The Influence of Absence

banner imageClassical Rhetorics

Thomas P. Miller
ML 473 (T. 11-12:30 and W 8:30-10)
621-6152
tpm@email.arizona.edu
http://tmiller.faculty.arizona.edu

Syllabus & Assignments | Schedule | Resources

Thoth or Theuth,  Egyptian god of writingclassical and christian influences
Dayton Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Traditions
Smith A New History of Classical Rhetoric
Westfall Connecting with the Congregation: Rhetoric and the Art of Preaching

        origin myths
Haker Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Traditions
Metcalf Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Traditions
Hinojosa Beginnings of Rhetorical Theory in Classical Greece

       absences
Broussard Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho
Bueche Living Without Philosophy
Day After Virtue

        forgotten arts
McKenzie The Birth of Tragedy
Kinney Rhetorics and Poetics in Antiquity
Moeller Art and Wisdom: Plato’s Understanding of Techne

        traditionalizing
Reynolds Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition From Antiquity through the Renaissance
Wang Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Traditions
Menchaca Origins of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece

        speaking of writing
Lauer Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and A New Literacy
Jones Literacy and Power in the Ancient World
Schwartz Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece

        getting critical
Malesh The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought
Ohm The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought

    
    (use the headings of the groups for navigation)

    Egyptian.gif (7121 bytes)

Thoth or Theuth,  Egyptian god of writing

classical and christian influences

Dayton Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Traditions

Kennedy, George. Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times. 2nd ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. 345 pages.

George Kennedy’s book is a classic history of rhetoric which spans more than 20 centuries, from the age of Classical Greece to the twentieth century. The book has been a reference for students and scholars alike since its original publication in 1980; In the preface to the new edition, Kennedy explains his purpose in revising the text. In the 1999 edition, he has included new research, revised some of his earlier ideas, and added discussions of women’s contribution to rhetoric and rhetorical studies in Spain, England, and the Americas (preface).

The book can be divided into several parts. In Chapters 1-5, Kennedy reviews the origins of the study of rhetoric, from pre-literate Homeric Greece through the Roman Empire. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the field that is well suited to an audience that knows little about it. Kennedy defines many of the basic concepts and terms that surface throughout this work and others: primary vs. secondary rhetoric, deliberative, judicial, and epideictic rhetoric, technical, sophistic, and philosophical rhetoric. In Chapters 2-4, Kennedy describes three main approaches to rhetoric: technical, sophistic, and philosophical. Chapter 5 details the contribution of Roman rhetoricians to the field.

Chapters 6 and 7 discuss the connection between the study of rhetoric and two other fields--- theology and literary studies. Rhetoric and literature have a shared tradition, since the first Greek works of literature—the Homeric poems, the Greek tragedies, dramas, and poems—were passed on by oral tradition before the Greek literacy revolution. Kennedy explains that Greek literature often "made much use of the forms of oratory" including public address, speeches, and debate (128). In Chapter 7, Kennedy describes how ancient Judeo-Christian rhetoric relied primarily on the power of ethos through authority. He devotes a significant part of this chapter to discussing the influence of St. Augustine, whose work on rhetoric signaled an acceptance of the classical tradition by Christian scholars of the fourth century AD.

Chapters 8- 11 provide an overview of rhetoric from the Middle Ages to the neo-Classical period (seventeenth and eighteenth centuries AD). While rhetoric became less important with the decline of the Roman Empire, there was renewed interest in its study during the Renaissance. Chapter 11 is significantly expanded from the first edition to include a discussion of the study of rhetoric in England, Spain, and the New World, where imperialism brought with it the European traditions of education, which included the study of rhetoric.

The final chapter, "Classical Rhetoric in the Twentieth Century," is perhaps the most important addition to the book, as the previous version ended with the neo-classical period. In the latter part of the century, philosophers and educators have generated new interest in rhetoric, especially as it relates to the teaching of composition. At the same time, however, rhetoricians have shifted their interest from praxis to theory and have expanded their view of rhetoric to include all kinds of communication, not just public oratory. Kennedy reviews the most important non-classical theories of the twentieth century, including those of I.A. Richards, Kenneth Burke, and Chaim Perelman, who have tried to explain rhetoric in relation to the nature of language. In addition, he summarizes the major twentieth century critical theories, including semiotics, Marxist criticism, New Criticism, Neo-Aristotelian criticism, and reader-response. Many readers, however, might recognize some of these as literary theories without fully understanding how they apply to rhetoric. Kennedy might have discussed the relationship between modern theories of literature and rhetoric to provide a better context for his discussion of literary theorists as rhetoricians.

As Kennedy stated in his preface, one of the goals of his revised edition was to include material on women’s contribution to rhetoric. He does this throughout the book, beginning in Chapter One, where he includes material on the poet Sappho and the living conditions of women in ancient Greece. In Chapter 5, he devotes some attention to a few well-known women orators in the Roman Empire, even though among these women, only one text of about 30 lines remains. This is a recurring problem for Kennedy’s discussion of women’s rhetoric—there is precious little of it for him to comment on. He names the few women scholars who were known to have written and spoken in public, and he describes women’s role in public life during the various time periods that he covers. He cites Greek oratory and literature, in which women were often depicted as "skillful artisans of speech" (16); however, these texts, as he acknowledges, were authored by men. Since there are so few rhetorical texts authored by women and even fewer of these have survived, Kennedy’s discussion of women’s rhetoric seems at times limited and forced. A better approach might have been to address head-on the question of why women have traditionally been left out of debate about rhetoric, and why there was little effort to preserve some of the women’s text that we know existed at one time.

Kennedy’s book is logically organized in a way that is mostly chronological, but departs at times from a purely linear model to discuss how rhetoricians have influenced one another throughout time. Kennedy weaves the thread of classical rhetoric throughout the book, explaining, for example, how St. Augustine was influenced by Aristotelian notions of ethos and Plato’s dialectics, and how during the Middle Ages, differences in Eastern European and Western European rhetoric resulted from their adherence to different strands of the classical tradition. The Greek-speaking scholars of the Byzantine Empire were highly influenced by the sophistic tradition and retained an interest in philosophical rhetoric, while scholars in Western Europe continued in the "handbook tradition of Latin rhetoric" (182). With examples like these, Kennedy shows the reader how classical theories continued to influence rhetorical and educational developments throughout European history.

Overall, Classical Rhetoric and its Christian and Secular Tradition is an important text for both students and scholars of rhetoric. The organization of the book allows students to read straight through for a complete and highly readable history, which includes ample information about the social, political, and religious contexts in which rhetoric developed. Scholars, on the other hand, will appreciate the extensive notes and bibliography that Kennedy includes. It is a thorough history presented in clear, accessible language, suitable for a wide range of readers.

Amy Dayton

Smith A New History of Classical Rhetoric

A New History of Classical Rhetoric by George A. Kennedy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press (1994): xiii + 301 pp.

George Kennedy, accomplished translator and scholar of ancient rhetorics, wrote several of the standard volumes on classical rhetoric, including a popular translation of Aristotle’s On Rhetoric. This book, called A New History of Classical Rhetoric, is a combination and retooling of Kennedy’s earlier books, The Art of Persuasion in Greece, The Art of Rhetoric in the Roman World, and Greek Rhetoric under Christian Emperors. This text speaks to a slightly less scholarly audience than the previous books, leaving out the scholarly footnotes and much of the Greek vocabulary; it would be appropriate for either undergraduates or graduate students beginning to study rhetoric, who will appreciate the history and cultural background included. The study of rhetoric was expanding in the 1990s, and only Edward P. J. Corbett’s book Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student (591 pages in its 1990 revision) and Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg’s The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present (1282 pages in its 1990 edition) fulfilled the need for a textbook on classical rhetoric, and Kennedy’s (at 301 pp.) is literally the lightest weight book on the topic. Kennedy’s book also focuses strictly on historical material on classical times while Corbett and Bizzell and Herzberg offer readings and trace classical rhetoric’s path through later ages. (Kennedy’s own book, Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times is probably too short on the classical period to serve as a text for a semester’s course.) For the background needed by newcomers to classical rhetoric, Kennedy’s New History is excellent; he moves skillfully between broad strokes of rhetorical history and explication of specific texts.

Kennedy convinces his readers that rhetoric was at the heart of classical education; rhetoric emerges as both the subject of and the guiding force behind much of classical education. A New History of Classical Rhetoric reads as the epic movie of the history of rhetoric, filmed in Cinemascope by many cameras and presented on a very broad screen. Sometimes we see the long view of the evolution of rhetorical education, and at others, we see several stories going on at once. Kennedy’s task is enormous: he traces rhetoric as it was known from the beginnings of democracy in 5th century B.C. Syracuse and Athens, when numbers of citizens began to feel the need to make public speaking an art, to a thousand years later, when Boethius designated dialectic as examining theses and rhetoric as its subset for investigating hypotheses. And, though he ends with Boethius, perhaps for the pleasure of symmetry of 500 years before and after the zero millenium, he actually speaks of later happenings; he mentions Charlemagne’s court rhetorician Alcuin (in the year 794), who oversaw the church’s opening of cathedral schools. Framing a topic over such a lengthy time frame is obviously challenging. Kennedy does it by anchoring his history in specific individuals, listing teacher after teacher as he follows the thread of rhetorical education through Greek, Roman, and early Christian history. The author is at his best when he serves as translator of individual lives in ancient times. He takes pleasure, for example, in the anecdotal evidence that Tisias, nicknamed "the crow," is one and the same with Corax, whose name is the Greek word for crow (34). He introduces an Aristotelian anecdote to confirm this.

Kennedy begins the book by defining rhetoric as it was known in ancient times, which he describes as the "civic art of public speaking" (3). Rhetoric dominated schooling because it was the "one discipline that was a basic tool of power and cultural integrity in antiquity" (xi). The leaders and citizens of classical times were taught by rhetoricians, whose ideas of what is worth doing became the subject of schooling in classical times (Ch.1). Kennedy discusses persuasion, not yet called rhetoric, in Greek life and drama before the Golden Age (Ch.2), pointing out that early Greeks demonstrated awareness of rhetorical issues before systematic rhetorical study began. The author believes that Plato is the first to write of the field of study as "rhetoric," though Plato puts the word in the mouth of Socrates in Gorgias, and he contrasts Aristotle’s emphasis on logic with the popular theme of the time, emotion (Ch.3). Kennedy presents rhetoric as the foundation of much of classical education, from the canon of the ten Attic Orators (Ch.4), into the Alexandrine world (Ch.5), when Hellenistic standards for learning spread through the ancient world, and into the rhetoric of hired "patrons" who argued cases for others in the Roman Empire (Ch.6). Cicero merits a chapter of his own (Ch.7), probably due to his combined importance as a practical politician working to preserve the Roman Empire and to the popularity of the large number of his surviving texts. Post-Ciceronian Romans adapted rhetorical education by emphasizing style of delivery (Ch.8), while rhetoricians of Quintilian’s time deplored the "Decline of Eloquence" (Ch.9). The later Romans systematized rhetorical education by categorizing and explicating the ideas of Neoplatonists (Ch.10). Finally, reactionary Asia Minor-born rhetoricians of the second sophistic of the 4th century used the earlier sophists as their model (Ch.11), and eventually traditional rhetorical education declined as Christians looked to scripture rather than rhetoric for their enlightenment (Ch.12).

In communicating a wealth of information from the 1000 years, A New History is mostly successful. Kennedy tries valiantly to take an extraordinarily complicated list and to make it compelling by the use of the personalities of the people involved. He does best when he is explicating specific texts, as he does with the works of Aristotle’s contemporary, Demosthenes. Kennedy shows the human drama of a man frightened by public speech yet devoted to its teaching; Demosthenes was the man who spoke so poorly as a young man that he was often shouted down before he gave his speech, who learned to present arguments on behalf of others with brilliant results, and who as an older man fell speechless before Philip of Macedon, perhaps due to the ignominy of being humbled before a barbarian (75). Lively episodes give the reader a sense not only of the rhetoric, but of the culture that developed it. One drawback to the author’s broad brush is the listing of apparently every known rhetor from a given time frame. These read like Biblical begats. Some pages contain 15+ names, and while the author usually tells something specific about each name he mentions, it can become tedious. Overall, however, this history-told-through-people works.

A reader will naturally wonder, whose history is told here? To answer that in these postmodern times, we can ask, what is this book not? It is not a daring new interpretation of historical trends as seen from a particular vantage point, as from a feminist, Marxist, or deconstructionist view. It is not a multi-volume work, so many topics are mentioned but not fully explained. The choice of what to include is much the same as the choices made in Kennedy’s earlier works even though, by his own estimation, "significant revision" was needed. Comparison of the index of this book to Kennedy’s previous books reveals more people and fewer rhetorical terms. While the history is expanded, it remains a history of privileged white males. No mention of women in rhetoric is made, even though Kennedy’s later books do mention Aspasia and Sapho. In addition, this is a book that could benefit enormously from a chart of particulars that would allow readers to compare varying theories of rhetoric, perhaps similar to the one in the endpapers of the Corbett book.

Where does this book fit into the canon of modern rhetorical publications? It is a competent text. It is a good read. It tells just about everything you need to know before branching off into some pocket of rhetorical history. Students should be grateful for this work, and teachers can assign its multiple chapters knowing that the book is soundly researched, the words competently translated, and the rhetoric traditionally explained. As a starting point for the beginning student, on either college or graduate level, it is nearly ideal.

 

Susan N. Smith

 

Westfall Connecting with the Congregation: Rhetoric and the Art of Preaching

Hogan, Lucy Lind and Robert Reid. Connecting with the Congregation: Rhetoric and the Art of Preaching. Nashville: Abingdon, 1999.

The title gives away the point of this slim (160 pages) but ambitious volume. Authors Hogan and Reid combine their experience in both preaching and communications theory to reclaim the place of ancient rhetorical theory in contemporary preaching for the purpose of forging a meaningful connection with the listeners (congregation) on which effective communication depends. In an age when the influence of the pulpit in American consciousness-making has waned, in a homiletic climate that has recently begun a rapprochement between rhetoric and homiletics, as well as for the preacher crafting a sermon week after week, the "rhetorical turn" that the authors present, is a fresh and needed perspective on the art of preaching.

The thesis of the book is that preaching is a rhetorical act, defined by the authors (following Karlyn Kohrs Campbell) as "an intentional, created, polished attempt to overcome the obstacles in a given situation with a specific audience on a given issue to achieve a particular end." Approaching it as such opens up a rich array of resources from classical rhetorical theory and practice for making preaching more effective. It begins with a tantalizingly brief rhetorical analysis of an excerpt from Martin Luther King JR’s sermon, "The Drum Major Instinct" preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church shortly before his assassination. Well, who wouldn’t want to be able to move people as King did? It was not just his natural ability, the authors argue, but a learnable rhetorical strategy – a rhetorical stance - that made King so effective. That stance was developed out of his own personal character (ethos), his understanding of and identification with the people (pathos) and his creative and compelling use of reasoning (logos).

These three means of persuasion from classical rhetoric become chapters for discussing; "Who Do They Think I Am?" (ethos – what is the persona the preacher creates both outside and within the preaching moment), "How will they Come to Care?" (pathos – hearing the congregation so fully that what is "brought before their eyes" is something they want or need to listen to) and "What Am I Going to Say?" (logos – the articulation of some point of view or "argument" and the responsibility of the preacher to sift through the various options available to them in the construction of that point). The means of persuasion are much over-looked categories, the authors argue, for understanding the impact of preaching but are at the very core of what transpires between congregation and preacher Sunday after Sunday.

