This new edition of Hugh Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, edited by Linda Ferreira-Buckley and S. Michael Halloran, answers the need for a complete, reliable text. The book seeks to generate a renewed interest in Blair by provoking new inquiries into the tradition of belletristic rhetoric and by serving as both aid and incentive to others who may join in the project of improving understanding of this landmark rhetorical scholarship.
This edition contains forty-seven lectures and remains faithful to the text of the 1785 London edition. The editors contextualize Hugh Blair's motivations and thinking by providing in their introduction an extended account of Blair's lif eand era. The bibliography of works by and about Blair is an invaluable aid, surpassing previous research on Blair.
Although the extent of its influence cannot be measured fully, Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres was undoubtedly a primary vehicle for introducing many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scholars to classical rhetoric and French belletristic rhetoric-its success due in part to the ease with which the lectures combine neoclassical and Enlightenment thought, accommodating emerging social concerns. Ferreira-Buckley and Halloran's and extensive treatment revives the tradition of belletristic rhetoric, improving the understanding of Blair's place in the study of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century discourse, while finding him relevant in the twenty-first century.