History of Rhetoric I - ENG 6203 - Spring 2007


Nicole Loraux, The Invention of Athens: The Funeral Oration in the Classical City
Zone Books, 2006
ISBN: 1890951595

The Greek Sophists, Eds. John Dillon and Tania Gergel
 Penguin, 2003
ISBN: 0140436898

Aristotle,The Art of Rhetoric
Penguin Books, 1991
ISBN: 0801840554

Augustine, Political Writings
Cambridge UP, 1995
ISBN: 052144697X

Cicero, De Inventione
Harvard UP, 1976
ISBN: 0674994256

 Plato, Phaedrus
Hackett, 1995
ISBN: 0872202208

Plato, Protagoras
Hackett, 1992
ISBN: 0872200949


Bruce Krajewski
CFO 906

This course offers an introduction to some of the basic figures and issues connected to rhetoric from the ancient period (Greece and Rome) through the Middle Ages.  Before we can begin, you need to know your Homer.  If you do not, please read the Iliad and the Odyssey before the course begins. The Fagles translation (recommended) of both poems is available at the TWU Bookstore. You cannot hope to understand the ancient world without knowing Homer. After dealing with Homer, our course takes up the group of instructors called the Sophists, and almost all the major matters flow from their work, such as issues of truth-telling and lying, and the esoteric versus the exoteric.  Plato and Aristotle will take up the question of whether philosophy and rhetoric can co-exist. The Romans inherit the Greek tradition, and then attempt to provide their own responses to the same matters.

The course will be a mixture of primary sources coupled with narratives and interpretive accounts of the history of rhetoric by some of the key contemporary scholars. Although knowledge of ancient Greek and Latin are not required, we will do some work in Greek and Latin (some of it via the Perseus Project).  Every graduate student of rhetoric ought to be able to cope with the original languages, at least in a rudimentary way. The history of rhetoric up through the medieval period covers centuries. The possibilities for study could occupy more than one lifetime.

Nicole Loraux (above), along with Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and Jean-Pierre Vernant, have written numerous works that have provided a new vision of ancient Greece. They have published works separately and together. This group of thinkers has combined classical learning, philosophy, rhetoric, and cultural anthropology.

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2007. Last updated 18 January.