The Aristotelian trivium of invention, arrangement and style is the organizing structure for answering the remaining questions (chapters) of the book; "What Am I Going to Say?" (treated under the chapter on logos, "What Do I Hope Will Happen?" (a very interesting discussion of how form dictates function) and "How Will it Come Across?" (an argument that style is not just the preacher’s "signature" on a sermon, but rather the meaning-making use of figures of speech, tropes, force of expression and lyric quality). Again, it is from the categories of classical rhetoric that the authors tease out the questions that, consciously or not, are at the core of the preaching endeavor.

And it is these questions (and the discussion of each) which form the heart of the book. In each chapter, as in classical rhetoric itself, the audience (congregation) plays a central role in how that question gets answered, and the authors make the congregation a conversation partner in the discussion in a lively and arresting way. Although many specific resources from classical rhetoric, particularly linguistic categories, are offered throughout the project, the overriding concern of the authors is precisely for the preacher to ask and answer these questions – to think rhetorically about the preaching event – in the composition and delivery of a sermon.

The book attempts too much and its organization as well as depth suffer for it. Not only does it argue the main thesis, it also includes "a basic introduction to ancient rhetoric and ancient homiletics and a brief account of the (historical and contemporary) vicissitudes of this dialogue" (20 pages), a theology of preaching as a rhetorical act, (1 page) an analysis of the motives of preaching as evident in 4 contemporary approaches to preaching, a presentation of the rhetorical canons tweaked to apply particularly to preaching, AND a set of study questions for each chapter! The effect is that the reader is bombarded with conclusions, lists, summaries and cursory glimpses of material that warrant a more thorough conversation. Oh, there are some gems along the way, to be sure, but overall, the sheer number of topics included make for many unexamined assumptions and dense reading. Even the author’s "case" for viewing preaching as a persuasive act, for example, while at least giving nodding recognition to the various challenges of such a view, does so in such a superficial way that the assumption that forms the thesis of the book itself is only partially established.

Having said all that, I hesitate to comment on what was left out. What was missing, however, was the role of the Biblical text in a rhetorical approach to preaching. The Bible has its own rhetorical stance and implications and an adequate discussion of how these rhetorics shape and influence the preaching task was a noticeable - and lamentable - omission.

Nevertheless, the book makes a contribution. Early on the authors state that the purpose of the book is "to introduce students of preaching to the basic theory of the art of rhetoric as it applies to the task of preaching. . .so that they are able to view the task of preaching rhetorically as well as theologically." This they do - persuasively. For the preacher, the book offers a rich new way to approach the composition and delivery of a sermon – a different set of lenses for understanding as well as engaging her task, and the lively possibility that this lens will allow her to connect with her listeners in a more meaningful and transformative way. And the book’s unabashed assertion that preaching is, by definition, a rhetorical act, contributes one more voice to the on going "vicissitudes of the dialogue between rhetoric and homiletics" which begs a response.

Sue Westfall

origin myths

 Haker Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Traditions

George A. Kennedy. Classical Rhetoric & Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times, second edition. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999. viii. 345 pp. Paperback $16.95. ISBN 0-8078-4769-0.

Since its publication in 1980, George A. Kennedy’s Classical Rhetoric & Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times has been regarded a landmark text in classical rhetoric that provides one of the few comprehensive overviews of the origin and evolution of the field (Timmerman 2). Now, just in time for the millennium, the University of North Carolina Press has released the book’s long awaited second edition. In this 1999 edition, Kennedy, Paddison Professor of Classics, Emeritus, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has thoroughly revised and enlarged the original text to extend into the arenas of American, Mexican, and European rhetoric, as well as women’s rhetoric through the ages, and has added valuable historical and intellectual contexts.

Perhaps the millennium was not the only impetus for the new edition. In 1998, E.J. Brill published a translation from the German of Heinrich Lausberg’s Handbook of Literary Rhetoric: A Foundation for Literary Study, for which Kennedy wrote the foreword (Kirby 1). In 1999, Edward Schiappa’s The Beginnings of Rhetorical Theory in Classical Greece came off the press (Timmerman 1). But neither volume is in direct competition with Kennedy’s work. Lausberg’s book, as its title suggests, focuses on literary rhetoric, and at 921 pages and a breathtaking price of $240.50, appeals only to the serious scholar. Schiappa’s study explores a much narrower time frame and corner of the world--ancient Greece from the mid-fifth to the mid-fourth century BC--than George Kennedy’s.

Just like the first, Kennedy’s second edition of Classical Rhetoric & Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times is written in a clear, straightforward language that appeals to novice and scholar alike. Novices quickly and painlessly are exposed to precise terminology and appropriate examples; scholars benefit from copious endnotes and Kennedy’s extensive bibliography.

The work begins with a detailed discussion of rhetoric in ancient Greece, starting with the rhetoric of the Homerian poems, and half the book later arrives at Saint Augustine. From here, it follows the influences of Greek and Latin rhetoric through the European Middle Ages and Renaissance, crosses the ocean and explores the first American rhetoric books. Classical Rhetoric ends with a chapter on "Classical Rhetoric in the Twentieth Century" that briefly touches on the "New" Rhetorics and Comparative Rhetoric.

Especially in the early chapters, Classical Rhetoric is rich in detail, frequently guiding readers step by step through passages from famous texts and tracing ancient concepts and traditions to modern times. Explicating a sizeable excerpt from the ninth book of the Iliad, for example, Kennedy begins by noting that "Odysseus speaks first, and his address is the most carefully organized in the group. It falls into five parts. First he addresses Achilles and expresses thanks for his hospitality (225-28), establishing a cordial tone. This corresponds to the proemium, or introduction, of a classical oration, which seeks the attention and goodwill of an audience" (8). But at no time do such patient explanations become tedious. Kennedy has struck a perfect balance between close-up discussions and larger objectives. The section "Women in Classical Rhetoric," however, is brushed over in broad strokes. Yet, given the near nonexistence of extant texts composed by ancient women, one wonders whether more could have been done. Later in the book, women’s rhetoric is explored in sections titled "Women in Roman Public Life," "Women in the Humanist Movement," and "Women’s Rhetoric in the Seventeenth and Eighteen Centuries," though disappointingly each discussion is only a page or two long when clearly Kennedy had more material to draw from.

George Kennedy discerns three approaches to rhetoric that are "continuing strands in its [rhetoric’s] tradition throughout the history of western Europe" (13): Technical rhetoric, which advocated correct forms for invention, arrangement, and style of spoken and written texts. Sophistic rhetoric, which was taught by imitation and emphasized the rhetor’s ethos and the magical powers of stylistic display. And Philosophical rhetoric, which sought to discover truth and convey it to audiences for their good. Kennedy traces these lines of rhetorical study to the modern day by discussing the contributions of important rhetoricians.

According to David M. Timmerman of Wabash College, Edward Schiappa takes issue with the three strands, which Kennedy first introduced in the 1980 edition and retained for the 1999 volume. It is clear to Timmerman that Schiappa’s above cited The Beginnings of Rhetorical Theory in Classical Greece is in dialogue with the early chapters of Kennedy’s Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian Secular Tradition. Schiappa, Timmerman suggests, "draws his description of the ‘standard account’ primarily from the Kennedy text" (Timmerman 2), and reconsiders each of Kennedy’s three strands "under the rubric of his [Schiappa’s] predisciplinary vs. disciplinary formulation" (Timmerman 2). The result, Timmerman suggests, is a "not an alternate narrative, but rather an alternate approach that pursues a more nuanced and accurate account of particular authors and texts" (Timmerman 3).

Even so, the first and second editions of George A. Kennedy’s Classical Rhetoric & Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times play a central role in today’s revival of classical rhetoric and its subsequent tradition, and are highly engaging, well researched guides to the field. Throughout both editions, Kennedy effectively illustrates how and why rhetoric has evolved with time, yet continues to be affected by the needs of previous generations.

Kennedy ends the second edition by broadening his audience’s views. "[T]here is more to be learned about rhetoric," he suggests, "than is found strictly within the western tradition" (300).

Bibliography

Kirby T. John. Book review.

<http://omega.cohums.ohio-state.edu/hyper-lists/bmcr-1/98.6.15+/0025.htm…;

Timmerman, David M. Book review. <http://www.americancomm.org/~aca/acjdata/vol3/Iss1/editorials/timmerman…;.

 

Ute Haker

 

Metcalf Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Traditions

Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian Secular Tradition From Ancient to Modern Times. 2nd Edition. By George A. Kennedy. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1999. viii. 345 pp.

 

George Kennedy's "Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian Secular Tradition From Ancient to Modern Times" is a very readable book that does a remarkable job of documenting the history of the classical Western rhetorics while, simultaneously, highlighting the influence of the various rhetorical traditions on their successors. This is the second edition of Kennedy's book and, according to the preface, has been thoroughly revised to incorporate the results of new scholarship. One of the strengths of the book is Kennedy's ability to speak to the interests of many types of readers at an appropriate level of detail. The reader with little or no familiarity with Western rhetoric immediately encounters an historical narrative that uses precise rhetorical terminology, non-superficial explanations, and traditional examples from the Western rhetorical canon. A further level of detail is made available to the reader who is acquainted with the classical Western rhetorics. Such a person is able to confidently refer to chapters with introductions that capably summarize the structural features and historical significance of particular types of rhetoric, while also providing selections from the canon that are presented with the author's analytic commentary. Finally, in addressing the needs of the scholar, Kennedy accompanies his presentation with copious endnotes and an extensive bibliography. Such a diversity of information is characteristic of a work that will continue to reveal new insights over the course of several readings.

Kennedy begins this work by acknowledging that the term "rhetoric" has a wide range of meanings and he immediately defines two basic concepts to frame the subject of rhetoric so that he can evaluate it. He uses the adjectives "primary" and "secondary" to distinguish between to general classes of rhetoric. He describes "primary" rhetoric" as "oral ... primarily a means of attaining consensus." (p.4), while "secondary rhetoric" comprises "rhetorical techniques as found in discourse, literature, and art forms when those techniques are not being used for an oral, persuasive purpose." (p.3) Over the first six chapters, Kennedy traces Greek and Roman rhetorical developments from the time of Homer through the early centuries of the first millennium of the Christian Era. Particularly noteworthy is the way that he describes the evolution of the Greek and Roman rhetorical practices in the context of the distinct political and social developments of the individual cultures. Kennedy does a credible job of describing the power and effectiveness of oral rhetorical techniques. The familiar orations of Homer and Gorgias are recounted in contexts that highlight the persuasiveness of the speakers. Kennedy does attempt to highlight some of the Gorgian characteristics of Isocrates' Panegyricus by italicizing particular words and phrases (p.44). Unfortunately, by simply writing about the orations and presenting his examples in translation, and not allowing the words of the speeches to speak for themselves in the original Greek, the author misses an opportunity to demonstrate the mesmerizing impact of the aural characteristics of the language. A more effective approach might have been to present a parallel selection in Greek (for readers of classical Greek), transliterated Greek, and translated English that was annotated to denote meter, rhyme (in the transliteration), and other rhetorical features used by the Sophists. By carefully reading the transliterated Greek aloud, even one illiterate in classical Greek could then obtain a sense of the Sophist's art.

The longest chapter of the book discusses the development of Judeo-Christian rhetoric of the Old Testament, New Testament, and writings of the Church Fathers. In contrast to the rhetorical practices described in the previous six chapters, Kennedy explains that "the fundamental rhetorical technique of the Old Testament is assertion of authority." (p. 138) Using examples from the life of Moses the author describes how the authority of God is used as "the primary mode of persuasion." (p. 139) Kennedy continues by identifying similarities and differences in Old and New Testament rhetorics. The words of Jesus, for example, "are largely drawn from Jewish traditions of speech." (p. 144). He contrasts this with the rhetorics used in the narratives of the Gospels and the Epistles which were, in many cases, written by men having a Greek or Roman education and exhibit rhetorical characteristics of those cultures. It is worth noting that in his treatment of Judeo-Christian rhetoric, Kennedy spends very little time describing examples from Old and New Testament canon, making it appear that he assumes that the reader is familiar with these works. Although such familiarity may have been the case when the first edition of this book was written twenty years ago, it is likely that today's readers may require more detailed background information concerning these works.

Concluding his chronological narrative, Kennedy uses the last third of the book to discuss the influence of classical Western rhetoric on society from the middle ages to the present. As these last three chapters address over 1200 years of rhetorical history, the depth of coverage is much less than the earlier two sections. Still, Kennedy manages to describe the role of Greek and Roman rhetoric in sufficient detail to allow the reader to trace the impact of classical rhetoric on European and American education practices and, more generally, society.

Throughout this book Kennedy skillfully interweaves the relationships of successive classical Western rhetorics within an overarching framework that moves toward the present. In his description of the Sophistic rhetorical tradition, for example, Kennedy does not merely retrace the chronological progression of ideas from Gorgias to Isocrates, end the discussion of the Sophists, and begin a new chapter to discuss philosophical rhetoric. Instead, throughout the chapter, he describes how the influence of Sophistic rhetoric weaves through the Greek and Roman rhetorical practices through the era of the Second Sophistic; a thread of rhetorical tradition more than six centuries long. The following chapter then returns to the time of Isocrates and addresses the philosophical rhetoric of Isocrates' contemporaries. Throughout the book, Kennedy uses this technique to provide the reader with an appreciation of how and why rhetoric has changed over the past few millennia, yet continues to be affected by rhetorical practices of the past.

Mark Metcalf

 

Hinojosa Beginnings of Rhetorical Theory in Classical Greece

The Beginnings of Rhetorical Theory in Classical Greece. Edward Schiappa. New Haven: Yale UP, 1999. 230 pp. $30.00. ISBN: 0-300-07590-1

In his new book, Edward Schiappa’s goal is to critique traditional assumptions of how rhetorical theory developed in ancient Greece. Drawing most notably on George Kennedy’s influential Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times (1980 edition), Schiappa systematically develops a cogent case for rejecting such older accounts of the origins of rhetoric in ancient Greece. Much of Schiappa’s scholarship over the past decade has argued that rhetoric as a discipline—complete with its own vocabulary and set of rules—formed in the fourth century, not earlier as established by Kennedy and others. The Beginnings of Rhetorical Theory in Classical Greece continues his work and his conversations with other scholars in the field. Schiappa aims to overthrow the dominant reading of rhetoric as presented by Kennedy in favor of a more accurate understanding of the origins of rhetoric in ancient Greece. After a brief summary, I ask two questions: 1) does Schiappa achieve his stated purpose and 2), what are the implications of Schiappa’s study?

Readers do not need to be classicists to follow Schiappa’s arguments. Indeed, readers do not even need to be familiar with the classical texts he references; although, having studied them previously or alongside of the book only enhances understanding of his argument. Schiappa does find it important at times to quote passages in Greek, but he provides English translations (mostly from noted scholars, but he also translates a word or phrases himself) immediately after to help those unfamiliar with the ancient language.

