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CornellUniversityGoldwin Smith ProfessorOf Classical Languages
And Literature(1941-67)

May 11, 1968


Richard Leo Enos (TexasChristianUniversity)
Mark James (TexasChristianUniversity)
Harold Barrett (CaliforniaState University,Hayward,Emeritus)
Lois Agnew (TexasChristianUniversity)
Edward P. J. Corbett (Ohio State University,Emeritus)


least two facets of the documentprintedherefor the firsttime areremarkable. The firstremarkablefacet is how the text, which was originallydelivered orally to a listening audience,was convertedinto an edited, annotatedtext
that a literateaudiencecould read almost thirtyyears afterit was originally delivered.The second remarkablefacet is the enormousscope andinformativeness
of this history of rhetoricand oratorythat covers a period of nearly 2500 years.
Whatis so remarkable,you may be asking, abouta speech being finally convertedinto a printedtext thathundredsof literatepeople could read many years
later?Almost any educated person today could designate at least one spoken
text that was eventuallyconvertedinto a writtentext, in some cases many hundreds of years later.Perhapsthe most notableexample of such a conversionare
the many spoken words of Jesus that were transcribedby the Evangelists into
koine Greek and published in primitive manuscriptsand later translatedinto
hundredsof modem languagesthatarepreservedin printedtexts. I do not mean
to equate the words that HarryCaplan spoke at CaliforniaState University on
May 11, 1968 with the portentouswordsof Christ.I just wantto remindyou that
manytexts originallydeliveredorallywere latertranslatedandpublishedin written form.Well, then, whatis so remarkableaboutHarryCaplan'sspoken lecture
being later convertedinto a printedtext? When you read RichardLeo Enos's
account (in the Introductionthat follows) of what he and HaroldBarrett,Mark
James and Lois Agnew had to go throughto recover and edit and annotatethe
original speech in order to get it into print, you will agree with me that it is
amazingthat we now have a printedversion of that speech.

RSQ: Rhetoric Society Quarterly

Volume 27, Number 2 Spring 1997

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You will really understandwhat I mean when I referto the remarkablerange

and informativenessof HarryCaplan'slectureafteryou finish readingit. But at
this point, I can at least prepareyou for what you are about to read. Harry
Caplanpresents a history of rhetoricand oratoryfrom the time of the ancient
Greeksto the end of the 19thcentury.I would divide the body of his lectureinto
these nine segments:
The origins of rhetoric,first in Sicily and then in Greece


The period of the Second Sophistic, beginningwith the first Christian



Romanrhetoricand oratory


The fight between rhetoricand philosophy

The strugglebetweenrhetoricand sacredstudiesduringthe first Christian Century


Rhetoricin the MiddleAges


Rhetoricin the RenaissancePeriod


Rhetoricin the 18th and 19th centuries

Some of the greatoratorsof the Westernworld, primarilythose of the
19th and 20th centuries

George Kennedy devoted an entire book to cover the same span of history,
Classical Rhetoricand Its Christianand Secular TraditionfromAncientto Modern Times.
The reconstructionand edited text of HarryCaplan'slecturetook up forty-six
double-spacedtypedpages. One would expect such a speech to take at least two
hoursto deliver.(Remarkably,the recordingtime of the speech is seventy minutes, which is a sign of Caplan'srate of delivery.)Even those membersof the
listening audience at CaliforniaState University who were passionately interested in the historyof rhetoricwould have struggledto keep up. The writtentext
published here is much more audience-friendly.The great service that the four
editorsof this text have done for teachersand studentsof rhetoricthis late in the
twentiethcenturyis to make availablethe full text of thatilluminatinglecturein
a printedtext thatcan be absorbedand savoredby readersat their leisure.
EdwardP. J. Corbett
If it is not alreadyknown to readers,it will soon become apparentin the "Introduction"thatHarryCaplanwas one of this century'sgreat scholarsof rhetoric. Caplan'sinternationalrespectas a scholardid much to add credibilityto the
historical study of rhetoric,and his impact-personally and academically-is
difficultto measure.Perhapsthe best index of his impactis thatthe qualityof his

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pathbreakingresearchis undiminishedafterdecades of subsequentscholarship

on rhetoric'shistory.Some of Caplan'smore ardentadmirersmay even point to
him as one of the sources of inspirationthat initiatedthe amountand quality of
excellent scholarshipin the history of rhetoricthat we have witnessed in the
latterdecades of the twentiethcentury.While we are mindfulof the great gains
that have been made since the achievementsof individualssuch as Caplanand
his colleagues, we also recognize their worth and our indebtedness.
In this sense, Caplan'saddressis a primarysource for our present history of
rhetoric.Thatis, our reconstructionof Caplan'saddressshouldbe seen in three
respects.First,as a statementof importancein its own right,offeringa wealth of
insight gainedthrougha careerof productivescholarship.Second, as a sourceof
evidence for historianswho wish to engage in the task of chroniclingrhetoricin
the twentieth century.Without reconstruction,this manuscriptcould have remained buried in storage at Cornell. Now we have the opportunityto offer
Caplan'sinsights and opinions to historiansfor their examinationand analysis.
Thirdandfinally, as valuableas this contributionof HarryCaplan'sis in its own
right,we hope thatthis projectis also a paradigm,an illustrationof the need for
historiansof rhetoricto engage in primaryresearchand bring to light the artifacts of our own currenthistory.
HarryCaplanwas the Goldwin Smith Professorof Classical Languages and
Literatureat Cornell University from 1941 to 1967. Caplan's tenure as the
Goldwin Smith Professor parallels and is commensuratewith a period of humanisticscholarshipin rhetoricat Cornellthatis unparalleledin ourfield. While
the researchin historical rhetoric at Cornell was wide-ranging,the standards
were so uniformandidentifiablethatthey collectively came to be known as The
Cornell School of Rhetoric.This traditionof humanisticscholarshipin rhetoric
was forgedby some of the foundingluminariesof ourdiscipline:HoytH. Hudson,
JamesA. Winans,LaneCooper,AlexanderDrummond,EverettLee Hunt,Herbert
A. Wichelns,WilburSamuel Howell, HarryCaplan,and CarrollC. Arnold.
The scholarshipproducedby these and othermembersof The Cornell School
of Rhetoric is lucidly accounted for in Edward P. J. Corbett's "The Cornell
School of Rhetoric"(1989) as well as other readings suggested at the back of
this monograph.In the headnoteto his essay Corbettexpressed his belief that
many-particularly those in English-were not "awareof the contributionsthat
the Cornell School of Rhetoric had made to the revival of rhetoric"(289) and
went on to state his belief that that essay was "thebest article I've ever written
in my professional career."Corbetthoped that his statementwould make others aware of not only our classical tradition"butwho broughtit back" (289).
For many, including I am sure EdwardP. J. Corbett,HarryCaplan is the embodiment of that classical tradition.In keeping with the sentimentsof Corbett,
we wish to heighten sensitivity to our traditionby "bringingback" a lost address of HarryCaplan'sthatranksamong his most importantstatementsabout
rhetoricand oratory.

