, grandiloquence, grandiosity, inflated language, loftiness, magniloquence, pomposity, pompous speech, pompousness, pretension, pretentiousness… …   Law dictionary

  • rhetoric — (n.) c.1300, from O.Fr. rethorique, from L. rhetorice, from Gk. rhetorike techne art of an orator, from rhetor (gen. rhetoros) orator, related to rhema word, lit. that which is spoken, from PIE *wre tor , from root *were to speak (Cf. O.E …   Etymology dictionary

  • rhetoric — [n] wordiness; long speech address, balderdash*, big talk*, bombast, composition, discourse, elocution, eloquence, flowery language, fustian, grandiloquence, hot air*, hyperbole, magniloquence, oration, oratory, pomposity, rant, verbosity;… …   New thesaurus

  • rhetoric — [ret′ər ik] n. [ME rethorike < OFr or L: OFr rethorique < L rhetorica < Gr rhētorikē (technē), rhetorical (art) < rhētōr, orator: see RHETOR] 1. a) the art of using words effectively in speaking or writing; esp., now, the art of prose …   English World dictionary

  • Rhetoric — This article is about the art of rhetoric in general. For the work by Aristotle, see Rhetoric (Aristotle). Painting depicting a lecture in a knight academy, painted by Pieter Isaacsz or Reinhold Timm for Rosenborg Castle as part of a series of… …   Wikipedia

  • rhetoric — noun 1) a form of rhetoric Syn: oratory, eloquence, command of language, way with words 2) empty rhetoric Syn: bombast, turgidity, grandiloquence, magniloquence, pomposity, extravagant language, purple prose; …   Thesaurus of popular words

  • rhetoric — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ empty, mere ▪ Her speech was just empty rhetoric. ▪ fiery, inflammatory, powerful, radical ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • rhetoric — rhet|o|ric [ retərık ] noun uncount * a style of speaking or writing that is intended to influence people: angry nationalist rhetoric anti American rhetoric the rhetoric of freedom/reform/law and order a. a style of speaking or writing that is… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English


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