The eleven chapters of this book are grouped in three sections: "Reconstructing the Origins of Rhetorical Theory," "Gorgias and the Disciplining of Discourse: Three Studies," and "Fourth-Century Disciplinary Efforts: Three Studies." In the initial five chapters, Schiappa identifies and refutes seventeen major claims about the beginning of rhetorical theory in the classical age. For example, claim number one is "The Art of Rhetoric originates with Corax of Sicily around 467 B.C.E." (5). Schiappa presents evidence that repudiates this notion. Schiappa argues that an art of rhetoric was not in practice at the time Corax is believed to have lived. Drawing on other scholarship, Schiappa further believes that Corax itself is an invented name and that a person bearing that name may never have existed. By dismissing the field’s most prominent origin story, Schiappa forces readers to look elsewhere for a beginning of rhetoric. Schiappa constantly supports his claims with copious references and thorough explanations, strategies that serve him well in refuting the remaining 16 claims in the rest of section one.

Complementary to his refutation of the 17 claims advanced by traditional histories of rhetorical origins, is Schiappa’s extended discussion in chapter two of the beginnings of the word rhetorike and the significance this bears on his project. He claims that "the word does not enter widespread usage among writers we traditionally associate with the history of rhetorical theory until the early decades of the fourth century B.C.E." (14). As a result of this line of inquiry, Schiappa calls for historians to reevaluate their use of vocabulary to describe discourse habits of fifth- and early fourth-century writers.

The three chapters of section two focus on Gorgias, the late fifth-century Sophistic writer. In this section, Schiappa focuses on three main points: 1) reevaluating Gorgias and his use of style, 2) situating the Encomium of Helen as a text that predates the formation of rhetoric as a discipline, and 3) examining various interpretations of Gorgias’s On Not Being. In this analysis, Schiappa reads Gorgias as someone writing before the formation of a rule-governed discipline of Rhetoric: "Accordingly, a predisciplinary description attempts to avoid the vocabulary and assumptions about discourse theories and rhetorical practice imported from the fourth century when analyzing fifth-century texts" (115).

The final three chapters comprise the final section of the book. In chapter nine, Schiappa continues to build his case for an early fourth-century beginning of rhetoric as a discipline by carefully examining the extant fifth-century usage of two keys words: rhetoreia ("oratory") and rhetoreuein ("to orate"). In chapter ten, Schiappa examines the ongoing discussion between Philosophy and Rhetoric as represented through the writing of Isocrates. Schiappa believes that the "task for historians as well as contemporary theorists is not simply to switch our pledges of allegiance from Philosophy to Rhetoric or from Plato to the Sophists, but to call into question the assumption that the choice must be either one or the other" (184). In the final chapter, co-written with David M. Timmerman, Schiappa argues that "Aristotle’s description of epideictic rhetoric is highly original and, in fact, redescribes and reconfigures a set of previously disparate rhetorical practices—the speech of praise (enkonion), the festival oration (panegyrikos logos), and the Athenian funeral oration (epitaphios logos)—into one large category of ‘epideictic’ that was largely untheorized prior to Aristotle’s Rhetoric" (185).

From the outset, Schiappa contends that his book is "intended to contribute to a scholarly conversation about the origins of rhetorical theory that is taking place in four disciplines: classics, philosophy, communication studies, and English" (vii). He certainly accomplishes his purpose. However, at times, readers may get the impression that Schiappa is participating in a very limited circle of conversation between well-known historians such as John Poulakos, whom Schiappa often appears in debate with, not only in this book but also in previous scholarship. So, rather than opening up new ground, Schiappa appears to retread old ground, returning to claims he first published ten years ago. Schiappa continues to challenge the foundation of our history concerning the beginnings of rhetoric in ancient Greece. Also, by reiterating quite often what he calls his "origins-of-rhetorike thesis," he risks overshadowing other important claims he makes about Gorgias, Isocrates, and Aristotle.

Schiappa’s work, though carefully researched, raises a number of questions; chief among them is what implication does his argument have for the study of rhetoric today? The implications are huge. If we accept Schiappa’s version of events, then we cannot simultaneously accept Kennedy’s presentation of history. Historians and rhetoricians then have a dilemma: remain faithful to the traditional notion of the origins of rhetoric, which constitutes the majority of published material, or began anew with work like Schiappa’s. After reading Schiappa’s arguments, it becomes difficult to read any material that discusses the traditional history of rhetoric as proposed by Kennedy. Schiappa is very persuasive in rewriting the history of classical rhetoric, and I believe his arguments will soon be accepted as not just an alternate vision of history, but as a more accurate version of our history.

Schiappa’s book is required reading whether you are a budding classicist or an accomplished scholar in the field. Whether you agree or disagree with his arguments, this book is sure to enhance your understanding of Sophistic texts of the fifth century and the disciplining of rhetoric in the fourth century.

Matt Hinojosa

absences

Broussard Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho

(Re)Covering Sappho: Jane Snyder 'Mainstreams' Sapphic Poetry in Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho

When a musician 'covers'(see footnote 1) a song, it may be received in a variety of ways. Ideally, that audience will receive the song warmly because of their respect for the original artist, their fascination with the new song, or fall in love with the new version of the song that the artist's cover creates. The covering artist offers a new song with a new background, and translates the lyrics into a new 'language.' If someone had never heard the original song, s/he hears the 'original' story told from another person's perspective. In this scenario, the listener is unaware of the original context of the song, the original singer, and thus, the original 'voice,' unless the new artist recreates the song with a valuable purpose in mind of retelling (or, re-framing) the original story. Whatever the case, much like lore, the song is passed down, added to, subtracted from, and, for better or for worse, always changes.

Translations of ancient texts are received with similar enthusiasm (or, disgust). Like 'covers,' translations are judged by the translator's devotion to the original text, attention to detail, and the new images which they may evoke. Personally, because I cannot read and translate classical Greek, I consider the possibilities presented by each translation. However, I also appreciate analysis (proof of attention to detail and dedication to the original text) lest I fall for the deception and hidden agendas of modern translators. Translations of one extant poem ("Hymn to Aphrodite") and the various fragments of Sappho, a 7th century Lesbian poet, present a special case in which translators are left to fill in the many gaps left by the damaged or missing pieces of Sappho's poetry. As someone that does not read Greek, I hesitate to trust these translators even more, because they have free reign to 'put' words into Sappho's mouth and fuel the discussions about her poetry. Apart from the translators of Sappho (Snyder specifically names Catullus, Denys Page, Ulrich Wilamowitz-Moellendorff) that pay little or no attention to the 'original' song, Snyder simultaneously pays homage to Sappho (as poet) and considers new possibilities of re-reading her poetry in her context. In Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho, her (re)cover of Sappho, Snyder puts a positive spin on the centuries-long discussions of Sappho and homoeroticism.

In Lesbian Desire in the Lyrics of Sappho (1997), Jane M. Snyder gives us much more than another translation of Sappho's poetry. She discusses who Sappho might have been, but rather than try to pander her own beliefs and opinions about Sappho (and indirectly, homoeroticism, feminism, and gay/lesbian culture) as indisputable fact, she offers a detailed reading of Sappho's fragments and frames discussions of these issues within a discussion of her poetry. She offers a comprehensive alternative to previous translations and discussions of Sappho's poetry which seem to alienate the non-Feminist/Lesbian-Gay Studies audience. In fact, Snyder (re)covers Sappho's poetry and presents a new, more mainstreamed version of her 'body' of poetry that is accessible to a wide audience . . . using her experience as philologist and feminist scholar to bring new life to Sappho's original work.

Snyder establishes her reasons for this new translation of Sappho by doing some educated guesswork as to the survival rate of Sappho's poetry according to various ancient sources that claim she once had her poetry collected into nine books (4). She then leads the reader to imagine her reconstruction of Sappho's poetics in light of the fact that hard facts about her life and writings are few in number (of these nine books, only one poem survives intact). Attempting to make Sappho's poetry "closer to the contemporary reader" (25) she appeals to Sappho's traditional audience of feminists, Greek classicists and Gay and Lesbian Studies scholars, as well as a new audience of women, and men of "sympathetic imagination" (12). Her opening chapter, "Sappho and Aphrodite," opens up with a discussion about Sappho's only surviving poem, and she extends it into a wonderful discussion of Sappho's poetics, focusing on the fact that it is "woman-centered" and that it offers a great counter to contemporary Homeric poetic ethos (7-8). She also includes a transliteration from Greek to the Roman alphabet alongside the poem, (for those who want to sound out the "original words") her own literal translation, and two appendices (pp. 161-218) with the original Greek text for consultation (5). Finally, all of her discussions center around Eros, or "desire" (9) present in Sappho's poetry, with a special consideration of Sappho's beautiful lyric style, which attracts both male/female and homo/heterosexual audiences interested in classical poetics.

Though Snyder focuses on involving a multifarious audience, she does not seem to compromise the integrity of Sappho's text or neglect to employ her own faculties (as a philologist or as a feminist scholar). She presents Sappho's poetry as written from a female's perspective, and more importantly, composed about a female's world. Sappho does includes men in her poetry, as Snyder details in chapters one ("Sappho and Aphrodite")(see footnote *2) and two, ("The Construction of Desire")(see footnote *3) but they are most often employed as "rhetorical clichés" (34). Men, in these poems, stand on the periphery, and certainly are not the subjects of female desire, but are a part of a "triangulation of desire" (31) in which the male is not the most important referent. Snyder uses this discussion to show that Sappho attempted to subvert the masculinist frames of reference.

Snyder uses her training as a philologist in the later chapters (specifically Chapter Five, "The Aesthetics of Sapphic Eros," pp. 79-98) to discuss how Sappho's poetry can stand alone, though her poems are, for the most part, fragmentary. Snyder claims that the inclusion of key words such as charis, (referring to a 'state of grace') habrosune (referring to 'lushness'), and poikilia (referring to 'variegation') are used to describe Sappho's aesthetics of eros [or, what leads Sappho to ask for Aphrodite to intercede for her (to the deity Eros)]. Recognition of these qualities, Snyder argues, is of utmost importance because Sappho prefers them over Homeric, objectified beauty standards such as "evenness, symmetry, and form" (93). As a dedicated feminist, Snyder seems intent on addressing masculinist claims and unraveling the negative claims made about women (and specifically, Lesbians) through interpretations of Sappho's poetry. Most importantly, she discards the disparaging remarks of those who would label Sappho's world full of "hedonis(tic) . . . luxurious temptations and frivolous indulgences" (95). She describes Sappho's poetic world as one of "lush space rich with unfolding erotic possibilities" (95) and she replaces images of "girlish pleasures" (a la Denys Page, from his Sappho and Alcaeus, 1955) with powerful female erotic images. Snyder's greatest achievement is that her book can easily persuade all novices and scholars because of her painstaking attention to detail and her user-friendly approach to classical scholarship.

Snyder's translations and analyses bring honor to Sappho's name, and present her work to a much wider potential audience. She also creates positive discourse about homoeroticism and lesbianism while dispatching claims that many of the hegemonic and perjorative translators of the past had implied. Snyder depicts Sappho in a manner as such that if she were to magically reappear today and see this version of herself, (Imagine this 'New and Improved' Sappho . . . with her electric guitar, in the line up at 'Lilith Fair' with Ani DiFranco and Sarah MacLachlan) she would be able to recognize that this book not only covers her as a subject, but (re)covers the heart and power of her original text.

 

*1) The act of re-recording a song that has been previously released by a different artist. This practice is very popular in contemporary blues music. Songs such as 'Hoochie Coochie Man,' 'Mannish Boy,' and 'Hey Hey,' have been reprised by Jimi Hendrix, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and though their versions may be the most popular, they are not the original artists. These covers seem to establish an ethos with the 'hard-core' blues audience as well as allow the 'covering' artist to show off his own style and/or virtuosity.

*2) Snyder's discussion here focuses on Sapphic vs. Homeric poetics and specifically how Sappho's description Aphrodite (invocation as trope) differs semantically from Homeric epics. Sappho depicts Aphrodite is a powerful goddess, whereas Homer's masculine objectivist descriptions emasculate her.

*3) In "The Construction of Desire," Snyder discusses Sappho's fragment "The Wedding Song," and asserts the presence of homoerotic desire between the female observer and the bride, and discusses the diminishing importance of the bridegroom to the explication of the poem. In doing so, she dispatches claims of "presumptive heterosexuality" made during Sapphic translations of the Victorian age.

William James Broussard

 

Bueche Living Without Philosophy

Living without Philosophy: On Narrative, Rhetoric, and Morality by Peter Levine. State University of New York Press, 1998. 247 pp.

In Plato’s Protagoras the archetypal philosopher, Socrates, challenges his foil, Protagoras, to a battle of the wits. According to Peter Levine, author of Living without Philosophy, two significant questions emerge from the debate: "First, is there a techne [method] that can help us to make ethical decisions securely, universally, and with rigor? And second, who possesses the better technique for overcoming luck [unpredictability], Socrates or Protagoras?" (90). Levine suggests that when it comes to ethical decision-making, ethicists either follow in the footsteps of Socrates—the philosopher—or Protagoras—the humanist. On the one hand, Socrates argues that there is a method for making objective moral decisions: dialectic. On the other hand, Protagorous argues that the only appropriate method for making ethical decisions is the art of story-telling. Levine’s book attempts to finalize the debate. Not only does Levine support a humanistic approach to ethical decision-making, he is so bold to write that philosophy is not helpful "either as a source of practical guidance or as a component of moral education" (57). By arguing that the humanities teach us how to describe and interpret our lives in value-laden ways, Levine suggests that only narration, not philosophy, can train us in the "art of behaving well" (141). Levine’s curt dismissal of philosophy should raise some eyebrows. After all, the debate between philosophers is a story in itself. However, Levine’s determination to use the rhetorical devices of narration and thick description to make his point (on principle, he avoids making general arguments) reveals exciting possibilities for scholarship. This sometimes impetuous but insightful text validates our stories and experiences by suggesting that they have an important role in the making of knowledge—a validation that philosophical debate rarely makes.

The main thrust of Levine’s book calls for the incorporation of ethical decision-making into the realm of the humanities rather than the realm of philosophy. In the first part of his book, "The Abstract Argument," Levine lays out his reasons for taking such action. He begins by questioning how we make moral judgments about ethical dilemmas. By using an actual court case involving sexual harassment, Teresa Harris v. Forklift Systems, Inc., Levine guides his readers through several moral quandaries and attempts to find the best approach to each dilemma. He quickly rules out abstract reasoning as a method of making difficult moral decisions. Abstract reasoning, he writes, can not help us judge sexual harassment cases because we will never be able to pin point exactly what sexual harassment is—it can have many interpretations. In addition, the use of abstract theories will not help Teresa Harris win her case because she needs to appeal specifically to her audience, the jury. If sexual harassment had a simple unchanging definition, Harris could use it. However, because sexual harassment is different for each person, Harris needs to persuade the jury that her employer made illegal and immoral advances. She, thus, needs well-developed rhetorical skills to make her argument. For their part, the jury needs sharp interpretive skills to judge her experience. Where can we learn the skills of rhetoric and interpretation? Levine argues that we learn these skills in the humanities. Although philosophy can teach us to reason to abstract principles, they can never teach us how to make judgments about concrete situations like the humanities can.

