Renaissance Debates on Rhetoric / Edition 1

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Throughout the European Renaissance, authors famous and obscure debated the nature, goals, and value of rhetoric. In a host of treatises, handbooks, letters, and orations, written in both Latin and the vernacular, they attempted to assess the central role that rhetoric clearly played in their culture. Was rhetoric a valuable tool of legitimation for rulers or a dangerous instrument of resistance to political and religious authority? Would its employment maintain the social hierarchy or foster social mobility? Was rhetoric merely the art of lies or was it a means to arrive at the only form of truth available to human beings? In this fascinating volume, Wayne A. Rebhorn enables modern-day readers to follow Renaissance thinkers as they struggle with these and other crucial questions about rhetoric.Arranged chronologically, the twenty-five selections in this anthology, most of which have never before appeared in English, include key texts by Petrarch, Valla, Erasmus, Vives, Melanchthon, Ramus, Wilson, Amyot, and Bacon. All the selections have been fully annotated and have headnotes providing essential background information. In addition, the volume features a biographical glossary of frequently mentioned historical and mythological figures, a comprehensive index, and a detailed bibliography.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Rebhorn's introduction explains clearly which of rhetoric's many faces he is attempting to illuminate and his selections are judicious and sensible in reference to his stated goals. . . This is a much-needed anthology, and Rebhorn is to be commended for producing it."—Craig Kallendorf,Texas A&M University. Neo-Latin News, Vol. 49, 1-2, 2001

"Rebhorn has chosen and edited his texts carefully in order to highlight the scope of Renaissance debate about the usefulness and role of rhetoric in society. . . The volume introduces its reader to a broad field of Renaissance conceptions of rhetoric and is a valuable resource for political, literary, philosophical, and theological scholars alike. . . The range of texts edited and translated here, along with Rebhorn's meticulous detailing of the textual history or each selection, make Renaissance Rebates on Rhetoric an excellent starting point for any examination of this subject."—Alison Scott, Macquarie University. Parergon Journal, 2002

"Renaissance Debates on Rhetoric provides a rich, complex, and wide-ranging overview of a discipline that for centuries occupied the center of intellectual and literary culture in the West."—Debora Shuger, UCLA

"Everyone interested in the Renaissance should be interested in this splendid collection of primary sources dealing with rhetoric—a core subject for the period."—James J. Murphy, University of California, Davis

"Scholars have long understood that the Renaissance culture was defined by its virtual obsession with rhetoric, but many of the crucial texts have not been easily accessible or available in English translation. Wayne Rebhorn's valuable book now makes it possible for a wide range of readers to understand the key arguments that shaped fields as diverse as education, politics, philosophy, theology, and literature."—Stephen Greenblatt, Harry Levin Professor of Literature, Harvard University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801482069
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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