In Defence of Rhetoric

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A spirited effort to restore the importance of rhetoric, this book examines its early development in the classical era, its triumph during the Renaissance, and its subsequent decline. While acknowledging rhetoric's general loss of prestige, the author asserts its value in modern times as an indispensable vehicle for style and thought in the work of Joyce, Orwell, Jarrell, and others, and concludes by surveying rhetoric's fragmentation and misapplication in the current critical theories of such thinkers as Jakobson and de Man.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In Defence of Rhetoric is a splendid historical polemic on behalf of the rhetorical tradition. This wide-ranging and well-written synthesis of contemporary scholarship will be a watershed in the study of the history of rhetoric through the Renaissance."--Arthur Quinn, Rhetorica

"Vickers's narrative is well informed, lucidly written, and more intellectually forceful than most introductions.'--Arion

"Vicker's ability to identify, analyze and explicate the uses and characterizations of rhetoric is the most masterful performance I have read by an historian of rhetoric." --Rhetoric Society Quarterly

"In this fascinating and powerfully argued study, Vickers traces the history of the rhetorical tradition from its earliest beginnings in Greece to the present....His historical analysis of the fragmentation of classical rhetoric in the Middle Ages and its eventual reconstitution in the Renaissance is likely to become standard. Without doubt, this is one of the most interesting and valuable books on rhetoric to appear in the past few decades. Accessible to general readers."--Choice

"The most useful general book on rhetoric around, and it combines deft rhetorical performance with thorough rhetorical scholarship."--The Yale Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198117919
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 1,508,278
  • Lexile: 1640L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.44 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Meet the Author

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich; founding President of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric
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