In chapter two, "Agreement," Levine argues that moral philosophy hinders ethical decision-making even further because it limits democratic debate. He writes that "as long as people choose to argue about particular cases, they can deliberate, offering new descriptions, drawing attention to new details, invoking new analogies, and so on. But when people invoke clashing abstract principles, their discussion often ends fruitlessly" (7). For example, in terms of the abortion debate, if one person believes that a fetus is a person and the other believes that the fetus does not have personhood, then they will never reach and agreement because the concept "personhood" can never be subject to verification. A humanist, on the other hand, would attend to the particular situation of those involved in the dilemma. Individual cases would be judged according to their circumstances (66). According to Levine, the humanities avoid political stalemate by attending to particular cases. As long as "participants agree to discuss particular cases in their immediate contexts, using "thick" terms to describe them," moral consensus has a greater chance of occurring (66). Thus, for Levine, the humanities encourage democratic debate whereas moral philosophy—by appealing to unverifiable ideals—hinders it. Although Levine lays out the perennial debate between humanists and philosophers in chapters 1 and 2, he spends the majority of his book reading literature as an argument against moral theory. In the remainder of his book, chapters 3 through 7, Levine examines fictional and real narratives to demonstrate once and for all how "concrete descriptions, weighed by a deliberating public, are all that we need to form moral judgments" (79). He touches upon a wide range of literary works including Plato’s Protagorous, Nabokov’s Lolita, Shakepeare’s King Lear, Erasmus’s "Praise of Folly" and the speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. to show how reading these works are ethical exercises. "Doing the right thing," he writes, "is often not a question of knowing what is right in general, but of possessing techniques or skills, such as the interpretive skill that fiction teaches us" (141). His book, then, does not appeal to abstract ethical principles like Kant’s Categorical Imperative to make its case. Rather, by drawing upon the concrete examples of literature, his book shows how we can make ethical decisions by appealing to the humanities, not philosophy.

Where Levine falls short, I think, is in his unrelenting stance against philosophy. What would he do with a story that shows how abstract philosophy can solve difficult ethical dilemmas? Plato’s dialogues, for example, are considered literature, yet they appeal to abstract principles that lay beyond earthly conundrums. If we read Plato for ethical insight, then are we drawing upon philosophical or humanistic methodologies? In Plato’s dialogues the line between philosophy and humanism seems fuzzier than Levine admits. In addition, some humanists (rhetoricians, for example) would argue that philosophy itself is a story (a language game), and can be used to solve ethical dilemmas. Levine himself had to understand philosophical debate to make his point against philosophy. He borrows the tools of the philosopher to argue that the humanities are superior—a general claim that reeks of philosophical intent. Levine recognizes his dilemma, and, therefore, moves into literary analysis so as to avoid becoming trapped in a philosophical debate that has no end.

Even though he escapes to the world of stories, Levine approaches the humanities through a philosophical lens. He could have written a work of fiction to make his point, yet he chose to enter the conversation through abstract argument. At the same time, it can be argued that philosophical debate is the story Levine chose to enter, even though he does not present his book as a story. In his rush to denounce the story of philosophy, Levine became a part of it. The question remains: are we better off for his struggles? As a practicing humanist, I would answer yes.

Despite Levine’s narrow conception of philosophy, he does present an alternative way of making knowledge. Because he refers his audience to stories as a way of creating meaning, he suggests that traditional methods of argumentation need not be the only way of presenting new knowledge. At a time when scholars are embracing methods such as ethnography, Levine’s book adds fuel to the fire. Therefore, we can turn to his book to gain insight into new ways of presenting our arguments. On the other hand, we should be warned that for Levine, story telling is an unproblematic exercise that leads to the formation of the ethical individual. Not once does Levine raise questions about who tells the stories or who listens. His version of the humanities is almost as narrow as his vision of philosophy. For this reason, I would not recommend embracing Levine’s method’s whole-heartedly. Ultimately, his attempt to finalize the debate between Socrates and Protagoras fails, but I think we are better for his effort.

Donna Bueché

 

Day After Virtue

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory by Alasdair MacIntyre. London: Gerald Duckworth and Co. Ltd., 1981. 252 + ix pp.

In After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Alasdair MacIntyre tries to rebuild society’s understanding of virtue. In his first chapter, "A Disquieting Suggestion," MacIntyre claims that with time society has apostatized from an understanding of virtue and morality and now—because true morality cannot be comprehended—when society tries to discuss morality we are simply using empty words and the few "fragments" that we still possess. MacIntyre says that we presently inhabit a world where the language of morality is a "grave disorder" and although we "continue to use many of the key expressions. . . . we have—very largely, if not entirely—lost our comprehension, both theoretical and practical, of morality" (2). Although MacIntyre recognizes that this disorder has happened with time, he feels that the most dramatic decline in our understanding of virtue was during the rise of modernity. Modernity opposes the Aristotelian tradition preferred by MacIntyre and it problematizes morality because it separates the virtuous subject from its social and cultural context, and stresses the individual’s needs over those of the community.

MacIntyre’s arguments about and definition of virtue continually return to the two main theses of his book: virtue cannot be understood outside of a narrative and virtue cannot exist without a social context. I feel that these two issues lead to the most interesting ideas in the book: those dealing with identity. MacIntyre spends much of his time discussing the idea that a subject is the sum of her actions. MacIntyre then discusses the situation in which a subject should do a particular action and how that action is perceived by the subject and by others. As this discussion deals with the social context of the subject and the action, MacIntyre consequently touches on how the subject’s actions are tied to the actions taking place before and after them. Because of this focus, After Virtue is an important work for not only those who are interested in moral philosophy but also, anyone interested in identity, narrative, perception, historical memory, or folklore. It is from this point of view that I am considering MacIntyre’s work.

Before I discuss the main points of interest in After Virtue, I will briefly provide an overview of MacIntyre’s structure including the general movement of his argument. In the first three chapters MacIntyre discusses virtue as lost and misunderstood but acknowledges that we need to find a rational way to secure moral agreements that will include social context. After he established the present state of virtue he traces the history that led to the decline of virtue. This section is particularly interesting from the historical aspect alone: here MacIntyre links the Enlightenment to modernity, discredits the ideas of the autonomous individual, and discusses the consequences of the failure of the Enlightenment and modernity on morality. After MacIntyre has presented a logical outline of historical events, he then takes us through a discussion of Aristotelian virtue, the nature of virtue, and how Nietzsche is wrong when it comes to virtue. It is in the last section of his book that MacIntyre’s ideas about virtue, action, narrative, and context come together: prior to this section he establishes these ideas independent of each other but in this last section he effectively shows how they are interrelated and inseparable. Traditions, roles, characters, social context, narratives, myths, virtue, and morality are nearly indistinguishable by the end of the book. This collapse of terms acts an effective although somewhat overwhelming conclusion.

In this last section MacIntyre brings up two important issues that should be highlighted: narratives and social context. MacIntyre presents these two issues as gravely important to understanding and accomplishing virtue. He views both as truth finding mechanisms and as major characteristics of a classical society. MacIntyre presents narratives and social context as a type of meta-language that if left without society would have no tool for making or understanding truth. He explains that in a classical society moral education is taught as stories are told and social roles are prescribed. It is also through narratives and our social roles that we are able to understand our own lives. To emphasize the encompassing nature of narrative, MacIntyre quotes Barbara Hardy as saying "we dream in narrative, daydream in narrative, remember, anticipate, hope, despair, believe, doubt, plan, revise, criticise, construct, gossip, learn, hate and love by narrative" (197). Nothing takes place outside of the narrative structure and if it did, we wouldn’t comprehend it. And regarding social context, MacIntyre states that "man without culture is a myth. . . . a creature of whom we know nothing. . . . whom we actively meet in history" (150-51).

MacIntyre helps his readers realize the extreme complexities that arise when studying virtue and morality. He offers insight into many different fields and areas of interest. I agree with his approach to his project and have no criticism of MacIntyre but rather two suggestions. First, I do not agree with MacIntyre that the individual and the collective have to be so entirely entwined. In one example, MacIntyre shows how the Aristotelian, Christian, heroic, and Medieval societies, as well as the ideas of Jane Austin and Benjamin Franklin are all strongly linked to classical ideals. I’m not arguing that there isn’t legitimate common ground here, but rather I feel that if MacIntyre is able to reconcile differences to find a common ground among this group of people and interests, that somewhere there should be a virtuous common ground that would allow for individual interests/expression and still remain true to the collective morality. My second suggestion would be to find a legitimate application. The ideas that MacIntyre is discussing are abstract and at times—such as when the issues of social context and identity are complicated by virtue—the discussion feels like it becomes even more of an abstraction. Elite virtues are as harming to society as the autonomous individual. I think that it is extremely important to understand the concept of virtue and morality in a way that these ideals intersect with real life.

Stacy Day

forgotten arts

McKenzie The Birth of Tragedy

For copies of McKenzie’s paper please email him at charlesm@email.arizona.edu

He will put hard copies in your box.

Kinney Rhetorics and Poetics in Antiquity

Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity by Jeffrey Walker. Oxford UP, 2000. xii; 396pp.

Over the last decade or so, numerous historians of rhetoric have attempted to remap the terrain of rhetoric, especially that of classical rhetoric. These revisionist projects have taken many forms, from revaluing neglected rhetoricians (for example, Susan Jarratt and John Poulakos with the sophists) to recovering the rhetorical traditions of women and people of color (for example, Cheryl Glenn with Aspasia of Miletus and Diotima of Mantinea) to reconceiving the writing of history (for example, Victor Vitanza with his critical subversions of our historiographic assumptions) to rethinking the discipline of rhetoric (for example, John Bender and David E. Wellbery with their notion of rhetoricality). Whether or not these projects have been successful is still a matter of some contention, especially within the field of classical rhetoric, where the historical record is rather sporadic and somewhat sparse. Nevertheless, historians of rhetoric continue to construct revisionist accounts, the latest of which is Jeffrey Walker's Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity.

To be fair, Walker offers much more than a simple revisionist account. Indeed, Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity constructs an historical narrative that is able to stand on its own merits. Beginning with Hesiod in the eighth century BCE, parts I and II trace the history of classical rhetoric from the development of the epideictic domain in the eighth to fifth centuries BCE (the archaic Greek lyric) to the emergence of "rhetoric" and "poetics" in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE (the pre-Socratics, the historians, and the sophists) through the codification of the disciplinary practice called rhetoric (Plato, Aristotle) to the subsequent evolution of that discipline in the Hellenistic and Roman periods (Cicero, Quintilian, the Second Sophistic). And even though these two parts comprise less than a third of the book, they contain as much historical information as can be found in other, more traditional histories, such as those by George Kennedy, Renato Barilli, or Thomas M. Conley.

Walker finds fault with traditional histories because they privilege practical and civic manifestations of rhetoric over epideictic, literary, and poetic manifestations. "[W]hat came to be called rhetoric," he argues, "was neither originally nor essentially an art of practical civic oratory--rather, [. . .] it originated from an expansion of the poetic/epideictic domain" (ix). As such, he locates the originary traces of rhetoric neither in Plato's Gorgias, where the term is coined, nor in fifth- to fourth-century BCE Greece, where rhetoric is said to have emerged as Athenian democracy flourished. Rather, he claims that rhetoric arose out of the poetic tradition (primarily the archaic Greek lyric) as an art of what he calls "epideictic persuasion" (viii). Walker also faults traditional histories because they assume that rhetoric rises with the success of democratic institutions and declines with their failure. While traditional histories posit the "decline of rhetoric" during the Hellenistic or Roman periods, he maintains that rhetoric survived in the epideictic sense. Therefore, in Walker's history of classical rhetoric, poetry, or poetics, far from being secondary, emerge "as essential, central parts of 'rhetoric's' domain" (ix).

Throughout the book, Walker is also at pains to revalue the epideictic, literary, and poetic domains. To him, they are not the inferior manifestations of a practical rhetoric. In order to begin this revaluation, part III (the longest part of the book, some 138 pages) proposes the notion of "rhetorical poetics," which he locates in the archaic Greek lyric. According to Walker, the lyric is a "pretheoretical" discursive practice, one which not only (as I stated above) precedes the emergence of "rhetoric" and "poetics" as a discrete domain, but also stands as a synecdoche for poetic discourse in general. Walker demonstrates these claims by engaging in a series of close readings of Greek archaic lyric. Beginning with "the fundamentally rhetorical understanding of poetry reflected in Theognis's gnomic verse," he constructs a theory of the lyric as enthymematic argument from the poetry of Pindar, Alcaeus, Sappho, and Solon (x). It is in these readings, so meticulous, so refined, that Walker's true brilliance shows. As a conflation of practical rhetoric and poetic discourse, that is, his rhetorical poetics challenges the neo-Aristotelian foundation of traditional histories of classical rhetoric.

Part IV, the final part, continues where part II left off, with the "decline of rhetoric" in the Roman period. Here, Walker demonstrates how the grammatical tradition of late antiquity (and a reinterpretation of Aristotle, what he calls the double vision of Aristotle's Poetics) leads to the subordination of rhetoric (and rhetorical poetics) to grammar and logic in the Middle Ages. In closing, he sketches the medieval to Renaissance grammaticalization of rhetoric and poetics in St. Augustine's De Doctrina Christiana and Sir Philip Sidney's Defense of Poetry, a grammaticalization that has perpetuated the separation between rhetoric and poetics to this day.

The book ends thus, right at the point where I would like Walker to address current issues about the history of rhetoric and rhetoric's place within the university (he does so only in the very last paragraph). That is, I am curious whether or not he believes that grammaticalization has turned "rhetoric" and "poetics" into repressive systems of thought that ought to be reconceived. It seems as though the split between "rhetoric" and "poetics" has simply been reinscribed by a persistent "grammatical" interpretation of the Aristotelian canon. These issues, I would think, have significant implications not only for the study of rhetoric, poetics, and cultures, but also for the traditional organization of the English department. These are issues I would like Walker to address.

Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity, as Walker readily admits, is not "a refutation or deconstruction of the conventional tale" (18). Rather, he will "be tracing an alternative tale that arguably is just more true. Of course, it will not be wholly unlike the conventional one" (18). As such, though the book is revisionist, it feels thoroughly traditional. For example, not once does he ask why "the conventional tale" interprets classical rhetoric in such a way and what the ideological implications of such an interpretation are. Granted, interrogating the ideological assumptions of contemporary historians of rhetoric is not necessarily essential to Walker's purpose. Indeed, as a whole, the book serves its purpose well. But I would like to have read about Walker's interrogation of the ideological assumptions of contemporary historians of rhetoric and their histories. I think such an interrogation would begin a productive dialogue for those who study the history of rhetoric. Regardless, anyone interested in the classics or the history of rhetoric should read Rhetoric and Poetics in Antiquity.

Thomas J. Kinney

 

Moeller Art and Wisdom: Plato’s Understanding of Techne

        Roochnik, David. Of Art and Wisdom: Plato’s Understanding of Techne. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State UP, 1996: $45.95/$24.95 paper.

In his Preface, Roochnik suggests that Western culture has developed its intellectual and monetary investment in "technology," "the technical," and "the high tech" in response to a misinterpretation of Plato’s preoccupation with techne. Classically speaking, Plato’s use of techne as a "skill, art, craft, expertise, profession, science, knowledge, [or] technical knowledge" has been used to argue against the study of rhetoric in favor of a higher calling to investigate the moral status of the human soul or psyche (xi). Admittedly, Of Art and Wisdom has little to do with contemporary technological implications of Plato’s use of techne, except by extension. Rather, Roochnik takes on this complex and interesting study of the historical meanings of techne in order to argue that Plato was never really suggesting that a technical expert on morality would or could exist. Instead, he uses techne to support the pursuit of a non-technical expertise of morality (philosophy) which is much more valuable than mere technical experience in practical matters.