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HarryCaplanis best knownfor his 1964 Loeb ClassicalLibraryedition of the

Rhetoricaad Herennium,which is significantin two respects.First,his translation gave readersof English access to one of the most importantdocumentsin
the history of rhetoric. Second, and of shared importance,his accompanying
to the Rhetoricaad Herenniumprovidedreaders with an historical context for the treatise by presentinga lucid account of
Romanrhetoricanda list of sourcesfor continuedreading.In one volume,Caplan
gave readers a primarysource, a model for historical research and a body of
scholarshipfor continuedreading.Thereis little wonderthatCaplan'sscholarly
effort became a paradigmthat would influence historians of rhetoric for the
remainingdecades of this century.
HarryCaplan'scontributionsto historicalrhetoricprecededand followed his
publicationof the Rhetoricaad Herennium.His publicationsbegan in 1921 and
continuedinto 1967. More importantthanthe remarkableachievementof maintaining an active researchagenda that spannedfive decades is the quality and
inclusivenessof his scholarship.Caplan'sresearchin ancientandmedievalrhetoric found eager and appreciativereadersin the disciplines of Classical Studies,
Medieval Studies, Speech Communicationand English. Each claimed him as
their own. Caplan was Presidentof the American Philological Association, a
Fellow of the MedievalAcademyof Americaandan assistanteditorof TheQuarterly Journal of Speech.

Caplan'sachievementsin historicalrhetoricwerewell recognizedby such prestigious organizationsas the JohnSimon GuggenheimFoundationandthe American Councilof LearnedSocieties.This publicrecognitionwas morethanmatched
by decadesof appreciativestudents.TwiceCaplanwas acknowledgedby volumes
thatcame fromthe desireof students,colleaguesandfriendsto honorhis achievements: The Classical Tradition:Literary and Historical Studies in Honor of Harry

Caplan (ed. LuitpoldWallach,1965), a collection of thirty-eightessays; and Of

Eloquence: Studies inAncient and Medieval Rhetoric by Harry Caplan (eds. Anne

King and Helen North, 1970), a collection of Caplan'sown essays rangingfrom

articlesin the 1920's to a publicaddresspresentedin 1964.
In one respect, Caplan's studentsfar outnumberthose who were physically
presentin his classrooms at Cornell from 1919 to 1967. Caplanwas a visiting
professor at eleven universities and lectured at over thirty-eight institutions.
Caplan gave many of these public addressesafter his retirement,thereby presentingmuch of his accumulatedwisdom directly to a wide rangeof "students"
throughhis oral presentationsand subsequent,informalconversations.As brilliant as his scholarlyachievementswere, formercolleagues and studentsmaintain thattheir source of inspirationcame from knowing Caplandirectly.
The addresspresentedhereis one veryimportantillustrationof HarryCaplan's
post-retirementlectures.In 1968, HaroldBarrett,one of the editorsof thisproject,
was directorof the CaliforniaState UniversityConferencein RhetoricalCriticism at Hayward.HarryCaplan was a Visiting Professor at nearby Stanford
University at the time and was invited to present the KeynoteAddress for this
conference, "The Classical Tradition:Rhetoric and Oratory."Those who were

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present to hear the address hailed it as a scholarly tour-de-force,the sort of

statementthat offers insights that come only aftera lifetime of scholarship.
Barretttape-recordedCaplan'spresentationon that day and afterwardsasked
Caplan for permission to publish the address.At the time, Caplan wished to
have a better version of the paper and declined. Caplan,ever the perfectionist,
was constantly trying to "improve"his work; in fact, his editors for Of Eloquence,Anne King andHelen North,cited Caplan'sdesireto revise"completely"
some of his earlier essays that appearedin that volume (ix). King and North,
while noting (andappreciating)Caplan'swishes, nonethelessdecided to present
his works in their original form. In much the same respect, Caplan remained
unsatisfied with the text of this oral presentationdelivered at California State
University,Haywardon that springevening in May 1968. As a result, after his
death, the manuscriptremained unrevised and fallow, buried among the volumes of his otherpapersat CornellUniversity.
For severalyears,HaroldBarrettspokeof the excellentaddressCaplangave on
thatnight andlamentedthatits impactwould only be momentary,a shadowyand
fadingmemoryfor the relativelyfew who gatheredon thatnight.Even thoughit
has been almost thirty years since I was an undergraduate
in Barrett'srhetoric
classes, I can still recallhis concernover the loss of such a scholarlytreasure.For
the last threeyears,Barrettand I plannedfor a way to reconstructthis important
document.The literaryexecutorof HarryCaplan'sestate,SophieCaplan,was kind
enoughto grantus permissionto publishthe text of the addressand, to that end,
BarrettsearchedthroughHarryCaplan'spapersattheRareandManuscriptCollections at the CarlA. KrochLibraryat CornellUniversity.
Barrettwas able to secureandreproducethe originaltext of Caplan'saddress.
It became immediatelyclear why Caplanhad wished to do furtherwork on the
manuscript.Caplan had made numeroushand-writtenchanges and modifications on the typed manuscript.Fortunately,two technological aids gave us an
advantagein reconstructingthe manuscript.Barrett's audio tape of Caplan's
addressprovideda way to check modificationsboth orally andvisually. Second,
RadfordResearchAssistant, MarkE. James, helped in having the manuscript
scannedby computeratTexasChristianUniversityso thatwe could have a document constructedin a way to make changes clearly and efficiently.After James
had "cleaned"the text for the computer, he and Lois Agnew were able to compareand contrastthe originaldocumentwith the tape anduse thatrecordingas a
way of verifying textualchanges.At that stage I was workingindependentlyon
anothercomputer,makingmy own reconstructionof the text while doing backgroundresearchfor commentaryandbibliographythatwould providea context
for Caplan's address.These versions then were preparedin a mannerthat enabledus to compareand contrastour autonomousefforts and create a final synthesis for reconstructingthe address.
As indicatedabove, this text is complementedby notes, as well as suggested
backgroundreading,thatprovidereaderswith informationhelpfulto understanding the contextof HarryCaplan'sremarks.Certainly,in the thirtyyears since his
address,there has been a significantamountof revisionaryresearchon the his-

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tory of rhetoric,a greaterawarenessof women's contributionsto that history,

and a greatersensitivityto genderreferences.To this end, appendedto Caplan's
addressare suggested readingsfor works alluded to by Caplanas well current
scholarshipthatprovides a more recentperspectiveon the topics raised.
The documentthatyou see hereis the productof a collaborativeeffortin many
respects.The creationof this publishedtext literallyinvolved efforts from coast
(California)to coast (New York).The expertisenecessaryfor the reconstruction
of this manuscriptrequiredproficiency both in computertechnologies and in
rhetoricaltheory and history.The "knowledge"necessary to edit this work requiredbothinterpersonalexperiencesacquiredover severalyearsof contactwith
HarryCaplanand years of study of his scholarship.The end productis a consequence of how our technologies can move a piece of discourse from orality to
literacy.What HarryCaplanhad to say to his audienceback in 1968 will resonate today for its continuedrelevanceto our historiesof both ancient and modern rhetoric.What is also fascinatingaboutthis effort is how varioustechnologies can assist us in not only transformingoral discourseto literateform but, as
a consequence,can stabilizethatact of momentarycommunicationso thatHarry
Caplanwill continueto "speak"to generationsof studentsyet to come. Despite
our effortsandthe advantagesof currenttechnologies, however,what we cannot
capturein printis the lucidity of Caplan'soral delivery.The Cornell School of
Rhetoricmaintainedthatclassical rhetoricfacilitatedpublic speakingwhich, in
turn,helped studentsto realizethe best of a liberalartseducation.As a practiced
lecturerand formerinstructorof speech, Caplan'sseventy-minuteaddressillustratesthe classical value of unitingwisdom with eloquence.
A Note on the Commentary
As mentionedearlier,the manuscriptof ProfessorCaplan'saddresscontained
no explanatorynotes or citationreferences.Withoutsupportingmaterialreaders
would have little contextwithin which to understandthe salience of the remarks
and observationsmade by ProfessorCaplanon thatday almost thirtyyears ago.
In addition,the audience for this reconstructedtext is differentin other ways.
While many readerswill have extensive backgroundin the history of rhetoric,
othersmay not. To this end, works are cited thatwill familiarizethe lattergroup
of readerswith the informationandtopics thatProfessorCaplanalludedto in his
address.Wheneverpossible, the actualcitationof a mentionedworkis given; in
some instances,this was not possible. In othercases, generalbackgroundworks
are referenced;every effort has been made to cite works that would have been
availableat the time of ProfessorCaplan'saddress.In some instances,however,
laterworks actuallyprovidea more thoroughbackgroundfor the points that are
being discussed. Last, a list of suggested readingsis providedat the end of the
address.Some of the works are collections of HarryCaplan'sscholarship,others are by his colleagues and formerstudentsfrom Cornell and still others are
recommendedscholarshipabout Caplan and his era in rhetoricalscholarship.
All such materialis presented with the intent to enrich an understandingand
appreciationof the remarksoffered by HarryCaplanin this raredocument.
RichardLeo Enos

