Milton and the Art of Rhetoric

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Augustine — 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. One early concern of the medieval Christian church was its attitude to classical rhetoric itself.

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Jerome d. Rhetoric would not regain its classical heights until the Renaissance, but new writings did advance rhetorical thought. Boethius ? A number of medieval grammars and studies of poetry and rhetoric appeared.

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Late medieval rhetorical writings include those of St. Thomas Aquinas ? 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. In his Cambridge University doctoral dissertation in English, Canadian Marshall McLuhan — surveys the verbal arts from approximately the time of Cicero down to the time of Thomas Nashe —? 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 ? Walter J. Ong's article "Humanism" in the New Catholic Encyclopedia surveys 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.

One influential figure in the rebirth of interest in classical rhetoric was Erasmus c. His work, De Duplici Copia Verborum et Rerum also known as Copia: Foundations of the Abundant Style , was widely published it went through more than editions throughout Europe and became one of the basic school texts on the subject.


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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.

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 — also helped shape the study of rhetoric in England. His best-known work was a book on education, De Disciplinis , published in , and his writings on rhetoric included Rhetoricae, sive De Ratione Dicendi, Libri Tres , De Consultatione , and a rhetoric on letter writing, De Conscribendis Epistolas It is likely that many well-known English writers were 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. University of Illinois Press, The midth century 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.

During this same period, a movement began that would change the organization of the school curriculum in Protestant and especially Puritan circles and led to rhetoric losing its central place. In his scheme of things, the five components of rhetoric no longer lived under the common heading of rhetoric.

The 3 Methods of Persuasion - Rhetoric - Aristotle

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. Ramus 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. 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 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 17th century, their approach became the primary method of teaching rhetoric in Protestant and especially Puritan circles. Ramism could not exert any influence on the established Catholic schools and universities, which remained loyal to 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.

Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 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 exercises".

This complex oratorical-prayer system is absent from Ramism. However, in England, several writers influenced the course of rhetoric during the 17th 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 — , 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".

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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. Thomas Hobbes — 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 , which in set up a committee to improve the English language. 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 , 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.


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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. 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.

At the turn of the 20th 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. Kuypers and Andrew King suggest that the early interest in rhetorical studies was a movement away from elocution as taught in departments of English in the United States, and was an attempt to refocus rhetorical studies away from delivery only to civic engagement. Collectively, they write, twentieth century rhetorical studies offered an understanding of rhetoric that demonstrated a "rich complexity" of how rhetorical scholars understood the nature of rhetoric.

The rise of advertising and of mass media such as photography , telegraphy , radio , and film brought rhetoric more prominently into people's lives. More recently the term rhetoric has been applied to media forms other than verbal language, e. Visual rhetoric. Rhetoric can be analyzed by a variety of methods and theories. One such method is criticism. When those using criticism analyze instances of rhetoric what they do is called rhetorical criticism see section below.

According to rhetorical critic Jim A. Kuypers , "The use of rhetoric is an art; as such, it does not lend itself well to scientific methods of analysis. Criticism is an art as well; as such, it is particularly well suited for examining rhetorical creations. For example, in the Sciences researchers purposefully adhere to a strict method the scientific method. All scientific researchers are to use this same basic method, and successful experiments must be percent replicable by others.

The application of the scientific method may take numerous forms, but the overall method remains the same—and the personality of the researcher is excised from the actual study. In sharp contrast, criticism one of many Humanistic methods of generating knowledge actively involves the personality of the researcher. The very choices of what to study, and how and why to study a rhetorical artifact are heavily influenced by the personal qualities of the researcher.

In criticism this is especially important since the personality of the critic considered an integral component of the study. Further personalizing criticism, we find that rhetorical critics use a variety of means when examining a particular rhetorical artifact, with some critics even developing their own unique perspective to better examine a rhetorical artifact.

Edwin Black rhetorician wrote on this point that, "Methods, then, admit of varying degrees of personality. And criticism, on the whole, is near the indeterminate, contingent, personal end of the methodological scale. In consequence of this placement, it is neither possible nor desirable for criticism to be fixed into a system, for critical techniques to be objectified, for critics to be interchangeable for purposes of [scientific] replication, or for rhetorical criticism to serve as the handmaiden of quasi-scientific theory.

Jim A. Kuypers sums this idea of criticism as art in the following manner: "In short, criticism is an art, not a science. It is not a scientific method; it uses subjective methods of argument; it exists on its own, not in conjunction with other methods of generating knowledge i.

Carnal Rhetoric

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.

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