The Introduction sets this study in opposition to the standard account of techne (SAT) proposed by most Plato scholars. The SAT holds that "in early dialogues Socrates’ use of the techne analogy represents Plato’s assertion of a serious theoretical model of moral knowledge [that treats] virtue as an expertise (science, art craft) like any other expertise" (4). Roochnik argues that a contextualized study of the meanings of techne both prior to and within Plato’s use of the term will enrich our understanding of the complexities of Plato’s suggestions for techne.

When Plato began questioning moral knowledge, he "entered into an ongoing conversation" (18). Roochnik (re)presents that conversation by tracing the use of techne through Homer, Solon, Aeschylus, accounts from Hippocratic and rhetorical (handbook) writings, and Sophocles in Chapter 1. Roochnik’s study arrives at two complex definitions of techne which he allows to coexist and complicate each other throughout the text:

                        Techne1 – an expertise related to a determinate subject matter, aiming to effect useful, practical results through its practice or study. Its component parts can be analyzed separately or as a whole, and such an analysis will not affect the understanding of the whole. The expertise achieves a level of precision akin to mathematics or orthography (the study of the alphabet), demonstrates complete mastery of the subject matter, and is mechanically teachable (70).

                        Techne2 – an expertise of a determinate but not rigidly determinate subject matter, knowledge of which effects a useful result. It is reliable, but relies on "rules of thumb" rather than strict and inflexible rules. It is precise, but not at the level of mathematics. Its function is enough to determine its status as a techne, even if it does not meet its ends (medicine may not save the patient – the logical end of medicine – but its practice is still recognized as medicine – its function). It is certifiable and recognizable by the community, but reasonably so. It utilizes ordinary rather than technical language, and is, relatively speaking, teachable (52).

Rhetoric enters the discussion as Plato’s main point of contention with the sophists, who he sees as supporting the notion of rhetoric as a techne1. An understanding of the differences between Plato’s view of rhetoric as either techne1 or techne2 and philosophy as non-technical knowledge will, explains Roochnik, clarify Plato’s suggestions of such a knowledge.

In Chapter 2, Roochnik examines the techne analogy as it is deployed by Socrates in the early dialogues, namely the Laches, Charmides, Euthyphro, Republic (book 1), and Euthydemus. Roochnik argues that Plato has Socrates use techne as a point of dialectical and dramatic questioning of rhetoric and philosophy that points to, but does not endorse, a non-technical expertise in moral knowledge. Such a reduction of rhetoric, politics, virtues, and morality to a techne1 allows Socrates the room to argue for a higher type of critical awareness, philosophy.

Chapter 3 problematizes this relationship by presenting two Socratic interlocutors who refuse to engage Socractes’ techne analogy. Callicles and Protagoras refuse to limit techne (or rhetoric for that matter) in ways convenient to Socrates’ techne analogy, and Socrates is left talking to himself in each case. By reading the Gorgias and the Protagoras with the understanding that Plato sees rhetoric as a techne1, even though it was not argued to be by Gorgias, Isocrates, and others, Roochnik opens up similarities and differences between the rhetoric that Plato resists and the philosophy he professes.

In conclusion, Roochnik argues that Socrates is frustrated by the lack of self-reflexivity and critical awareness of the moral good in either techne1 or techne2. By declaring himself as neither a technite nor the holder of any knowledge whatsoever, Socrates is not limited to hard and fast rules that Plato associates with technical knowledge and expertise. Roochnik confuses this conclusion, however, by taking Socrates’ lone assertion that he does possess knowledge of erotic things (ta erotica) at face value, where he questions Socrates’ multiple statements of the possibility of a moral technician. What is left is a fairly vacuous definition of knowledge that relies on circularity and morally upward momentum (Socrates does not know the good, but knows that it is good to seek the good and to call upon others to do the same) and rejects the study of rhetoric for its ultimately practical ends. Roochnik leaves his readers asking is it better to search for a techne of moral knowledge (as the SAT would suggest) or to engage in an continuous, performative dialectic that relies on the realization that we will never achieve that which we work to achieve?

Ultimately, for the study of rhetoric, Roochnik provides a rich discussion of the classical notions of techne. He does conclude that rhetoric is not an art but a techne2, a definition based upon his reading of Isocrates’ political and practice-based approach to teaching rhetoric (Appendix 4). The possibility that Plato’s objections to rhetoric as a legitimate and valuable subject of study were based upon the unfair categorization of rhetoric as merely technical knowledge is only mildly soothing. In the end, the Socratic method is seen as morally uplifting and ultimately guided by its dialectic approaches to its own foundations, while rhetoric is seen as a relatively practical, "realistic" techne aimed away from rules, definitions, and universals in favor of rules of thumb, examples and particulars (250). And somehow, Roochnik makes this sound less than desirable

Ryan Moeller

Traditionalizing

Wang Rhetoric in Ancient China, Fifth to Third Century B.C.E.: A Comparison with Classical Greek Rhetoric

Rhetoric in Ancient China, Fifth to Third Century B.C.E.: A Comparison with Classical Greek Rhetoric. By Xing Lu. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1998, 350 pp

Rhetoric in Ancient China, Fifth to Third Century B.C.E. is a comparative study of classical Chinese and Greek rhetoric. The purposes of this book, as stated by the author, are to "reveal an implicit Chinese rhetorical tradition, to compare classical Chinese ming bian with classical Greek rhetoric formulated during the same time period, and to shed light on the scope and function of rhetoric cross-culturally." (288) One distinctive feature of the book is that, instead of taking a Western analytical approach, Lu applies a rather practical methodology to the discussion of the works of ancient Chinese rhetoric by embedding her analysis in the context of ancient China. This methodology allows the reader to understand more accurately the Chinese rhetorical tradition. Another noteworthy aspect of the book is Lu’s elaborate and insightful analysis of the classical Chinese rhetorical theories and practices during the Pre-Qin period (before 221 B.C.E.). By examining the original Chinese terminology, searching for rhetorical meaning in primary philosophical texts, Lu uncovers a rich and dynamic rhetorical tradition known as ming bian. Lu continues her analysis by comparing the theories of classical Chinese and Greek rhetoric. In addition, Lu includes full and clear notes and an extensive bibliography, which provide the reader with plentiful information for further study and research in this field.

Lu begins with a review and discussion of hermeneutical and multicultural principles that she uses as a guide in interpreting, translating and understanding the texts. In the first chapter she also examines and critiques the approaches adopted by some Western scholars in their research of Chinese language and culture. According to Lu, Orientalism, defined as a style of thought based upon an ontological and epistemological distinction made between ‘the Orient’ and ‘the Occident’ "has adversely affected Western perceptions of Chinese speech behavior, communication styles, and culture." (17) By so doing, Lu justifies her approach to this subject.

In Chapter 2, Lu reviews the cultural context and rhetorical practices in the Pre-Qin period in ancient China, which laid the background for philosophical and rhetorical conceptualizations and formulations. She examines ancient Chinese cultural values and types of communication viewed from Chinese mythology, divination, and ancestor worship in the Xia and Shang dynasties (approximately twenty-first century to eleventh century B.C.E.). She also identifies three general types of communication: poetry, speeches, and government decrees in the Zhou dynasty (approximately eleventh-eighth century B.C.E.). In particular, she introduces and examines the rhetorical practices during the Spring-Autumn and Warring States period (eighth-third century B.C.E.) which was "the golden age in Chinese history with regard to the production of literary and historical texts as well as the formulation of philosophical and rhetorical theories." (45)

In Chapter 3, "Chinese Terminology of Rhetoric", Lu identifies and examines six terms associated with the practice and theory of speech from selected Chinese texts. By discussing and investigating the 6 terms--yan (speech, language), ci (mode of speech), jian (advising), shui (persuasion), ming (naming), and bian (distinction, argumentation)-- Lu traces a dynamic and evolutionary process in the conceptualization of Chinese speech patterns and persuasive discourse, and identifies both similarities and differences in the experience and conceptualization of rhetoric between Chinese and Greek rhetorical traditions. Particularly interesting is her original association of the Chinese term ming bian with the Greek term rhetorike. Lu’s investigation of these Chinese terms is quite successful in providing linguistic and philological evidence to further her argument that the ancient Chinese practiced and conceptualized speech and persuasive discourse in their own unique way.

In Chapter 4, Lu introduces and analyzes the Chinese rhetorical features and persuasive styles in five selected historical and literary texts. By discussing the rhetorical expressions and devices employed in these texts, Lu attempts to trace the source of Chinese rhetoric. According to Lu, during the Pre-Qin period, rhetorical practices developed from mere expressions of feelings and thoughts in Shi Jing to a moral emphasis in Shang Shu, extended to moral and rational appeals in Zuo Zhuan and Guo Yu, and included the element of psychology in Zhan Guo Ce; the rhetorical focus also switched from speech itself in Shi Jing and Shang Shu, to the speaker in Zuo Zhuan and Guo Yu, and finally to the audience in Zhan Guo Ce. (125) Lu introduces the main characteristics of each text and tries to identifies various rhetorical strategies and techniques employed in these texts. However, her description of certain terms used in these texts is too abstract. For example, in her discussion of the texts of Shang Shu, Zuo Zhuan, and GuoYu, Lu does not provide any selections from the original text. This makes it difficult for the reader, especially the reader with no knowledge of Chinese culture, to understand the terms under discussion. It would have been helpful if the author had included the English version of some sample paragraphs from the original Chinese texts in her explanation. In spite of this minor weakness, Lu manages to follow the evolutionary process in the field of Chinese rhetorical thought and practices.

Chapters 5-9 constitute the bulk of the book and contain much that is essential to understanding of the formulation of Chinese rhetorical theories. Building upon her previous discussions, Lu describes and analyzes theories of speech formulated by individual Chinese philosophers from five major schools of thought that emerged during the Spring-Autumn and Warring States period, namely, Mingjia; Confucianism; Mohism; Daoism; and Legalism. Lu does a good job of introducing theories of these ancient Chinese philosophers while, at the same time, comparing them with the theories of ancient Greek philosophers. A unique element of this analysis is Lu’s attempt to synthesize the views on language and rhetoric of the five major schools and discovering their affinity with those of the ancient Greek philosophers. She is quite successful in her endeavor.

In Chapter 10, Lu summarizes Chinese rhetorical theory, compares that theory with classical Greek rhetoric and discusses the implications of Chinese patterns of communication for multicultural rhetoric. Moreover, she manages to convey to the reader her reflections upon this research, thus, providing the reader with deeper insights on this subject.

In Rhetoric in Ancient China, Fifth to Third Century B.C.E., Lu explores and investigates the field of ancient Chinese rhetoric by adopting a practical and feasible methodology. Her careful scrutiny and insightful analysis of the rhetorical theories and practices in the Pre-Qin period allows the reader to understand ancient Chinese rhetorical tradition and view it with new eyes. Aside from the minor weakness of being abstract at times, the methodology of analyzing the rhetorical theories by examining them in the historical and literary texts and comparing them with their Greek counterpart is laudable and makes this book a thought-provoking and fascinating work of scholarship. This book can also be studied as an example for tentative research in other non-Western cultures’ rhetorical traditions.

Bo Wang

 

Reynolds Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition From Antiquity through the Renaissance

Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition From Antiquity Through the Renaissance;

Cheryl Glenn. Southern Illinois University Press, 1997

Admittedly the task Cheryl Glenn has undertaken in her 1997 publication "Rhetoric Retold: Regendering the Tradition From Antiquity Through the Renaissance" is not an easy one. The reasons for its ambitious nature are perhaps best outlined by the epigraph to her study. In it, feminist scholar, Adrienne Rich, is quoted as saying that "The entire history of women’s struggle for self determination has been muffled in silence over and over...Each feminist work has tended to be received as if it emerged from nowhere; as if each of us had lived, thought, and worked without any historical past or contextual present ("Foreword," Lies).

The reason such feminist works, especially I would argue those trying to re-situtate or re-tell the lives of women in history, are received as if they have "emerged from nowhere" is not, unfortunately, too difficult to conceive. There is so precious little that has survived throughout the ages that deals with the private domain, the domain where women were largely confined. Naturally any attempt to extrapolate the familiarity we have in regard to a pathetically few number of female players in the making of knowledge and history in the public domain to women in general is a dangerous, if not impossible, endeavor. In order to contextualize these female rarities it is at once necessary, and at once antithetical to our purposes, to first outline the all too patriarchal and linear progression of men. This is not to say that an attempt like Glenn’s is not welcomed by the academic community into which it is received, nor is it to say that just because of the obvious problematics which such a study encounters that its execution should be obviated a priori, but rather that a work like Rhetoric Retold, is in large part just that: a re-telling. A re-telling with, thankfully, some peripheral stories and ancillary characters but a re-telling all the same.

As a disclaimer to her study Glenn concedes that "Except for rhetoric, no intellectual endeavor--not even the male bastion of philosophy--has so consciously rendered women invisible and silent" (2). Nonetheless, Glenn maintains that "silence" in regard to the role women have played in the rhetorical tradition does not indicate "absence." She contends that it is possible to know the influence of these women without access to primary sources, many of which have been lost or, very likely, never even produced. Socrates, she points out analogously, left us not a single primary source but that fact has not discounted our acquiescence of his enormous influence on the classical tradition. While this is seemingly true, there are two obvious, and again unfortunate, flaws in these lines of reasoning. First, because of the very nature of rhetoric, a modem for communication, many would perceive silence as absence despite Glenn’s efforts in her first chapter which is intended to illuminate the role of women by "Mapping the Silences." Second, although there may be no surviving primary sources attributed to Socrates there are a prolifery of secondary sources, sources which don’t exist in such abundance (if they exist at all) in relation to the women Glenn proffers in her second, third, and fourth chapters -- "Classical Rhetoric Conceptualized, or Vocal Men and Muted Women," Medieval Rhetoric: Pagan Roots, Christian Flowering, or Veiled Voices in the Medieval Rhetorical Tradition," "Inscribed in the Margins: Renaissance Women and Rhetorical Culture," respectively.

So how does Glenn embark on her re-telling of the rhetorical tradition? Mainly by borrowing from the historians of classical rhetoric who have gone before her. Drawing heavily from such notables as Corbett, Kennedy, Kinneavy and Murphy up through Weaver, Richards, Perelman and Burke, Glenn picks and chooses the histories she re-tells with an obvious eye toward those histories which, no matter how marginally, somehow situate the role of women. Her historiographical paradigm, then, is to reiterate, and therefore to reify, that which she herself refers to as the "aristocratic blue line" of patriarchy. Only this time, included in the master narrative, are the sprinklings of information we have in regard to the few women who have somehow made it through a silencing history.

Interestingly, perhaps, Glenn does not attempt a serious rhetorical analysis of the women’s work she addresses. There is no stance one way or another as to the homoerotic (or not) nature of Sappho’s poetry, for instance. Similarly, there is not a single line taken from the bible purportedly to have been espoused by Mary, the mother of Christ. Somehow Glenn is able to take to take an interesting and somewhat dubious, I would argue, leap in her scholarship. While maintaining that by revisiting the sparse works by women that exist from antiquity she is going to explore the "borders" of our current historical map and terrain the "shadowy regions where roads run off the edge of the paper and drop away at sharp angles" she falls short of her goal. Instead of making an ardent attempt to portray the way women influenced, or acted rhetorically within, their societies she simply drops these one-dimensional characters off along the road of an already well charted map leaving the reader to imagine how s/he might make sense of this new road sign along the way.