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A Public Address Given By Harry Caplan (Cornell University)
at California State University at Hayward May 11, 1968
icero and other ancientrhetoriciansrepeat a commonplacethat oratoryis
one of the earliestneeds of society.And indeednaturalspeakersareprominent alreadyin Homer:Nestor, "fromwhose mouthflowed speech sweeterthan
honey,"Odysseus "fertilein counsel,"andAchilles "a speakerof words as well
as doer of deeds."' The Greek was a zoon politik6n, "a political animal,"possessed of a strong civic feeling.2 He believed that the only kind of agreement
desirableamongrationalmen is thatachievedby free discussion;andparrhesia,
the right of the citizen to speak his mind, was staunchlyprized. It is fitting and
properthat an eloquent expressionof this pride should appearin a speech-the
funeral orationwhich Thucydidesputs into the mouth of Pericles: "WeAthenians decide, or reflect rightly upon, public questions for ourselves, believing
thatdiscussion does not constitutea stumbling-blockto action, but ratherthat it
is a mistakenot to be instructedby discussion before enteringupon action."3
After a historyof naturaleloquence-for Thucydidesand otherwriterstell us
about early Greek orators of power and persuasiveness-the art of rhetoric
emerged with the emergence of democracy,in the year 465 B.C., in the Greek
cities of Sicily.4Despots were thereoverthrownandpopulargovernmentsestablished. When disputesarose over confiscatedproperty,a class of trainedspeakers was found useful, and so the artof advocacywas methodicallystudied.The
earliesttreatiseswere those of Coraxand Tisias, who first saw the uses of argumentationfrom probabilities.
FromSicily rhetoricpassedto Greece,andthereunderwenta richdevelopment.
Let me indicatesome of the maincontributions.In the 5th Century[B. C.]:
* Empedocles inventedliterarydevices such as metaphor;
* Thrasymachusstudiedappealto the emotions;
* Theodorusof Byzantiumclassified the divisions of a discourse.
The sophistGorgias(5th-4thCenturyB.C.), dazzlingthe Athenianswith a new
type of artisticprose, initiatedepideictic(the oratoryof praiseand censure),and
those figures of speech which producebalance and rhythm.And Prodicus(5th
CenturyB.C) emphasizedthe correctchoice of words.The Sophiststraveledfrom
city to city collectinghuge sums frompupilswho wishedto learnargumentation.
These sophistsPlato,in the 4th CenturyB.C., in the dialogueentitledGorgias,
scathinglyindictedfor theirunscrupulousoratory,for makingthe worse appear
the better reason.5In the Republic he exiles both poetry and rhetoricfrom the


RSQ: Rhetoric Society Quarterly

Volume 27, Number 2 Spring 1997

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ideal State, but in the Phaedrus gives the blueprintof a rhetoricwhich should
lead men to justice, which should not merely delight them but should improve
them morally. And in that same dialogue he sets down the invaluableprinciple
that a speech should be a living organism, all membersbeing adaptedto the
To Isocrates(5th-4thCenturyB.C.) rhetoricis the noblestof the sciences.6 He
believed that it provides a general education, and that by its means he could
form statesmen."Nothing,"he said, "contributesso much to the practiceof virtue as does the studyof political wisdom and eloquence."On the technical side,
by developingrhythmicprose, he gave the Attic languagegrace and dignity.
Aristotle convertedthe practical approachof his predecessorsinto a philosophical system. Rhetoricis now a counterpartof dialectic, is the artof critical
examinationinto the truthof an opinion.7 Though differentfrom the special
sciences, rhetoricis a discipline by itself. Its matteris largely ethics and politics, but it has relations also with psychology, jurisprudence,and literarycriticism. The kinds of oratoryarethree:legal-whose end is justice; deliberativewhose end is expediency (he favorsthis branch);and epideictic-whose end is
virtue, commemoratingpersons, places, and days, and taking the form of the
funeraloration,the invective,the addressof welcome, or the after-dinnerspeech.
With scientific skill Aristotledevelops the threekinds of proof-the logical, the
emotional, and the ethical, ethical persuasionbeing that achieved throughthe
speaker'scharacteras artisticallyevinced in his discourse.The treatmentof the
emotions in Book II of his Rhetoricdisplays an extraordinarilyshrewdknowledge of humannature,and Book III, on Style, sets clarity and proprietyin the
foreground,andconsidersthe distinctionsbetweenprose andpoetic diction, and
between oral and writtenstyle. Of the kinds of competencespeakersmust master, the Inventionof ideas holds first place, for rhetoricis the artof discovering
all the possible means of persuasion.
Aristotle's disciple, Theophrastus(4th-3rdcenturyB.C.), developed a theory
of delivery-a function of the artwhich was not philosophicalenough to interest his master-and exerteda stronginfluence throughhis treatmentof the four
chief qualitiesof Style-purity, clarity,appropriateness,and ornamentation.
A new phase beganin the thirdcenturyB.C., when, chiefly because of political conditions,greatspeakinghad ceased. Only Hermagoras,in the second century,deserves special mentionhere. He made rhetoriconce againprominentby
buildingthe doctrineof Issues which determinethe kinds of case; this doctrine
became a staple of theoryin most of the subsequenttreatises.
The Second Sophistic,8which began in the first Christiancentury,represents
the last, and scholastic, phase, and we can take as representativeHermogenes
(Second Century),whose art, though it has many virtues, is featured also by
subtleties,obscureterminology,and excessive refinements.9
Rhetoricis of course interwovenwith criticism.At about 50 B.C. Dionysius
of Halicarnassuswrote systematicstudies of the great Greekorators,seeing re-

