RHE 330D • Classical To Modern Rhetoric-W
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
This course will survey the history of rhetoric, one of the original seven liberal arts, exploring its impact on political, religious, and literary discourse in the West from antiquity to (almost) modern times.
In "The Rhetorical Tradition," we will examine the theorists and practitioners who shaped the arts of speaking and writing in Europe and America. We will read several classical texts (including Phaedrus, the Rhetoric of Aristotle, selections from Cicero and Quintilian) to understand how rhetoric was taught and practiced in antiquity and where it stood in relationship to the other arts of the trivium, that is, logic and grammar. The influence of rhetoric in the Medieval and Renaissance periods will be presented chiefly through literary and religious texts--for example, selected English sermons, "The Pardoner's Tale," Julius Caesar, Areopagitica, and so on. We will also examine the influence of rhetoric on English prose style and the on the development of scientific and philosophical writing.
In the modern period, the course will examine British/Scottish neo-classical and belletristic rhetorics, particularly as they shaped systems of education and literary tastes in England and America. The decline, near disappearance, and renewal of the rhetorical tradition in the last century will be chronicled through the work of major theorists, including I.A. Richards, Kenneth Burke, Richard Weaver, and Chaim Perelman.
Our focus throughout the semester will be both theoretical and practical: we will read the theory and then examine cultural and political applications. Anyone with a general interest in language or literary studies will probably find this course of interest. It will be especially helpful to rhetoric and English majors going on to graduate school, most of whom will teach courses in rhetoric/composition as part of their graduate programs.
Oral Report 10%
Portfolio of Position Papers 30%
Bizzell, Patricia and Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical Tradition. 2nd Ed. Boston: Bedford--St. Martin's, 2001.