From an historical viewpoint, Glenn’s study is not without merit. She takes some pains to introduce women into the patriarchal canon who might not otherwise be included. But even in this inclusion she leaves out many, choosing to focus instead on Margery Kemp and Julian of Norwich, for example, about which, comparatively speaking, much is already known. Her lack of attention to the rhetorical influence exerted by these women and her failure to analyze their few surviving works renders this project more of a book report, a who’s who in rhetorical classical antiquity. Finally by depending so heavily on secondary sources, naturally generated by males, she only furthers our reliance on males to situate, contextualize, and analyze the role of women, none of which, it seems, were her original goals.

Erica Reynolds

 

Menchaca Origins of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece

Thomas Cole. The Origins of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece. London: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991; pp. xiv + 191.

In today’s postmodern thinking, we tend to avoid "great-men-in-history" theories and theories which promote technological determinism—the concept that the tools we have shape our understanding of the world around us. Theories of this sort are tainted with a faint odor of teleology. Nonetheless, Thomas Cole’s reexamination of the history of rhetoric limits the origins of rhetorical theory almost exclusively to the fourth century BCE and the work of Plato and Aristotle, placing that history squarely in the midst of technological determinism.

Greek prose—prior to the introduction of texts written by Plato, "which might be read or delivered verbatim and still suggest the excitement, atmosphere, and commitment of a spontaneous oral performance or debate" (x)—could not accurately be called rhetorical because this prose was characterized simply as a "transparent verbal medium" of information transfer. In keeping with technological determinism, Cole posits that the ability to conduct the detailed analysis of a prose text (which mimicked spontaneous oral performance) necessary to develop a theory of rhetoric could not be conducted until such a text existed. Then and only then could an analysis be properly completed and the message of an orator separated into its component form and content. Few would disagree that rhetorical theory gains its strongest and most lasting foothold when Aristotle codifies it. But Cole’s purpose in this text is to suggest that the lines of development of Greek prose from "poetry and eloquence" to the point at which it becomes rhetorical is not concurrent with the traditional linear account of that development. An examination and identification of the reasons why the "lines of this development came to be largely ignored in the traditional account" (xi) of the history of rhetoric is also included in this work.

While Cole proposes to pit his own theory against that of the traditional account, which finds the origins of rhetoric in a protorhetoric of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, he admits that the quantity of evidence necessary for a victory does not seem to be available in the extant manuscripts. Perhaps, this is why Cole makes such an effort to provide as many examples of Greek orators and manuscripts as possible to support his theory. For the seasoned member of the discipline of rhetoric, this technique may be both persuasive and informative. However, the novice rhetorician may find the mention of a legion of Greek names and phrases overwhelming. Perhaps because of this, Cole closes each chapter with a concise and clearly-written summary of the findings presented within and the implications of those findings for the line of development he is tracing.

The chapters of The Origins of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece follow the chronological shift of Greek culture from orality to literacy, emphasizing developments in the sixth to the fourth century BCE. After a brief departure from this linear path in which Cole outlines the development of rhetoric and its hierarchical separation from philosophy after Plato and Aristotle, he returns, at the end of chapter one, to the spurious traditional account of protorhetoric, the point from which he begins the remainder of his treatise. Chapter two explores the arhetorical aspects of oral poetry and oral eloquence, which are perceived as vehicles of unproblematic communication by the Ancient Greeks. That there can be any difference between the unspoken thought and the spoken one is not a concept that exists for orators of this period. Although a poet may be criticized for espousing imperfect information, none is "criticized for being dull, or prosaic, or clumsy, or unclear, or for botching a theme handled well by someone else" (34). Cole believes that the lack of written texts may be at the heart of this unproblematic view of communication and invokes theories from both Havelock and Derrida to substantiate the probability of his argument.

In chapter three Cole identifies the protorhetorical nature of tact and etiquette as a possible precursor of fourth-century rhetoric, but he later dismisses them as the viable root: "The epinician genre in which the rhetoric of tact is most elaborately displayed either degenerates into triviality or disappears altogether in the generation following Pindar’s. Its procedures were, as it turned out, less easy to transfer to assembly and lawcourts […]" (54). At this point I would have liked Cole to delimit his uses of rhetorical practice and rhetorical theory. It seems in this period that a separate rhetorical technology, complete with its own theory, may have been practiced only to be overshadowed by a competing technology better able to cope with changes in public life.

Cole then continues, in chapters four through six, to trace the development of written prose and the skills necessary for its analysis. He begins with a comparison of allegory and rhetoric based on the common foundation of the division between form and content. The necessary rhetorical skill that derives from allegory is the ability to substitute the tenor for the vehicle in the extended metaphor. For this the Sophists are responsible: "The effort to identify a set of fully understandable, consistent, unambiguous linguistic usages and locate them at the core of Greek vocabulary, syntax, and style goes hand in hand with the effort to isolate a core of truth within the typical fabric of poetic invention […]" (66). However, if the Sophists were responsible for the onset of the analytic skills necessary to develop a theory of rhetoric, their extant texts impact this development far less significantly.

Cole’s investigation into the development of literacy finds that pre-Platonic techne, what the traditional account would consider as "writing an art" or "writing a technique," is, in fact, an example or demonstration of an art written (thus, protorhetoric), in many cases, as an advertisement of the author’s skills, or for sale and use by others in need of oratory skills in the lawcourts and assembly. The authors of pre-Platonic techne would not themselves consider their own work in the manner of the traditional account. Cole explains, "The [traditional] usage—writing a techne in the sense of composing a treatise about the art of verbal composition—eventually becomes quite normal; but it is worth noting that it is not to be found in the work in which the notion of a systematic study of the principles of the art of speaking is first attested" (91). For a techne—as we see it from our vantage point after Plato and Aristotle—to be undertaken, the two lines that Cole traces in chapters four, five, and six must converge. In chapters seven and eight, Cole examines this convergence of new analytic techniques and the new form of written prose devised by Plato, which culminates in the formation of a coherent theory of rhetoric.

Cole points to the transformation of written prose from the Sophist techne to a "true reading text," that is, a text composed specifically for reading as opposed to a text composed as a speech and later transcribed. The intermediate step in this process stems from the notion that some techne were written by orators for use by others. The necessity for these manuscripts to sound as if they could be delivered becomes paramount to the development of a "true reading text," if the goal of a "true reading text," as Cole suggests, is to capture the excitement and intricacies of a public debate. In light of this, it is no surprise that the dialogues of Plato should be put forth as the terminus of this development.

However, Plato’s dialogues contain an additional element necessary for the development of a theory of rhetoric. Cole posits that the Phaedrus contains Plato’s parameters for an ideal "written discourse." These parameters, in turn, stem from Plato’s attempt to salvage a consistent notion of transcendent knowledge in the absence left by poetry as Greek culture shifted from orality to literacy. Here is where this reviewer finds Cole’s argument to seem at its weakest. His analysis of Plato’s position on writing does not sit well with Plato’s statements about written discourse in the Phaedrus as words which are indiscriminately tossed around by friend and foe alike. Nevertheless, this does not diminish Cole’s claim that Plato’s philosophy is "an essential prerequisite for the expansion and transformation of fifth-century techne into rhetoric—just as essential, in this respect, as the creation of a written discourse that could make the same sort of total claims on an audience’s attention that spoken discourse does" (157). The convergence of these lines of development is the direct result of the activities of Plato, and subsequently reinforced by Aristotle.

For this reviewer, the significance of The Origins of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece is the implications it holds for postmodern assumptions. Rather than viewing the development of rhetoric (and by implication philosophy) as an unchangeable, unstoppable force of nature, Cole’s argument, and its heavy reliance on the inner workings of a single man, reinforces the social and rhetorical aspects of the development of any technology. That there exists no transcendent knowledge, contrary to Plato’s belief, is a belief which accommodates both postmodern thinkers as well as the ancient Sophists. In keeping with technological determinism, had Plato been a Sophist, a coherent theory of rhetoric might not have developed or it might have developed as the sole means of creating knowledge, rather than simply an effective technology for transmitting foundational knowledge. The implications are staggering, and to set us on the path of positioning ourselves as the masters of a technological world, we need a book like Cole’s.

David Menchaca

speaking of writing

Lauer Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and A New Literacy

        Welch, Kathleen. Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and a New Literacy. Cambridge, MA.: MIT P., 1999.

Kathleen Welch’s Electric Rhetoric: Classical Rhetoric, Oralism, and a New Literacy is a compelling text that attempts to show how the nature of discourse and consciousness has shifted as the electric technologies of film, television, and the computer have come to dominate Western culture. These technologies have engendered a new "screen literacy" that rivals the importance of traditional print literacy in our social and academic contexts. Welch argues that as scholars and teachers it is imperative to recognize the importance of screen literacy and use it to reexamine the paradigm of Aristotelian rhetoric that dominates the academy. Although Aristotle, with his emphasis on writing in a post-oral culture has appealed to our Western notions of literacy, Welch argues that because screen literacy has become as important as print literacy, we must reemphasize the oral/literate rhetoric of Isocrates instead of continuing to hold primary the of the purely literate rhetoric of Aristotle. This shift in emphasis is necessary if we are to better understand the effects that electric technologies have had on our own and our student’s understanding of the world.

Academic discourse is still firmly grounded in what many scholars have termed "the culture of the book." Textual literacy has remained primary in the academy while screen literacy has been dominating our public culture for decades, but has been all but absent from our classrooms and our scholarship. Welch suggests that we can better understand this shift by reexamining the philosophy of Isocrates, whose work synthesized elements of both an oral and textual literacy, unlike Aristotle, who’s work was firmly rooted in the textual literacy that we so value today.

Welch’s book is divided into two sections consisting of three chapters each. The first section attempts to reexamine the pre-Aristotelian period, specifically the shift from an oral culture to a literate culture that can be better understood by examining the work of Isocrates. Welch claims that up until now Isocrates has been primarily seen as the "father" of liberal-arts education and nothing more. She claims that this characterization has occurred in-part due to Norlin and Hook’s mistranslation of Isocrates use of terms such as "philosophia," "logos," and "paideia" which "discountes Isocrats’ work as a cultural critic and promotes Isocrates as a mere pedagogue rather than an abstract thinker" (Welch 47).

In attempting to depict Isocrates as a more complex, abstract thinker, Welch closely exams the nature of his writings. Although Isocrates operated within the realm of text, his style of writing reveals a strong oral base by being additive, formulaic, and repetitive, and relying on what is known as "sampling," which in the music industry is the convention of recording one element of music onto another. Welch claims that "Isocrates ability to write with this kind of abstraction, to maintain the resonance of his oral features, and to incorporate that ability into his theory of rhetoric puts him in a crucial place intellectually…[and] is central to understanding the range and adaptability of classical rhetoric [to our modern culture]" (38). She will eventually use the interpretations she makes here to draw similarities between Isocrates’ synthesis of oral and textual literacies in pre-Aristotelian Greece and the synthesis of textual and screen literacies that is occurring today.

Welch defends her ability to make some rather unconventional interpretations because she argues that the canon of classical rhetoric was developed from scholarly interpretation and is constantly in flux. She claims that no canon is static, but needs to be continuously interrogated as our modern-day contexts change. Welch reveals a thorough scholarly base by presenting and responding to the work of many respected classical scholars such as Walter Ong and Edward Corbett, and recognizes the usefulness of such works while claiming that continual reinterpretations of classical rhetoric texts are necessary to understand the shifting applicability of those texts to our own time.

The second session of Welch’s book is where she applies her notions of a pre-Aristotelian oral/textual literacy to our composition classroom and our modern American culture. She argues that with the introduction of "screen" technologies (video, television, computer, but most specifically television as it is the most accessible and widely distributed screen technology), our students have developed a new "screen" literacy that goes beyond the exclusively textual literacy so highly regarded in the academy for the last 2400 years. With this new literacy comes a new consciousness among ourselves and our students. This new consciousness among students requires that teachers recognize the need for a revised theory of writing instruction that will improve our ability to teach literacy and writing in the future. It is here that Welch claims that by understanding the pre-Aristotelian interplay of oral and textual consciousnesses, we can better understand the interplay between textual and screen consciousnesses that has developed in the late 20th century.

Welch’s text calls not simply for a reexamination of our pedagogical assumptions at the end of the 20th century, but a reexamination of our consciousness. This consciousness can be better understood by examining the oral/textual consciousness of Isocrates. Her work exposes many of the assumptions we rely on in the Academy and calls into question our pedagogical ideas about what constitutes effective teachers of writing. This work belongs on the shelf next to every copy of Aristotle’s Rhetoric if only to remind us of the continuous need for reevaluation of our most basic assumptions within the academy and within our pedagogy.

Claire Lauer

 

Jones Literacy and Power in the Ancient World

Literacy and Power in the Ancient World, edited by Alan K. Bowman and Greg Woolf (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1994. 249 pages).

Reviewed by Leigh Jones, University of Arizona

 

As Pierre Bourdieu would explain it, language produces the power of the State by producing representations of the social world (Language and Symbolic Power, Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1991). These representations of the world become "knowledge" and give state agents a means to act through "knowledge"—in other words, to act politically. Such political action, Bourdieu writes, "aims to make or unmake groups—and, by the same token, the collective actions they can undertake to transform the social world in accordance with their interests—by producing, reproducing or destroying the representations that make groups visible for themselves and for others" (127). I can apply this concept of power through representation to Greek writing: by providing concrete and tangible representations of Greek society, literacy made the power of the State more concrete and tangible. But literacy also had an effect on those under the State. Since political subversion requires groups to subvert (change) the representations of the world, any power among common people and slaves in the ancient world would have to come through literacy since the State’s representations were increasingly recorded in writing. Thus in order to examine literacy and power in the ancient West, we must look at who benefited from literacy and who was excluded or rendered powerless. We must also look at how the concept of the "West" was created through the power dynamics that included many nations besides Greece.

In their anthology Literacy and Power in the Ancient World, Bowman and Woolf address some specific examples of how power worked through nations in several ancient. They have organized twelve essays dealing with topics from literacy in ancient Greek city-states to literacy and power in early Christianity to a discussion of the use of texts in the Byzantine dark ages. According to their introductory essay of the same title, they seek to provide discussions on how power was used to control texts as well as how power arose from the use of texts in the ancient western world. The articles also address the conflicting power between the writers of texts and readers. Topics covered include: the nature of "scribal classes"; the relationship between literacy, language, and culture; multilingual contexts requiring writing; literacy preserving and spreading elite culture; and the power of central religious texts in Jewish and Christian communities.