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rations among them, and tracing the historical progress.10At times he is mechanical and fails to contemplatethe oratoras a whole, but in generalhis judgment and taste are excellent, and his treatmentis often enlivened by personal
reactions. His criticism wrought a salutarycheck on the florid and bombastic
style of the Asianic orators,for Asianism flourishedin both East andWest after
the deathof Demosthenes.
A centurylater(as some of us still think),Longinus,in his golden book On the
Sublime,observes the humanspirit-elevated thoughtand inspiredpassion-at
work in great speakingand writing.
So much for the theory.The high period of Attic oratorywas the fifth and
fourthcenturiesB.C., with their ten speakers,canonized as a group in the second or thirdcenturyB.C."1
Near the beginning of artisticargumentation,Antiphon,relying on a priori
probabilities,and with a crudebut vigorous style.
The unconventionalAndocides, good in narrative,but loose in style.
Lysias, model of the simple style, of good taste, moderateness,precision, and
skill in character-delineation.
The intellectualIsaeus, interestingfor his lucidity.
Isocrates,exemplarof the Middle Style, most elaborateof all in his attention
to expression.
Demosthenes,who best blendedall threetypes of style, the grand,the simple,
and the intermediate,perfect in his control of language, and spokesmanof the
highest sincerityfor the ideals of democracy.'2
Aeschines, powerfulin his effect on audiences,clever in his wit.
The honest and patrioticLycurgus,a less carefulIsocrates.
Hyperides, highly regardedin antiquityfor his smoothness and persuasiveness, andDinarchus,with his exaggeratedinvectives;by the ancientstermedthe
or "Small-BeerDemosthenes,"and representingthe beginnings
of decline.
Here you have a splendid,perhapsas a body, unequalledoratoricalliterature.
It is safe to say thatthe Philippics and Olynthiacspeeches of Demosthenes, and
the exciting debate between Demosthenes and Aeschines on the awardof the
crownto Demosthenes,rankwith the greatspeechesof all time. Lysias,Isocrates,
andIsaeusbrokenew paths;Aeschines, Demosthenes,andHyperideshave been
called the perfectors.These last came at a time when theoryhad also developed,
and manualsof the arthad multiplied.
At this junctureI shouldremindyou thatin a legal trialin Greece the accused
conductedhis own case. Many who were not equal to this task thereforehired
speech-writers.'3Of the oratorsI have named,six especially-Antiphon, Isaeus,
Hyperides,Demosthenes,Dinarchus,andwith greatestskill Lysias-often wrote
speeches for their clients to deliver. I mentionthis logographybecause in other
forms it often recursin history. Thatthe philosopherSeneca wrote speeches for
the emperorNero was a scandal;butwe have very muchwith us todaythe ghostwritersof campaignand otherkinds of speeches.

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Finally, a word on the last ancientrevivalof eloquence- the Second Sophistic-which, as I have said, beganin the firstChristiancentury.These latersophists were professional speakerswho would appearwith eclat before large and
enthusiastic audiences, and display great feats of improvisation and verbal
memory. But their aim was often only virtuosity,and tremendoustalent was
spent on achieving what was at times indeed witty and graceful,but frequently
also empty andpuerile.Dio Chrysostomwrote a eulogy of hair,and Synesius, in
answer, an encomium of baldness. In the declamatorykind of talk the speaker
might representsome figure of history-Philip of Macedonmight well take anotherverbalbeatingfrom a feigned Demosthenes.I recommendto you the witty
satireon this kind of oratoryentitled TheProfessor of Public Speaking,written
by Lucian in the second Christiancentury-himself a rhetoricianand pleader.
Yet some of the moral,political, and even sophisticalspeeches make interesting
reading. The speakersdid returnto Classical models, but their art was of the
schools, practicedfor its own sake, in largepartremovedfrom life, the product
of a time of leisure and wealth, but also of a time when free speech was restricted.Epideicticis the mainoccupation,andthe scholastictreatises,with their
often sterilemethods,now come into use. These treatises-by Menander,Theon,
Hermogenes,Apsines, Aphthonius-are to be entrenchedfor many centuries,
both in the East and in the West. In the East indeed they ruledthroughoutall of
Byzantine history;tractsreworkingtheir principles,but without substantialalterations,proliferated.14The chief additionwas in the form of Christianmotives. Byzantineoratory,too, was largelyepideictic,Photiusin the ninthcentury
standingout as the most successful in returningto old models.
But the decline of Greekoratoryreally dates from the deathof Alexanderthe
Greatin 323 B.C., afterwhich, underabsolutemonarchy,oratorywas divorced
from practicalaffairs.It remainednow for expandingRome to enjoy a careerof
splendorin oratoryand fruitfulactivity in rhetoric.
The Greek art of rhetoricwas first naturalizedat Rome in the middle of the
second centuryB.C., andLatintreatiseson the subjectwere soon in circulation.
Cato Major and the elder MarcusAntonius wrote such texts-we don't have
them-and the two oldest extant, belonging to the second decade of the first
centuryB.C., though Greek in substance,yet show signs, too, of a traditionof
Latin teachingbehindthem.
We had from Aristotle and Theophrastusfour divisions of rhetoric-the invention of ideas, their arrangement,style, and delivery.Memory came in as a
fifth division, in the time after Alexander. The Roman treatise addressed to
Herennius,whichpreservesGreekdoctrine,gives an elaboratetreatmentof natural
and artificial memory, the memory of facts and of words, based on a visual
scheme of backgrounds."5This kind of mnemonic trainingwas to bear fruit in
extraordinaryfeats duringthe Second Sophistic, and a history of the method,
which persiststo the presentday (even in the paperthe night before last, which

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I read on the plane) would require several volumes. Let a speaker of the 4th
Christiancentury,Prohaeresius,serve as an example of sophistic virtuosity:
When his enemies-these were studentsof anotherteacher---challenged
Prohaeresiusto speak, unprepared,on a difficult theme, he not only extemporizedwith a flood of eloquence, but then also deliveredthe speech
verbatima second time. His faithfulpupil Eunapiustells us that some of
the audiencekissed his feet andhands,declaringhim to be the very model
of Hermes,God of Eloquence,while his enemies lay in the dust, eatenup
with envy.'6
By Cicero's time the five-fold division of the rhetoricalfunctions is fully developed.17 Cicero as theoristcombines the doctrinesof Aristotle and Isocrates,

bringingto bearalso the wisdom gainedby his own richpracticeas leaderof the
State and advocatein many trials. With large vision he sets up for the oratoran
ideal of humanexcellence-he wants much more than professional skill. The
aim is humanitas-a wide and noble cultureembracinga knowledge of history,
jurisprudence,philosophy,and literature.
At the end of the first Christiancentury,duringthe Empire,Quintilianaimed
to revive the Ciceronianprinciples in his twelve books on the training of an
orator-rhetoric is the centerof a broadliteraryeducation,andits ideal is one of
moral virtue." With sanity and judicious practicalitythis experienced schoolmastersummarizesvirtuallyall of the ancient art.
Roman oratoryexisted long before the elder Cato, but as a literaryartit may
be saidto havebegunwith him, at the beginningof the 2nd centurybefore Christ.
In one of our oldest extantRomantreatiseson rhetoric-86 B.C.-orators of the
preceding century,in a long list, already serve as models for style.'9 Cicero
indeed thoughtthat CrassusandAntoniusrivaledthe best speakersof Greece.20
Of their speeches we have only fragments,21but we have also Cicero's observation thatin the previoushistoryof Romanoratorytherewas a progressivedevelopmentfrom untaughtspeakingto a polished style which was the productof the
conscious study of the art.
Most public men at Rome spoke effectively, but for the height of excellence
we must read the speeches of Cicero, great theorist and great oratorboth. We
have57 of his orations,andfor the inspirationof lofty ideas,the SecondPhilippic,
the Verrines, the Defense ofArchias, the Defense of Milo, of Caelius, and of the

Manilian Law in my opinion stand out from most of the rest. Here is noble
language handled with such vivacity, clearness, and music that it became the
model for centuries-lucid, ornate,with perfect periods and rhythms. Cicero
opposed both the affectation and bombast of Asianism, and the coldness and
stiffness of extremeAttic simplicity.22
Withthe deathof Cicero and of the RomanRepublicthe great traditioncame
to an end.23Political oratorywas now restrictedvirtually to the emperor,who

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wielded absoluteauthority,andwhen he addressedthe Senatehis aim was rather

to impose his will thanto persuade;the Senate'sduties were largely administrative, and speech was not really free-especially when Caligula, Nero, and
Domitian occupied the throne;the popularassemblies had no power;legal oratory was confinedto the petty courts;andepideicticspeakingstartedon a course
of progressivedegenerationthatreachedbottomin the panegyricsof the 3rd and
4th centuries-these have been termed, perhapstoo harshly,one of the most
worthlessbequestsof antiquity,for theirservile flatteryof the emperorsto whom
they were addressed.
Oratoryis for the most partnow confined to the schools, where declamation
predominated. Unreal, melodramatic,trivial fare (too often)-tyrants, pirates,
disinheritedchildren,poisonings,andseductionwerethe themestoo oftentreated,
and emphasis was placed on ingenuity,abundance,bizarreextravagance,mannerism, and dazzling ornament. The aims of this oratorywere entertainment
and display,the pleasuresof the ear. It was an activity shuntedaway from life.
And a contemporary,Cassius Severus, cries: "These declaimers are like hothouse plants that cannotstandup in the open air."
We can profitablycomparethe decline of Athens afterthe deathof Alexander,
when the city lost its importance,with the decline at Rome. The Greek Second
Sophistic and the decline in the West merge, and the manifestationsare not dissimilar.

