Full Text

Rhetoric, European Renaissance

Lawrence D. Green

Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Rhetorical Studies

People Aristotle, Cicero

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


The goal of rhetoric during the Renaissance was the mastery of spoken or written language to affect a particular audience in an intended and predictable manner. Mastery entailed an understanding of language in its relation to human psychology, the use of formal procedures for turning theory into practice, and the education of others in both theory and practice. The focus on particular audiences, rather than a universal audience, recognized that listeners or readers could be differentiated and grouped according to their interests in a given topic or problem. Not every intention could be realized with every audience, and students were trained to judge whether it was reasonable to expect a particular audience to respond as intended to a particular use of language. Renaissance rhetoric was marked by an enthusiastic return to the major Greek and Roman treatises, combined with efforts to adapt those treatises to the changed circumstances of the early modern period. Cicero (106–43 bce ) had been known during the medieval period for the mechanical prescriptions found in his De inventione and the pseudo-Ciceronian Rhetorica ad Herennium , and both treatises had been reduced to synopses and epitomes that served immediate needs. Quintilian (c. 35–c. 95 ce ) had been known during the medieval period as an imitator of Cicero, based on fragmented and nearly incoherent versions ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top