The title of the book will be somewhat misleading for contemporary students of rhetoric who are accustomed to talking about literacy and power in terms of a hegemony that includes issues of race, gender, social class, and geographic location (e.g. colonial country versus imperialist/capitalist power, or inner-city versus rural), even within the context of the "ancient world." The type of power the authors associate with literacy is strictly a political one and not a social one—they make no reference to power as affecting those who do not have it. While some of the authors included do explore issues of why Greek and Latin texts from the ancient Western world have been widely written about while those in other languages have not, this exploration doesn’t venture into concepts of gender or race power differences. And the question remains of how "Oriental" and Asian texts fit into the relationships between literacy and power: the traditional definitions of the "ancient world" are maintained through most articles in this text (with the exception of Brock’s piece). Bowman and Woolf concede that "an authoritative critique and genealogy of the notion of a Classical World, along the lines of Edward Said’s Orientalism, is still awaited. But the study of writing and its uses has a part to play in deconstructing this myth." Yet, I do not understand their justification for how these articles act towards the end of deconstructing that myth: "If ancient literacy has a unity, it must lie in particular uses of writing and/or attitudes to it, confined to or at least widespread within and characteristic of the Greek and Roman worlds." A weakness exists in the editors’ failure to recognize that the constructed "unity" can be deconstructed by looking at literacy and writing outside the Greek and Roman traditions in their exploration of the "ancient world" in their anthology. In fact, the issue of why the writing in "Greek and Roman worlds" defines ancient literacy would itself provide rich material for examining literacy and power in broad international terms during the classical period. This issue is touched upon in Brock’s article, but needs more attention. The fact that Western literacy today is still based on Greek ideologies (e.g. Aristotle’s four parts of oratory, reinterpreted by Cicero as five parts of argumentation and reinterpreted again today as the revered five-paragraph essay) can explain why certain groups (who most closely resemble the literate Greeks) are today more literate and more powerful. This study of literacy is narrow because it confines itself to literacy among Greek, Roman, and Judeo-Christian cultures (again, with the exception of Brock’s recovery of the Syriac tradition). Said might describe such omissions of "other" texts as Orientalism, in so far as

        It [Orientalism] is… a distribution of geopolitical awareness into aesthetic, scholarly, economic, sociological, historical, and philological texts; it is an elaboration not only of a basic geographical distinction (the world is made up of two unequal halves, Orient and Occident) but also of a whole series of "interests" which, by such means as scholarly discovery, philological reconstruction, psychological analysis, landscape and sociological description, it not only creates but also maintains… .(Orientalism, New York: Vintage Books, 1979. p 12)

The editors argue that current social anthropological and historical critiques of generalizing models of literacy unfairly discount the idea of "writing as an enabling technology." The result, they write, is that "social evolution and world history have become minority interests" (3). Clearly, Bowman and Woolf don’t find postcolonial historical readings (e.g. Martin Bernall’s Black Athena) "enabling"; instead, they seem to be in search of a master narrative that can once again unite historians and anthropologists in their search for meaning. This questioning of how we define literacy and characterize the illiterate, which the editors refer to, was precipitated in part by Havelock’s discussion of oral versus literate cultures. Havelock created space for questions about how power has historically been distributed among the literate versus the oral. Many scholars are also critical of the "evolutionary" implications of Havelock’s theory of literacy. The issue of literacy, therefore, is still relevant for rhetoricians and pedagogists, as well as anthropologists and historians (the two disciplines from which the articles emerge), and to that end, the project Bowman and Woolf attempt is timely and useful. But the next question for readers to ask is whether the anthology (despite the editors’ cynicism about current discourse on literacy) successfully questions ancient literacy in terms of power—in other words, does the book achieve what it sets out to do? While Literacy and Power in the Ancient World brings up useful and compelling connections between classical texts and issues of literacy, the question of power is dealt with only as traditional history/anthropology in many articles, leaving rhetoric scholars to make their own connections between the past and the present in terms of literacy and power.

One example of such a traditional approach is C.M. Kelly’s article, "Later Roman bureaucracy: going through the files." It considers archaeological and historical evidence of archives and document storage in the fourth- and fifth-century Roman Empire in the Great Palace in Constantinople. These files show us that the later Roman Empire placed a heavy emphasis on record-keeping and administration. Among the surviving records are a register of landowners detailing how land was divided, as well as a register of wills, gifts, emancipations, adoptions, and guardianships (163). Kelly’s discussion of this evidence of a record-keeping system prompts rhetoricians to look at ancient literacy as a methodical and standardized process of recording relations between the government and the public. He sees the files as literal productions of bureaucratic power providing a negotiating process between the public and the bureaucracy. Power was also changed because the files established a sort of machine that operated more or less independently of the emperors. As such, the files become a site of power for the government officials, while limiting imperial power: "Bureaucracy’s marked preference for order directly challenged the whimsicality and unpredictability of action fundamental to the unfettered exercise of imperial power…" (167). Kelly concludes that it is essential to understand the conflicting interests of autocrat and bureaucrat in order to understand how power functioned in the later Roman Empire.

Yet Kelly does not imply any possibility of public gaining power through the bureaucratization of Roman politics. If we look at the language in the files as creating symbolic rather than just literal political power, we see a systematic reproduction of official language, and a circular production of power: an institution creating language, and language creating an institution. The emperor might be displaced in this circle, but ultimately the illiterate public remains subordinate and defenseless against the literate.

Another article in the anthology, however, offers strong potential for questioning the traditional study of the "ancient world." S.P. Brock’s "Greek and Syriac in Late Antique Syria" looks at documents from the second through fifth centuries written by bilingual speakers of Greek (the language of political power) and Syriac (the literary language of Aramaic-speaking Christians during that time) used in the Eastern Roman Empire. He finds many examples of Syrians who were educated in Greek and instead chose to write in Syriac. The most famous, Sergius of Resh‘aina, translated medical texts by Galen and philosophical texts by Aristotle into Syriac. He also describes bilingual/bi-cultural Syrians who translated Syriac texts into Greek, and Greeks who, along with choosing Christianity, chose to write in Syriac. Brock argues that a sense of literary prestige rivaling that of Greek formed around Syriac because of the growing influence of Christianity. This prestige, argues Brock, embarrassed the Greek, "who could not bear to see literary excellence issuing from barbary: the neat way round this problem was to claim that Syriac verse form was actually derived from Greek!" (152-3). His mention of the historical manipulation by the Greeks is useful in light of Said’s argument about how the "Near East" gets (mis)represented by the West today. In fact, the Syriac literary tradition Brock describes traveled via Christian missionaries across Asia as far as China. The connections between Asian cultures, "Near Eastern" cultures, and Greek or Western cultures, therefore, is worthwhile to trace. Yet, as this article successfully shows, the Western educational focus on Greek and Latin "happen to make it difficult for the modern student of Late Antiquity to appreciate fully the role played in some of the eastern provinces by this literary language," and, I would add, the role in Asia generally.

The valuable question of how power worked through literacy in the ancient Greco-Judeo-Christian world is once again invoked. The answers Bowman and Woolf’s anthology provides are useful within a conservative context of traditional scholarship, and many will find it useful. Those who study rhetoric with a political agenda, though, will find that the text begs the question of why literacy is important in relation to power.

 

Schwartz Literacy and Orality in Ancient Greece

Rosalind Thomas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992. 201 pp.

  

    Rosalind Thomas has produced a book worthy of close attention for anyone interested in ancient Greek communication and its uses. Separated into seven chapters and an epilogue, Thomas dissects twentieth century Western interpretations and assumptions about literacy and orality in ancient Greece and argues that Greece was a thriving, thinking society before and after the alphabet arrived and literacy became widespread. Although arranged chronologically, Thomas revisits earlier time periods and oral uses for communication in order to argue against the common belief that literacy equals advanced thought. While this strategy makes sense, it also leaves one thinking that Thomas repeats herself excessively. I would argue, however, that it is this very repetition that makes her argument so strong. In a culture that is so tied to books, one needs to be hit over  the head with one if it teaches us to recognize that ancient Greece was not dependent on the printed word as a precursor for a lively and rational-thinking society. Thomas’ book does just that.

     The Introduction (Chapter 1) provides important background on literacy and orality in the twentieth century, which influences ways in which ancient Greek communication is conceived. Thomas argues that it is extremely difficult to examine the differences between literacy and orality objectively, precisely because "illiteracy, in a culture so dependent on the accumulated wisdom of books, is tantamount to backwardness and  barbarism" (2). Although Thomas acknowledges this difficulty, she sets the stage for her main argument: literacy and orality cannot be defined or examined apart from the other, and that to do so would be to study ancient Greece through the lens of a literate culture with little or no experience in an oral society. Thomas is quick to position herself in opposition to the work of Eric Havelock and others who equate orality with uncritical acceptance; and literacy with critical thought, reflection and action. This chapter deftly summarizes the state of affairs in ancient Greece, bringing to light the fact that when the alphabet was introduced, not everyone learned to read and/or write, and that oral performances continued to play a major role in the transmission of important information, even after people had begun to produce written documents

    In Chapter 2, Thomas shows that culture does have a direct impact on the meanings and uses for the spoken and written word. For example, she  discusses the religious use for literacy in Sweden (one could not be married in the church unless able to read) (21), the need of the Brahmin caste to control sacred texts in Hindu India, the Japanese belief that  knowledge can only be communicated through writing, and . Thomas’ examples are interesting for she draws on a variety of rhetorical traditions to show that culture not only impacts Greek literacy, but the uses for literacy around the world, from ancient times to the present. By demonstrating that literacy has many uses and implications, depending on a culture’s needs, Thomas then argues that orality, too, must be studied in tandem with culture and, although she does not develop her idea, she suggests that scholarship is needed in this area (28).

    Chapter 3 focuses on the definitions of orality and the ways in which oral Greek culture was influenced by writing. Thomas devotes much of this  chapter to an argument against Milman Parry and Albert Lord, whose work identified Homer as an oral poet in a long tradition in which poets composed works while performing them. Thomas refutes Parry’s theory in three strands: 1) Bards could not have composed all of their works during performances (some were just too long), which suggests that logical thought must have been invoked in order to memorize portions of a work; 2)Formulaic poetry (oral or written) does not necessarily indicate an oral tradition; and 3) Oral poets were certainly capable of reflection, thus able to think through a performance before or after it was performed, changing pieces as fit the particular occasion. Thomas capably disproves once and for all that orality signified a culture incapable of rational thought.

    In Chapters 4 and 5, Thomas presents a number of uses for literacy and argues that the alphabet was merely one more way of communicating. Graffiti (informal writing not engraved on stone) shows that early writing in Greece was not limited to the educated elite; along with recording poetry, writing was used to mark property, label offerings to the gods, intensify an oral curse, and later on, to mark tombstones. Thomas uses hese examples to provide further evidence that a predominantly oral culture, such as in ancient Greece, was in fact a thinking society, and the introduction of the alphabet to a society does not necessarily spark an intellectual revolution. Rather, it simply shows how people expanded their means of and uses for communication, given their needs and uses for communicating. Thomas addresses the "non-literate" uses for writing in Chapter 5—on pottery shards, wood, stone, and other materials—not meant to be read so much as to add authority to an oral decree, to mystify an object, or to be artistic. Thomas acknowledges the difficulty of analyzing documents (representing a wide variety of "texts") and records from ancient Greece, given the lack of their preservation and our reliance on preserved written texts that describe them, stating "this type of analysis is extremely difficult and valuable in general terms, at best (100).

    After being inundated with the possible uses for literacy, readers get a break in Chapter 6, when Thomas examines the performance and context of Greek literature in Chapter 6. She asserts that although many scholars have discussed Greek literature as the beginning of a literate society, she believes that Greece was an oral society, well after the introduction of literature; and she resists reaching conclusions about literacy and orality based solely on remaining written texts. Instead, she again discusses the context in which texts were developed—in a predominantly oral society that the appearance of literature enhanced but did not make obsolete.

    In the final chapter, Thomas discusses the use of later 5th and 4th century BC writing as it concerned the state, arguing that a comparison of Athens and Sparta shows that a profusion of writing did not increase Athens’ power, nor did a lack of writing for political uses decrease Sparta’s power (131). However, as the written word was increasingly accepted as proof of a decree, the city-states began to shift the focus of communication from oral performance to a combination of the latter and reading—performing—texts. Thomas ends her argument by challenging scholars to consider culture and context as crucial aspects of the transition in ancient Greece from an oral society to a literate one: "The place of the individual citizen and his [or her] need or ability to write should be seen accordingly, in the context of his [or her] particular city-state, or, as is clear in Graeco-Roman Egypt, within the wider social system as well" (157).

The epilogue gives readers interested in the Roman world a brief introduction to the possible uses for writing there. Thomas draws largely on Harris’ 1989 work, Ancient Literacy, to delineate the probability that although the written word was a much bigger part of the Roman world, those who were actually literate may not have numbered any more than in ancient Greece. Thomas offers valuable insights into the complexities of orality and literacy, calling into question common concepts and arguing for a wider examination of ancient Greece at the onset of the alphabet. She presents her argument in a methodical manner that is both ambitious and yet not exhaustive. This book contains significant scholarship that advances the field of literacy studies; in addition, Thomas poses many questions for scholars and students to consider, leaving the door wide open for future research into the debate and discussion of literacy and orality, in ancient Greece and beyond.

Gwen Gray Schwartz

getting critical

Malesh The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought

Swartz, Omar. The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought. (Boulder: Westview Press, 1998), x + 194 pp.

In the preface of The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought, Swartz explains the circumstances surrounding his decision to write the text. He cites his students’ lack interest in classical rhetoric based in its apparent unconnectedness to their lives, his experience as a teacher of rhetoric as well as a student of rhetoric, and his students’ alienation and disinterest in the political life of the nation as indications that a book explicating the relevance of the study of classical rhetoric to contemporary critical inquiry needed to emerge. In essence, he attempts, through historical contextualization, to explain the tension between the two competing perspectives of knowledge: the ontological and the epistemological, and relates this to past and current understandings of rhetoric as political. By doing this, he attempts to situate a discussion of classical rhetoric in a modern political framework.

In making his case for the significance of an exploration into classical rhetoric as necessary in order to inspire current socio-political transformation, Swartz organizes his book into an introductory section followed by five chapters outlining the staggered development in classical rhetoric of knowledge as epistemic. In his introduction, Swartz establishes his definition of rhetoric. In Chapter one "The Circumstance Behind the development of Rhetorical Theory," he argues for the need to historicize the study of ideas. In Chapters two through five, "The Beginning of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece," "Isocrates," "Plato," and "Aristotle" he familiarizes his readers with the circumstances behind and the complications of the rise of rhetoric in ancient Greece by focusing on the important thinkers beginning with the Sophists, continuing with Isocrates and Plato, and culminating with Aristotle. Within these chapters, Swartz supports his case for knowledge as epistemic and rhetoric as "inescapably political" by showing his readers that the various understandings of knowledge and of rhetoric that developed in ancient Greece are responsible for our current Western approaches to knowledge making and socio-political development, making this book a useful companion to those of us who believe that the classroom is also "inescapably political."

Before he begins to explore his understanding of history and its relevance to our current political aspirations, Swartz dedicates his introduction to, as any immerging rhetorician should, defining rhetoric. By familiarizing his audience with other important and respected definitions of rhetoric such as Aristotle’s, Burke’s, and Rorty’s, and by dismantling contemporary assumptions about what rhetoric is, he eventually creates a composite definition of rhetoric: rhetoric as a specific literary development, rhetoric as a way of cutting, rhetoric as an invitation to change. He sets up his text as an endorsement of the epistemic vision of knowing the world through language, and therefore, through rhetoric.

In Chapter 1, Swartz explores the circumstances behind the rise of rhetoric. He justifies the need for historicizing ideas in order to fully understand the context they developed in response to, but he also clearly identifies this process as history making instead of history telling. He dispels the notion that history is something we can research and record objectively. Instead, he claims that the most reliable histories are created by those historians who actively recognize their own biases. In this chapter, Swartz attributes the rise of rhetoric in ancient Greece as forming in response to particular Geographical conditions, the importance of trade, the rhapsodes, art and ideology, and solon, thus providing his reader with the context out of which rhetoric emerged. He then develops his case for the contemporary socio-political relevance of the study of classical rhetoric by highlighting the similarities between classical Athenian government and current US political aims and organization.

