Full Text

Rhetoric, European Renaissance

Lawrence D. Green


Subject Linguistics
Communication Studies » Rhetorical Studies

People Aristotle, Cicero

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Extract

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

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