During the first Christiancentury at Rome, the decadence was a subject of

lively consideration,andI presentthe chief theoriesthen advancedto explain it.
Some attributedthe decline to the growthof wealth and luxury-"wealth accumulates and men decay"-some to the bad elements I have describedin education; some, like Seneca the ElderandVelleius Paterculus,believed in the operation of a naturallaw of reaction-that which has reachedits acme mustperforce
recede; but Pliny and Tacitusand Longinus were sure that the chief cause was
the loss of freedom. Says Longinus:"Must we really believe that oft-repeated
observationthatdemocracyis the kind foster-motherof greatness,andthatliterary excellence may be said to flourish only with democracy,and with democracy to die? For freedomhas the power to nourishthe imaginationof the highmindedandto kindle hope, andwhereit prevailstherespreadsabroadthe zeal of
mutualrivalryand the ambitiousstrugglefor pre-eminence."24
With respect to Greece, ProfessorJebb accepts the political explanationfor
the decay of deliberativeand legal oratory,but for the decline in epideictic he
assigns anothercause.25The decay of citizen-life in the Greekrepublicsbrought
about a change in the natureof Greek art.That arthad been popular, fixing its
attentionon the essential andtypical, and suppressingthe accidental,trivial,and
transient.Whenthe moralunityof the city-statewas broken,andmen lived apart
from the city, the artistworkedfor a few, and caste and coterie make capricious
judges. Thereis no lasting securityfor truthin artisticcreationexcept an intelligent public. Cicero said thathe acceptedthe Romanpublic as the finaljudge of

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his speaking,while Pliny, underthe Empire,was indifferentto public approval

and was satisfied if only his friend Tacitusthought his speeches good. Recall
thatwhen in 411 B.C. Antiphonwas convicted of treasonupon the failureof the
revolutionof the antidemocratic400, he delivered what Thucydidescalled the
best speech of defense he had ever known.26When afterAntiphon'scondemnation, Agathonpraisedhis speech, Antiphonsaid he "wouldratherhave satisfied
one man of virtue throughguile than any numberof ordinarypeople." In the
EudemianEthics,Aristotletakesthisprincipleas a meansindexof megalopsykhia,
greatnessof soul.
The traditionof rhetoricalteachingwas in the main constantduringthe Greek
and Roman periods. Grammarand rhetoricdominatededucation, maintaining
also a connectionwith linguistic and literarystudies.27Much time was given to
narrative,essay-writings,paraphrases,ethical themes, commonplaces, character studies, the analysis of model speeches, and speech-makingof all the three
The Greeks and Romansdid not studyprose apartfrom poetry.As Quintilian
says, Homeris the suprememodel not only for poetic powerbut also for oratorical. Poetry, as in the speeches delivered in tragedies, supplied the student of
rhetoricwith illustrativematter;and the two artssharedin common the field of
andemotion-poetry portrayingthe emotions,rhetostyle, character-delineation,
ric arousingthem. The study of poetry was consideredessential in the training
of the speaker,and conversely, rhetoricalprinciples were carried over to the
studyof poetry,even as Horaceadoptedcharacter-sketchingand otherelements
of the artof rhetoricin his Art of Poetry.We laterfind many recurrencesof this
close interrelationship.
The study of rhetorichad an effect also on historiography.The narratio, the
statementof facts, is one of the divisions of a speech, andtheorizingupon it was
in the period afterAlexanderbound up with the theory of writing history,even
as epideictic theory was linked with the theory of biography.28We go to the
period of Silver Latin, however-in the first and second centuriesof the Christian era-to observe how the contemporarytrainingin rhetoricwas a formative
factorin variousbranchesof literature.In TacitusandSuetoniuswe see the search
for epigram;in the work of Velleius Paterculusan altogetherrhetoricalkind of
history; in Valerius Maximus and Silius Italicus sententious reflections; the
speeches, and the stock characters,in Seneca's tragedies;or in Lucan the passion for point.
I come now to the strugglebetween rhetoricandphilosophyfor supremacyin
education:there have always, so it seems, been those who distrustrhetoric.The
opposition-whether philosophical,religious, educational,or political-has at
one time or other mostly takenthese forms:
Rhetoric-public speaking-has no regardfor instructionor truth,but
seeks only deception;it is devoid of sincerity,and so corruptsthe young;

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it is immoral,teachingthatthe only moralityis thatestablishedby public

opinion-truth becomes thatwhich the audiencebelieves.
It is unphilosophical,dealing not with universalsbut with particulars;it
aims at appearances-its sphereis that of opinion and conjecture.
It is an art of flattery,pleasing the crowd and conforming to its standards-the harlotof the arts.
It is not an artbut a knack, like selling merchandise,or like thievery;it
needs only experienceandpractice-but many successful speakersnever
studied rules. (Here I have-in effect, though not in his own wordsgiven you argumentsof the early Plato.)29Othercritics continue:unlike
philosophy,rhetoricdoes not conduce to a happylife.
Thoughit worshipssuccess,it does notproducestatesmenor conferpower;
ingloriouslydid Ciceropay for his fame in oratoryby the kind of deathhe
died-sacrificed by Octavianto the animosity of Marc Antony, and his
head and severed handsexposed at the Rostra.30
Further,it is a waste of time, futile and trivial;every care centers on the
apparatusof words and the nimblenessof tongue.
In the ancient period the fight between rhetoric and philosophy continued
from the time of Plato up to the second Christiancentury.The Stoics distrusted
ornamentallanguageand appealsto the emotions, but made contributionsto the
artin the field of composition;the Epicureansadmittedthatrhetoricwas useful
for political activity (to which they were indifferent)but did not accept the doctrine of Cato and Quintilianthat the oratorwas necessarily a good man,3"arguing thatmanyoratorsare able but in characterdepraved;the Peripateticscontinued the AristotelianandTheophrastianconcernwith rhetoric,but in the second,
pre-ChristiancenturyCritolauswas opposedto the discipline;even the authorof
the treatiseon rhetoricaddressedto Herenniusbelieved philosophy to be a better studythanrhetoric.32And by the fourthChristiancenturythe EmperorJulian
complainsthattalentedmen of the Westdelight only in rhetoric.The philosophical opinionnevercompletelydies: the RenaissancePlatonist[Francesco]Patrizi
takes up the fight against rhetoricand once more contendsthat it is not an art.
And also Melanchthon,GiovanniPico della Mirandola,and ErmolaoBarbaro,
again debate the subjectin a very lively way.33And in the 19th centuryRenan
alleged thatrhetoric,along with poetics, was the sole errorof the Greeks.
The political attackis especially enlightening:Cicero is wrong in saying that
eloquence is an associate of peace, an ally of tranquillity,the foster-childof a
Rhetoricdoes not grow in such an order.Stateswith
well-regulatedcivic order.34