In Chapters 2 through 5, Swartz continues to develop our understanding of knowledge as "dependant upon the questions we ask, and our questions [as] dependant on upon the type of ideas we have been taught" (53). In light of these different conceptions of knowledge based in our different usage of language, rhetoric serves at a way in which the various discourse communities (my word not his) can communicate. In these four chapters, Swartz explicates the historical context and significant resulting theoretical understanding, as he sees it, of the important figures in the classical period. Beginning with the Sophists as the first humanists, Swartz details their particular conception of knowledge as created through language. Because the Sophists believed that language could be used to define and articulate the human condition, rhetoric is a powerful device for knowing. From these initial investigations into our ways of knowing the world, Swartz begins his discussion of how Isocrates legitimized the insights of the Sophists by providing a moral justification for rhetoric as the foundations of the liberal arts tradition. Swartz compares Isocrates with thinkers such as Rorty, Dewey, Foucault, and Marx as a way of strengthening his claims about the importance of classical rhetoric in contemporary thought. He enhances the importance of Isocratic thinking by discussing how Isocrates, as a pedagogue and a statesman, stressed praxis and civic responsibility, and how his pan-Hellenic dedication is a way of historicizing, and therefore gaining a more thorough understanding of, Che Guevara and contemporary third world efforts to act from pan-nationalism. From Isocrates, Swartz begins his discussion of Plato by exploring the definition of praxis in classical Greece as different in purpose, but similar in philosophy, to our more current understanding of praxis from a Marxist position. Using Plato and platonic understanding as the vehicle through which he describes the anti-humanist, banking model of education, Swartz presents Plato as solidifying the rift between rhetoric and philosophy. Aristotle, on the other hand, is applauded by Swartz as the benevolent thinker that equalized dialectic and rhetoric through his understanding of rhetoric as a practical art (phronesis). Swartz aligns Aristotle with the "rhetorical traditions most powerful allies"—Foucault, Marx, and Nietzsche. By making this comparison, Swartz attempts to conclusively embed the study of classical rhetoric within the study and resulting praxis of contemporary critical thought.

Throughout his text, Swartz presents his ideas in a highly organized and formulaic manner. His subcategories within each chapter serve as successful markers for shifts in ideas and directions. The introductory few paragraphs of each chapter reiterate the important information from the last chapter and use this information to transition into the next section. His conclusions to each chapter briefly re-examine the vital concerns and interconnected concepts he creates throughout the chapter. In his text’s conclusion, Swartz challenges his readers to be critical, even of his own history making. He refocuses his readers to his broad claims about how our understanding of knowledge, including our conceptions of truth, is inherently political and, from this, presents a case for socialism as radical democracy and as the most valuable form of government worth pursuing. He frames the connections he makes between classical rhetoric and contemporary political climates in the discussion for representation. For Swartz, a critical reading of history demands that we recognized that "scholarship itself is rife with representation" and "conflict within the history of rhetoric and cultural permutations of these conflicts in western society, involves representation."

Though The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought does indeed sing the sorrow song of the unfulfilled materialists--knowledge as created, truth as contextual, and politics as omnipresent--Swartz teaches us to examine history critically by stretching these concepts across the fabric of space and time by relating the developing epistemologies of the sophists with Lao Tzu, the pan-Hellenism of Isocrates to the pan-nationalism of Che Guevara, Plato’s critique of rhetoric as validated by the rise of Nazi Germany and, comparably, the US (as a propaganda laden capitalistic empire), and by ending with a discussion about how Aristotle’s legitimization of rhetoric also limited its scope--rhetoric as classified, as designated with a specific purpose, instead of as a pervasive way to understand each other and the world around us. In contrast to this, Swartz re-envisions the rhetoric that developed during the classical period. He re-claims it as not only an epistemic necessity, but also as the study of rhetoric as our last hope for political and social salvation. Although his insistence that we trace our thinking back to classical rhetoric does leave his reader with some precautionary concern about re-inscribing our newfound awareness of the contributions of others with the mark of the traditional story, The Rise of Rhetoric and Its intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought does encourage us to explore representation and challenge assessment. For those of us who already float on the radical aura of the university, this text is problematic because it does not speak of the representation of others as an essential characteristic of his argument. However, for those of us who reject the study of classical rhetoric as too embedded in its own context, this book does suggest our potential to redefine the possibilities of classical rhetoric for contemporary culture and social change. Because of this, it is worth reading.

Patricia Malesh

 Ohm The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought

The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Though, Omar Swartz (Boulder: Westview P 1998. 194 pages).

Reviewed by Sung Ohm

Recently, a professor in my program asked me what my particular focus in rhetoric was. As I began to explain that I was looking at certain issues that involved ideological analysis, he began to question whether I was more suited for cultural studies rather than rhetoric. For me, ideologies always involve rhetoric; you cannot do ideological analysis without rhetorical theory. Despite the fact that rhetoric seems to be moving more towards cultural analysis (or at least recognize that it is doing cultural analysis), rhetoric texts aimed at ideology are still somewhat sparse. In light of this void, Swartz’s book came as a delightful opening for me. The question of what function cultural studies has in rhetoric seems to be addressed by The Rise of Rhetoric and Its Intersections with Contemporary Critical Thought.

Omar Swartz offers a view of the foundations of the Greek rhetorical tradition with an astute tie to our contemporary period. Throughout The Rise of Rhetoric, Swartz draws relationships between Classic Greece and current social, political, and economic situations within the US. He flushes out the contradictory practices that occurred in the Classic Greek "democracy" and those that occur within US "democracy" as well as establishing the distinctions between the two nation-states. Swartz compellingly argues for a connection—a dialectic—between history and a critical consciousness that examines the contested sites of contradiction in US democracy and makes rhetoric meaningful for democratic involvement. "Rhetoric is a process," Swartz contends; "it is a way for constructing or deconstructing our environment in ways that matter, or should matter, to everyone no matter how alienated or marginalized they are from the workings of power in this country" (42). Ultimately, his renegotiation of Ancient Greek history is a call to action for scholars of rhetoric to become critical citizenry explicitly tying the function of rhetoric to a form of social praxis. Swartz sums it up best when he states, "Rhetoric—old and new—can lead to a vital discussion of ourselves and our world because rhetoric is always about people and the possibility for change" (x).

Swartz begins his book by grounding the definition of rhetoric as always cultural and political. He looks at what rhetoric meant to the Ancient Greeks—Protagoras, Gorgias, Plato, and Aristotle—noting their various ideological and political positions. For Classical Greeks, studying rhetoric becomes a necessity for a working democracy. Citizens were required to participate in the politics of the society (however, Swartz reminds us that this was still an elite group who held power; there were those who could not participate—i.e., slaves, women, & non-Athenians). With the rise of democracy, Swartz indicates that rhetorical theory was a necessity. Rhetoric becomes a strategic way to use language to persuade—a "communication competency" (10). Contrasting Athenian democracy with US democracy, Swartz draws from Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s institutional analysis of the media Manufacturing Consent to illustrate how the US limits its citizens from participating in the political sphere. While Swartz certainly suggests that Athenian citizens were able to be more politically engaged because they had a captive audience and had access to speak, he does not quite resolve how one goes about obtaining access within the US. After all, a nation-state as large—and as hegemonic—as the US would certainly make it more challenging in terms of obtaining access to public discourse. Nevertheless, Swartz’s institutional analysis is quite thorough and convincing as is his call for citizen participation.

Throughout the next few chapters, Swartz outlines the historical conditions from which rhetoric emerges within Greek society. In "The Circumstance Behind the Development of Rhetorical Theory," he continues to elaborate that rhetoric and democracy are interdependent; rhetoric rises as a necessity for citizens to participate in democracy. However, he is quick to point out that there are serious contradictions in both Greek and US democracy. Swartz states that there is a fundamental contradiction in a society that advocates an ideology of freedom and liberty, yet dominates other countries through economic, political, and military coercion. Swartz notes,

Once again the analogy [of ancient Greece] to the United States cannot be overstated: imperial powers often justify their policies to their own citizens with the artistic, scientific, and intellectual developments that are supported by the spoils of foreign conquest . (22)

As Swartz points out, Greece established its imperialism due to its geographic and historic condition. Furthermore, I would like to add that, like the US, Greece justified its imperialism by being able to supply the citizens with a certain amount of privilege and power—having time to ponder human’s existence with the world, how a society should operate a democracy, etc.—thus, ignoring the labor and exploitation of others.

To situate the rise of rhetoric, Swartz traces historical conditions that warranted rhetoric’s necessity in ancient Greece. Because Athens was a city with specific geographical boundaries with the sea and the mountains limiting its production of agriculture, Greece accordingly had to look toward outside markets for resources. As Swartz notes, travelers brought back with them a wealth of knowledge and ideas from various other cultures. For this reason, the Greeks could move from an oral culture with Rhapsodes, orators who transmitted & controlled culture and knowledge, to a more dialectical condition. In fact, Swartz explains that for the Greeks the fact that they had to interact with others—thus opening up dialectical relationships—was one of the reasons a democracy was able to develop. Furthermore, Swartz, following Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, states that much of Greek society was highly influenced by North African culture. The Eurocentric notion of Western civilization developing in Greece was used to justify European imperialism and colonialism that codified an Africa without culture or civilization during the Nineteenth Century.

In the chapter entitled "The Beginning of Rhetoric in Ancient Greece," Swartz illustrates that the conditions for someone like Corax & Tisias (either myth or real) and the Sophists (Protagoras and Gorgias) were already in place. According to Swartz, although they were not necessarily for a democracy, their ideas and teachings did allow for the opening up of more democratic involvement or "more ‘democratically’ inclined ideologies" (69). Furthermore, Swartz suggests that the Ionian philosophers, while somewhat "irrelevant" (83), contributed to the Sophists’ wanting to shift from a materialistic society to one based on certain ethics. The chapter ends with the contributions that the Sophists have had on Greek society as well as our own. He attributes most of the challenges to the status quo to the Sophists.

The next three chapters are devoted to Isocrates, Plato, and Aristotle. In "Isocrates," Swartz delineates how Isocrates deviated from the Sophists by instilling a sense of purpose for citizens of Athens. Isocrates further developed pan-Hellenism, "[emphasizing] the political unity and beauty of Greece" (95). Swartz again ties this with the more recent period. After World War II, Third World nations became independent yet in tensions with other Third World countries as well as Western Power struggles—a neo-colonialism. Thus, Third World nations began movements with remarkable similarities to the pan-Hellenistic movement. Swartz calls this "pan-nationalism" (98) which was a movement for political unity. In response to imperialistic moves by First World nations, Che Guevara, as Swartz maintains, asked various Third World nations to unite. Guevara stated, "‘A victory of any one country against imperialism is our victory, just as defeat for any one country is a defeat for all’" (103). Swartz states that like Guevara standing for a pan-national movement, Isocrates stood for pan-Hellenism.

In "Plato," Swartz details the break between rhetoric and philosophy. Plato opposes rhetoric because of its capacity to be used for ill means by corrupt people. For Plato, rhetoric is immoral. Plato proposes a rigid enforcement of ideologies that limits rhetoric. For Plato, the ultimate goal was to arrive at "Truths," a metaphysical condition. Swartz grasps the implications of such a notion: "Some things are right because we know them to be right, and we know them to be right because people we respect, people better than ourselves, are able to enlighten us with their experience" (136). As Swartz points out, this forwards a conservative ideology of those who are already in power. Plato’s move becomes one against both rhetoric and large citizen participation in politics.

One of the challenges to Plato’s notion comes from perhaps one of his most notable students, Aristotle. In "Aristotle," Swartz remarks that much like Aristotle, Foucault along with Marx and Nietzsche contest Plato, "thus are enabling of a rhetorical epistemology" (155). However, Swartz sees the West as more steeped in the traditions of Plato in terms of political economies that exist. As for Aristotle, he counters Plato’s dismissal of rhetoric by viewing rhetoric as a "‘practical art’" (158) thereby giving it social relevance. While the sophists viewed rhetoric as an art (not a practical art), and Plato as propaganda, Plato viewed rhetoric as having a social purpose. Aristotle sees pistis, "means of persuasion" (167) as the ultimate aims of rhetoric. Swartz traces Aristotle’s artistic proofs: logos, pathos, ethos. Even more, Aristotle develops the understanding of enthymematic reasoning—audience participating in the drama’s argument. For Aristotle, as Swartz notes, the goal of rhetoric is persuasion while the goal for dialectic is "criticism and refinement of ideas" (166). Swartz states that dialectic is rhetorical.

Swartz closes by laying his politics clearly on the table. In the "Conclusion," Swartz says,

 

For me, the ideal form of such a political term [radical democracy] is a socialist state—not one designed on the formally articulated Stalinist models but one that stems from a more domestic model envisioned in the struggles for democracy that have a long and dynamic tradition in this country. (179-80)

Here, Swartz calls for us to look at concepts, ideologies, and positions in a multifaceted way. According to Swartz, only a varied way to look at representations—i.e. multiple "truths"—can lead us to a "radical democracy." To struggle with these various truths and representations is the task for us at hand. Hence, the look into Ancient Greece, for Swartz, is a look at ourselves today. However, one question he leaves unanswered is what is involved in creating a radical democracy. Certainly, for a radical democracy to work, we need a critical citizenry, "a citizenry with a historical perspective that grasps the present as possibilities of intervention, and with a critical praxis that de-reifies or reveals the social origins of the political, economic, and cultural order" (San Juan, Jr. 40). Furthermore, Swartz does not address who can "actively" participate as citizens, and, perhaps more importantly, who cannot. As Nira Yuval-Davis points out,

Even in the most democratically active societies there are strata of the population which are much more passive [citizens] and, even if they have some social rights, either have no political rights of participation or, if they have the formal rights, are too disempowered and/or too alienated to participate even in the formal act of voting. (84)

While calling for active citizen participation, Swartz does not wholly address relations of power between those who can be active citizens, and those who can be only passive citizens. Within the US, these include power differences among gender, race, sexuality, class, and ability (to name a few). Certainly, majority rule cannot address all the complexities within a social stratum. While a critical citizenry may certainly address these issues, Swartz does not necessarily elaborate on the praxis to achieve this.

Yet, Swartz does opens up possibilities for a dialectical approach—to histories and politics, not to mention rhetoric—to address these issues. Unquestionably, his clear political agenda is refreshing, especially against a traditional approach that seemingly has no agenda (I use "seemingly" here because often that very agenda seems hidden). His book is highly accessible to the novice scholar of rhetoric. He spends considerable time elaborating on the Classical Greek rhetoricians and their theories. Still, anyone who is interested in the connections between ideology and hegemony within the US might find this book interesting. While his systematic analysis seems to favor those who already agree with his politics as well as those have a complex understanding of US histories, Swartz, nevertheless, adds a great insight into Classical Rhetoric as well as bridging it to contemporary issues and theories.

Works Cited

San Juan, E., Jr. Racial Formations/Critical Transformations: Articulations of Power in Ethnic and Racial Studies in the United States. New Jersey: Humanities P, 1992.
Yrval-Davis, Nira. Gender and Nation. London: Sage Pub, 1997.

Sung Ohm