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Rhetoric from renaissance to modern day - Essay Example

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Rhetoric, being an art of speaking or writing persuasively to convey certain impressions, or promote concrete interpretations, especially to support the power of a speech or a text to reveal the truth, has always played a very important practical role in the history of development of man as a sentient being…
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Rhetoric from renaissance to modern day
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Download file to see previous pages It is important to understand from the very beginning, that the division of the history of rhetoric into periods is somewhat conventional. In fact, from the moment of the emergence of rhetoric in its classical form, and through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the period of the early modern history, and up until modern times there was taking place an interconnected process of diversification of fields of application of rhetoric, as it was endowed with many different tasks during its 2500 year history by needs of politics, religion, philosophy, and science. In general, in the time that preceded the Renaissance rhetoric was made to serve Christian religious goals instead of political ones as it was the case with the classical rhetoric. Also, during the Middle Ages the classical prescriptive attitude to notion of good composition was greatly intensified, so that many medieval rhetoric works contained only rules and examples of composition. In the early Renaissance there appeared rhetoric that followed classical examples but was composed in vernacular language. Rhetoricians who practiced such an approach accentuated the examination of style, and at times directly connected their vision with poetry. Another significant factor that influenced Renaissance rhetoric was the work of Peter Ramus, who wanted to reform the so-called medieval trivium (studied by medieval students as a combination of grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) by shifting accents in the classical division of the stages of composing on invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. Rhetoric of Ramus deepens the separation between these stages, and assigns invention and arrangement to the field of logic. In general, Ramists strived to establish a strictly logical frame that would be efficient due its rationality. For Ramists, rhetoric relates only to style, memory, and delivery. In their turn, memory and delivery gradually declined in significance during the Renaissance due to introduction of printing, which made written texts ever more essential for political, religious, and academic life. In this situation, rhetoricians of the Renaissance began to view the role of rhetoric in upper-class education as of a means to decorate one's ideas with the most graceful appearance.
The University of Edinburghs rhetoricians, for whom such an attitude to rhetoric was trivializing, attempted to halt this tendency by postulating, on the basis of connecting of rhetoric with psychology, that the study of right and convincing style created not only professional orators but good people as such. Their greatest influence on America probably stemmed from works of 1780s of Hugh Blair, who accentuated the ethical qualities of belletristic taste and authorized the social superiority of a professional public speaker. Actually at this time George Campbell, another rhetorician of the Scottish tradition, related rhetoric to the functioning of the human mind, and described eloquence as the art to adapt discourse to its proper end. Alexander Bain, a later Scottish rhetorician, argued that persuasive discourse is formed by combining ideas in such a way that they produce the needed emotion in the public. Bain also formulated familiar classification of structures of discourse - narration, description, exposition, and argumentation. For America with its young democracy, the Scottish modification of classical rhetoric was especially important, as there was a perceived need for ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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