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a vigorous militaristicconstitutionlike Cretebanishedrhetoricians;Spartacondemneda citizen who had studiedrhetoricabroad;andrhetoricwas unknownin

totalitarianMacedoniaand Persia.
It destroys commonwealths;by the death of Demosthenes Athens was destroyed.
It is a foster-childof license, which foolish men call liberty,an associate of
sedition. Maternusin Tacitus'Dialogue on Oratorsexclaims: "Whatneed of a
long succession of speeches before the public assembly when now (underthe
Empire) it is not the ignorantmultitudethat deliberateson the public welfare,
but one man-and he the all-wisest!"35
Muchlater,in 1548, JohnJewel, Praelectorin Humanitiesat Oxford:"Rhetoric is devised for error,profit,and democraticheedlessness;it appealsnot to the
judicious, but to the scum of the populace."
And not so long ago (in my own memory),in 1916, the scholarDrerup,a very
good student of Isocrates, with scorn for that provincial lawyer-talker
Demosthenes, who had the effronteryto defend his mean little State against
efficient Macedonand to resistthe wave of the future,made an appealto banish
the Greek oratorfrom the schools of Germany.
Finally,a few monthsago, TheNew Yorklimes reportedthatthe presentGreek
governmenthas condemnedthe readingof Pericles'funeralorationin Thucydides
because of its democraticspokesmanship.36
The Christianopposition was differentfrom the philosophical,for when sacred literaturewas set againstsecular,the conflict became one also of conflicting literarycultures.TakePaulusAlbarusof the 9th centuryas typical: "In the
beginning was the Word. This Plato knew not, Cicero knew not, Demosthenes
knew not. The grammariansknew this not; the geometriciansknew this not; the
rhetoricians,wordy and redundant,have filled the air with empty wind."The
point often made is thatrhetoricis useless in man'sendeavorto save his soul; on
the Day of Judgmentthe sinnerwon't help himself with epideictic oratory.Furthermore,worldly success is no worthyaim of a Christian;andthe praiseworthy,
the laudabile, aim of deliberativeoratoryis unChristian,appertainingas it does
to vainglory; the point is made that the books of the pagans never knew the
humilitywhich the New Testamentpreaches.St. Jeromeundergoesa conversion
from Ciceronianto Christian.St. Augustine, former teacher of rhetoric,in the
Confessionslooks back with misgivings upon the days when he "sold the talkativenessthatemphasizesvictory."And the headingof this section in an American edition reads (believe me): "WhenI taughtrhetoric,and kept a mistress, I
yet showed traces of faith in Thee, 0 Lord."37
But the rhetoricaltraditionwas too strongto go under,andthe only significant
change was thatin the MiddleAges rhetoricbecame subordinateto sacredstudies. St.Augustine in his work,On ChristianDoctrine,dependsheavilyon Cicero,
joins eloquenceto religion, andproclaimsits value for Theology.In justification
he writes, and othersrepeatafterhim, that"it is no sin to despoil paganthought

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of the gold of wisdom or the silver of eloquence, as by God's preceptthe Hebrews despoiled the Egyptians."Cassiodorussees himself as the ideal Christian
orator,andGregoryof Nazianzuswrites:"Ihaveretainednothingfor myself but
eloquence, nor do I regret any of the labor I have expended on sea or land in
search of it. After the duties of religion, it is the possession I have most cherished, and to which I cling the most. It is my guide on my heavenwardpath;it
leads insensiblyto God, andteachesus to know Him moreclearly,andpreserves
and strengthensthat knowledge in us."
Finally (and perhapswith too muchjustice to the other side), I cannot forebearto tell you of the debatethattook place in the CambridgeUniversityUnion
on March 11, 1924. The subject:"Resolvedthat this House has the highest regard for rhetoric."For the motion: 297; against the motion, believe it or not,
297! I hope you will be relievedto hearthatthe Chairmansaved the day by his
affirmative vote. The chief speaker in opposition? Prime Minister Stanley
Baldwin, who began: "I am no speakeras Brutusis, but a plain, blunt man"thus using the oldest trick in the trade. But you are not to take the charming
flippancy of the BritishUniversityUnions seriously.
The defenders of rhetoric have also based their argumentson a variety of
grounds.Aristotlein his Rhetoricand Quintilianamplyvindicatedthe artagainst
Plato's charges.Rhetoricis useful because truthandjustice have a naturaltendency to prevail over their opposites; the true and the just are by their nature
easier to prove and to believe in. Rhetoricis the artof makingtrutheffectivenot the speaker,as with the Sophists.We presenttwo sides of a case in orderto
see whatthe facts are.All good things except virtueitself can be abused.Rhetoric is a good, given the imperfectionsof humannatureand the requirementsof
populargovernment.The persuasionof the multitudeis not a vulgartask, but a
necessary partof educationand governmentin a stable society. [It continues to
be a useful study so long as men discuss statementsand maintainthem, defend
themselves, and attackothers.]38
So also the Frenchpreacherand scholarFenelon,in the year 1679, taughtthat
the aim of eloquence was to persuademen to truthand virtue.39
In 1815, the poet Goethe, conscious of the innateGermandistrustof rhetoric,
andseeing thatGermanylackedthe conditionswhich madethe Romancepeoples
the heirs of Rome, declaredthatrhetoricwas one of humanity'sgreatestneeds.
Paul Shoreymaintainedthata knowledgeof rhetoricrendersthe citizen proof
againsttrickylogic, false emotions, and empty style.
But John Morley dealt with the subjectin one shortsentence: "Todisparage
eloquence is to depreciatemankind."
As we leave the ancientswe may ask: why the exceptionalfavor accordedto
rhetoricin Greece and Rome? The underlyingidea which persistedthroughout
the ancientperiod,in times even when political conditionsprovidedno urgency
for great speaking,was thatto learnto speak well was at the same time to learn
to think well and to live well. Eloquence had a trulyhumanvalue transcending

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the practicalapplicationswhich historicalcircumstancescould confer upon it. It

was the conveyorof the culturalpatrimonywhich distinguishedman from savage and made him truly man. To the ancients,rhetoricwas bound up intimately
with their life of order and beauty, their poetry and their art. It developed a
concernfor form and artisticability,held the interestof theirbest men of action,
and deeply influenced their literature.
From Carolingiantimes-the 8th and 9th centuries-well into the Renaissance, rhetoricas one of the liberal arts was figuredin church sculptures,muof libraryrooms,fountains,tablerals,manuscripts,miniatures,the ornamentation
tops, bronze vessels, windows, tapestry,altars,and gravestones;in many places
of Europe,and the handiworkoften of famous artists. Rhetoricappearsusually
in female form,40and Cicero is almost always her attendant.At times she holds
a pose perhapsintendedto be faithfulto MartianusCapella's(5th century)striking portraitof her as omnipotentqueen, sublime and radiantbeauty and regal
poise, helmeted, her robe embroideredwith a multitudeof figures.41
Consistently throughoutthe Middle Ages rhetoricplayed a cardinalrole in
education.In the first place, manuscriptsof some of the chief classical authors
themselves were plentifulin the libraries.Secondly,therewere the works of the
minor rhetoriciansof later date who, following the compendiousfashion of an
encyclopedia, preservedthe principles of ancient rhetoric.Thirdly,there were
commentarieson severalof the classical works.And finally, there were special
tractson rhetoricalcolors, as the figures of speech were called.
Rhetoricwas in close kinship with grammarand dialectic, these three disciplines formingthe trivium of the liberal arts.The rhetoricaluse of the topics of
dialectic, developed by Aristotle, and for the Middle Ages by Boethius in the
early sixth century,became of special importancewith the increasedinterestin
dialectic thatafterthe year 1100 attendedthe growthof scholasticism.42Dialectic infiltratedboth grammarandrhetoric,andall threebecame branchesof logic.
The rhetoricaleducation,as I have said, flourishedin the schools of Europe,and
by the twelfth centuryin the cathedralschools, monasteries,city schools, and
later in the universities.And it was included in the curriculumof the religious
orders.An anonymousrhetoricianof the fifteenthcenturycan boast that "rhetoric is the science which refreshesthe hungry,rendersthe mute articulate,makes
the blind to see, andteaches one to avoid every lingualineptitude."Furthermore,
in the traditionthat rhetoricis fundamentallythe art of speaking well on civil
questions, there arose a group of works like the Ecclesiastical Rhetoric of the
twelfth century,virtuallya forensic rhetoricof canon law. Also in this tradition,
and maintainingthe alliance of rhetoricand law in the schools, there grew up
from Carolingiantimes well into the later period a huge and tremendouslyimportantmass of treatises, artes dictaminis, devoted to letter-writingand legal
administration.43These were designed to preparestudentsfor positions in the
ecclesiastical and statechanceries;the artassumedthe name of rhetoric,andthe
teacherscalled themselvesrhetors.Almost universallythese tractsborrowedthe

