September 30, 2005

The forest of rhetoric Terms and definitions of rhetoric, from antiquity to the Renaissance.

From abating to zeugma, in fact.

  • Excellent - epideictic bananas to you, polychrome. My only fear is that reading it will sort of infect my mind with Aristotelian ideas about speech-making. I read somewhere once about the difference between 'complex' and 'complicated', and now I have to stop and think every time I use either word, even though I actually believe the distinction is bogus, or rather, purely etymological.
  • Yes, a fine post! Thank you, polychrome.
  • The best site for classical rhetoric (IMHO) -- but as a non-classical rhetorician I can't help thinking it does a mild disservice to an understanding of what rhetoric means today. We are sooooo much more sophisticated :)
  • Maybe. I can easily imagine running up a how-to PowerPoint guide based on this stuff, though. Use the secrets of the ancients to add magic to your presentations! Convince them with logos, win them over with pathos!
  • Words to describe words? Speech-defining speech? But where will this endless noun-making end? Surely I am not the only one among you that can see the terrible danger of needlessly multiplying entities - soon the whole universe will be filled with endless descriptions of itself! No room to move - a crowded zone of darkness and intolerable pressure! No, dear friends, let us not so hastily join this vile cult - this abominable religion that uncouth polychrome would force upon us. Tear up this near-infinite list, and let us instead remain in the blissful garden of ignorance, like our forefather Adam, breathing the sweet, fresh air of careless ease.
  • Good peroration there.
  • Mrmojoflying: you're pulling my leg, right? Pull the other one--it's got bells on.
  • Classic rhetoric is great - though it is an art that takes its time. The current sound-bite media environment has left no stone unturned in regard to public speech, as it seldom is consumated whole. Still, I feel great adoration for rhetors such as Demosthenes or even Cicero. @quidnunc: hastily - abominable - uncouth - blissful - our forefather Adam - that is quite some stilum gravis you use there. How about: Those evil rhetors, they want everything complicated. They hate us for our (saintly) simplicity. They hate us for our ***** - I still am awed by that phrase. It constitutes a "we", a "they", puts them into antagonism to each other, and leaves perfect power of definition about who those groups actually are. Now that is contemporary rhetoric. By the way, I dimly remember the word "rhetoric" being used in the plural "rhetorics" to refer to the art. Is there any difference in usage?
  • Rhetards hate your freedom. To the zeugma, gentlemen, and I expect quantities of rotten fruit!
  • Thieving crooks stole the countries purse and revolting rascals peace. Do not kill the messenger.
  • > They hate us for our ***** it also presents "they" as persecutors and "us" as the virtuous persecuted, making it more effective imo than the "with us or with the enemy" dichotomy.
  • oh, and very nice site polychrome. / off to think about jokes employing dirimens copulatio
  • BlueHorse: I do not know mrmojoflying's intent, but I don't think he was pulling your leg, bells or no. The classical rhetoric (very nicely) displayed on the BYU site only goes so far; contemporary rhetoric takes far more streams of thought in than the privileged western canon. The following excerpt from Jim Porter's syllabus addresses some of the question of what exists outside the framework of classical rhetoric. As we track the Heritage School of Graeco-Roman, Anglo-American rhetoric, we will see that this heritage focuses largely on theory, on pedagogy, and on the relationship between the two. We will also see that this tradition on the whole rests on a particular assumption about the status of the rhetor: that the rhetor (speaker/writer) has a relatively powerful, or potentially powerful, status. The assumption is that the rhetor is a literate, educated citizen (usually male), with access to power and the means to speak and to persuade others. Alternatives voices within this tradition have typically not been anthologized because those voices have often been historically silenced (e.g., Aspasia, Sor Juana). (The second edition of The Rhetorical Tradition is just beginning to acknowledge those voices.) Rhetoricians in this second tradition tend to focus less on academic theory and pedagogy and more on establishing one's right to speak in the first place (or to be educated to speak); on issues of exclusion, silencing, and censorship; on access to communication media and to literacy education; on achieving identity and respect; on preserving language and rhetorical customs; and on basic issues of justice and power. Subordinated and silenced traditions have a different kind of struggle — establishing the right to speak and to be heard for those who have historically been denied those rights (particularly women, marginalized ethnic and racial groups, and persecuted religious communities), not only in society at large but in the academy as well. So, no leg pulling. We may not be more sophisticated (which was a terrible but hilarious pun), but we consider an ecology of rhetoric of which classical rhetoric through renaissance rhetoric is but a part.
  • Plegmund: Convince them with logos, win them over with pathos! Tempt them with nachos! Turn them orange with Cheetos!
  • Clothe them in shakos! So what if they're whackos? House them in gazebos! Let them see El Grecos!