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partsof the discourse from rhetoric,addingfrom epistolographythe Salutation

and the Appeal, frequentlyused the principlesof Invention,Arrangement,and
the capturingof good will, and discussed rhythmicalcadences, the colors (or
figures of speech), and the modes of expanding the material. One can gain
some notion of the esteem in which these handbookswere held from the bargain made by the usuriouswardrobeclerk of the 14thcentury,Johnof Ockham,
who lent the manuscriptsof two arts of dictamen to a friend at a charge of a
goose per week.
But the great field of persuasionin the Middle Ages was in preaching,the
winning of souls to God."4In its origin, as Israel Bethan put it uniquely, "the
creationof the Jewish spirit.""4Withthe spreadof scholasticismand the rise of
the great preachingorders,the Dominicans and Franciscans,Christianpreaching floweredin practiceand theory.We know of perhaps200 manualsthat were
composed from the twelfth centuryon. The manuscriptswere scatteredplentifully over the librariesof Europe.For example, a catalogueof the year 1500 of
the libraryof TegernseeAbbey lists over 50 manuscriptson rhetoricand twelve
on preaching.Now the artof preachinggrew out of its own functions and in its
developmentbenefited also from the doctrineof logic; we cannot say that in it
classical rhetoricbloomed in full again. But we find evidence of considerable
influence. Severalauthors,for example, set the thematicform of preaching,the
unique contributionof medieval theory, squarelyupon the basis of Ciceronian
rhetoric;its divisions fulfill the aim of teaching(docere),its distinctionsthe aim
of delighting (delectare), and its expansions the aim of moving to action

Amplification is again a primary method, and rhetorical colors and

rhythmsagain receive special attention.Some authorswould say, with William

of Auvergne,thatthe more simple andunadorneda sermonis, the more it moves
and edifies. The questionindeed still comes up today:do we want Cicerosin our
pulpits? But the others favored"coloration,"as embellishmentwas sometimes
called. ThomasWaleysin 1300 sees no harmin food thus delicately served,but
these rhythmicalcolors shouldnot be used to excess, as by those preacherswho
fill the entire sermonwith words endingin -ilis and -trilis and -osus and -bosus.
The modulationof the voice, andgestures,are often treatedin these handbooks,
and Cicero is quotedon the virtue of timely humor-to be used when the hearers begin to sleep. Some of these tractsobviously substitutemechanicaloperations in the place of individualinvention-in these instances one sees the third
stage in the naturalhistory of an art:first we have a period of inspiration;secondly, theory arises, and is followed by a period of artistic composition; and
finally may come over-elaboratetheoryresultingin automaticprocesses.
The theological environmentis significant. Roger Bacon saw the value of
rhetoricin moral philosophy.Nor is it surprisingthat William of Auvergne, in
the 13th century, should write a Divine Rhetoric, Rhetorica Divina, a rhetoric of

prayer.The introductorypoem reads as follows: "Yourwisdom, Cicero and

Quintilian,was hopeless, vain, and treacherous.You taught only how to move

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the heartof a humanjudge, whereasour lofty artteaches us to mollify the wrath

of that GreatJudge, even God. Ah, how much betterwith words to placate the
puissantandeternalFather!"The passagefromthe HebrewMidrashiccommentary, Sifre, comes to mind: "Nothingis more beautiful than prayer;it is more
beautiful even than good works."In William's Divine Rhetoric, the parts of a
prayer,like those of a speech, include the Introduction,Statementof Facts, and
Conclusion, and like those of dictamen, an Appeal, and a corroborationof the
Appeal. One chapteris devotedto the gesturesof prayer,like prostrationof the
body, genuflection, spreadingand elevating the hands, and raising the eyes to
heaven; while anotherconsiders seven vocal aids to prayer-wailing, sighing,
sobbing, and the like. And I have here somethingfrom TheNew Yorklimes that
appearedlast month.The Archbishopof Yorkis criticizingthe presenceof-the
way prayersaretakenin his church-the gesturesof the audience.He told members of the congregationthattheir heads should not be buriedin their armsduring prayers.He addedthatsuch sloppinessinduces sleep thatleads to a muttered
"Amen."Even Memoriahas a place in this prayerin the RhetoricaDivina-the
memory of divine benefits; and prayerhas its own kind of pleading-the Plea
for Mercy, the deprecatio, subheadof the concessio, if you rememberthe old
Latinrhetoric,the acknowledgmentof the child, adaptedfromthe ancienttheory
of the juridicalissue.47But Ekkehardof St. Gall had two centuriesearliersaid
thatthe plea of the confessionaltranscendedthatof the law-courts:In the courts
of law confession is the weakest plea, in prayerit is the strongest.
Lastly, there was in the Middle Ages the usual interactionbetween rhetoric
and poetics-I might say a virtualidentificationof the two. In the artsof poetry
of the 12th and 13th centuriespoetics is narrowedto Style, and amplification
andornamentationthroughthe figuresof speech arethe chief concern.The main
sourcesof doctrine,apartfromHorace'sArtof Poetry,arethe anonymousRhetoric
addressedto Herenniusand Cicero's book On Invention.48
These two ancientbooks dominatedthe traditionof the MiddleAges.49They
appearwith greatfrequencyin extant catalogues of medieval libraries,and our
claims to a continuity of traditionare best illustratedby the careerof Cicero's
treatiseof Invention.50One of my students,Miss Dorothy Grosser,has demonstratedthatthis book enjoyedan influenceuninterruptedfor well over ten centuries, and not only in the fields of rhetoric,poetics, and dictamen, but also in
chronicles,letters,biographies,philosophicalandreligiousworks,andeven treatises on music.
Thus the Middle Ages received, adapted,and transmittedthe classical art of
rhetoric. The ancient artcontributedto the medieval artsof speaking and writing, to the composition of letters and legal documents, to preaching,prayers,
and poetry.And Professor McKeon has shown how it contributedalso to the
canons of scripturalinterpretation-Cassiodoruswrote on the eloquence of the
whole divine law-and to the developmentof the Scholastic method; how its
function came to be to statethe truthscertifiedby theology.51 Classical rhetoric
takes us deep into the cultureof the MiddleAges.

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The Renaissancewelcomed ancientrhetoricwith enthusiasm.52The revivalof

learningbroughtback the majorrhetoricaltreatises-think now of the works of
Cicero'smaturity,of Aristotle'sRhetoric,LonginusOn the Sublime,the speeches
of Cicero, and the Greekorators.Cicero's book On Inventionand the Rhetorica
ad Herenniumwere, however,still important,and were translatedinto the vernaculartongues, as were the speeches of Cicero andDemosthenes.The best and
full tradition was now available, and was used in the new text-books-by
[Bartolomeo]Cavalcanti,[Cyprian]Soarez,Georgeof Trebizond-and afterthe
inventionof printingenjoyed unheard-ofpopularity.
The revivalbegan as a revivalof Cicero, with Petrarch,attractedby perfection
of form, as its leader."I do not fear being thoughta bad Christianby avowing
myself so much a Ciceronian.Of all the writers of all the ages and of all the
racesthe one authorI most admireis Cicero."Severalrecentscholarshavetaught
us how the ideal of the Renaissance humanist was the educated man free in
thoughtand action, how the instrumentof this freedomwas foundin the ancient
literatures,how the Renaissancesaw in Cicero the greatexemplarof virtue and
civic consciousness, and in his eloquentiathe union of good letters with virtue.
We now meet that interesting movement, Ciceronianism,which spread over
WesternEurope and flourishedfor over a century.For its followers there was
only one model, Cicero.An extremeCiceronianlike Longeuil was proudthathe
read nothingbut Cicero for five years. Politian attackedthe slavish imitationof
a single model, and Erasmus'satiredealt the movementits coup-de-grace.But
it is significantthat even the rebels sharedthe enthusiasmfor Cicero, who continued "to hold the crown, diadem, sceptre, and throne of eloquence."He was
still "tobe imitatedwith utmostzeal, above all the rest, but now not exclusively,
nor totally, nor always."And even Erasmusexpressed "venerationfor that divine soul."Rhetoricpenetratedthe literaturesof Europe,not only the Latin but
also the vernacularliteratures,for the writers in these tongues-Bembo with
greater zeal-strove to give their prose the power, ease, and beauty of Latin
style. JohnLyly makesthe Gorgianicfigures-antithesis andisocolon-and rhetorical expansion the chief features of his curious euphuism.The principle of
amplificationwas of course emphasizedin treatiseslike Erasmus'De Copia, a
widely known treasure-houseof aids for speakersand writers. History,as with
Machiavelli,has persuasionas its aim, andhis workis full of rhetoricalmaxims.
Rhetoricalexempla aboundin Jean Bodin's treatiseon historicalmethod. The
Courtierof Castiglione is in partbased on Cicero's De Oratore.In the arts of
poetry the fusion of rhetoricand poetics is almost everywhereaccepted-see
Minturno'sDe Poeta, but also Fracastoro,Peletier,Partenio,and even Tasso in
his Discourses on the Art of Poetry.We find that Cicero's De Oratorecontains
instructionsuseful for poetry, and, as with Bembo, that the three styles of the
Rhetorica ad Herennium-the grand, the simple, and the intermediate-are a
serviceable classification.Sir Philip Sydney employs for poetics the three-fold
functionof a Ciceronianspeech-to teach,delight, andmove to action.Francois

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Rabelais consciously reproducesCiceronianperiods, climaxes, antitheses,and

rhetoricalquestions.53On the otherhand,the GrandsRhetoriqueursof the 15th
and 16thcenturiesin spiritbelong ratherto the rhetoricof the late MiddleAges;
theirverses, full of tricksof rhymeand wordytrifling,were courtentertainment
by poets who thoughtof themselves at the same time as orators,and were proud
of their title as the "GreatRhetoricians."
In England, dramawas, as one critic has put it, a rhetoricalacademy.Read
T.W.Baldwin's Small Latinand Less Greekto learnhow the persistentdevices
of ancientrhetoricprovidedShakespearewith patterns.54And as for the writers
in prose, theirmost distinctivetraitwas a delight in languagefor its own sakepuns, neologisms, balance, and rhythm,betrayingthe influence of the current
trainingin rhetoricandits absorptionin style. Herethe Greekscholasticrhetoric
played a part.
It was naturalthat Cicero should cast a spell on this age of splendor and
richnessof art. Symondscalls the 15thcenturythe golden age of speechification,
for this was also an active period for oratory.But it was mostly epideictic oratory,lackinghigh purpose-declamatory, full of quotations,emphasizingverbal
cleverness-and in the form of panegyrics,public addressesto popes and ambassadors,and marriageand funeralorations.
The Renaissancealso achieveda complete synthesis of homiletics and classical rhetoric.The classical authorswere fully searchedand carefully excerpted
for the specific use of preachers. Chytraeus studies Cicero, Pericles, and
Demosthenestogetherwith St. Basil and St. Paul;ReuchlinconvertsCato's dictum that an oratoris a good man skilled in speaking into a definition of the
preacheras a religious man skilled in speaking.Melanchthondevises a system
of sacred rhetoricfirmly based on classical rules; and Surgantalreadyin 1502
draws on Aristotle's Rhetoric. But we must wait until the 18th centuryfor the
view expressedby Morhof that there is no distinctionbetween civil and sacred
oratory,except for subject-matter,thatthe preceptsand methods arethe same in
both, and that all inspirationis to be drawn from Aristotle. And it is only in
recent theory,I believe, thatpreachinghas been treatedas a fourthkind of oratory, conjoined with deliberative,judicial, and epideictic.
The continuityof the rhetoricaltraditionin Englandfrom the time of Bede in
the 7th and 8th centuriesto the 19th centuryis fascinatingto study, especially
for the variationsin emphasis,restatements,andreformations.The full classical
system, with its five parts, invention enjoying primacy,had representativesin
Alcuin and Geoffrey of Vinsauf in the Middle Ages, and a successive group
throughHawes, Cox, and Wilson up to the 17th century.55The rhetoricwhich
dealt only with style, deeming this the most importantof the departments,also
had a continuoushistorythroughSherry,Peacham,Hoskins, and Day up to the
same century.At the end of the sixteenthcenturyandlastingfor a hundredyears,
there took place an interestingreformationin the philosophy of educationthat
spreadthroughoutEurope,to England,andeven to the Americancolonies. Peter
Ramus and Omer Talon-their system growing out of ideas developed in the

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Middle Ages-taught that inventionand arrangementwere not the province of

rhetoric,but of dialectic, andrhetoricmust properlybe confined to style, which
included the tropes and figures, and to delivery,embracingvoice and gesture.56
Ramismindeed had a certainkinshipwith stylistic rhetoric,butthis last had not
come to its specializationon the basis of philosophicalinquiry.The Ramistslike Fraunce,Butler,and Barton-believed thatrhetoricwas the least important
of the trivium,merely providingornamentationfor the ideas suppliedby logic,
andcorrectlyexpressedby grammar.ProfessorHowell of Princetonexplainsthe
popularityof Ramism in England in political terms-here again a rhetoricof
style flourishedduringa periodin which persuasiveoratorywas not a vital part
of politicallife, andeven pulpitoratorywas largelyornamental.57
criticizedRamism;FrancisBacon, andthe influentialFrenchPort-RoyalSchool
of Speaking,which was Ciceronianin nature,helpedbringits vogue to an end.58
Bacon addedto Ciceronianrhetoricthe principlesof Aristotle-now restoredto
power. I should add here that the ancientGreek scholastic rhetoricalso had its
representatives,as in RichardRainolde.
Consistentlyto the end of the nineteenthcenturythe influentialbooks were
classical in inspiration-for example,Campbell,Blair,Whately,andWard.59
first professor of rhetoricand oratoryat Harvard,John Quincy Adams, in his
lecturesin 1805 drewheavilyon Aristotle,Cicero,andQuintilian,andall through
our country the university instructionwas classical-naturally in the courses
given in the originaltongues, but also in the special courses in rhetoric.0 In the
firstquarterof the century,Yalestudents,for example,studiedCicero'sDe Oratore
in the freshmanyear.
As the seventeenthcenturycultivatedstyle, so the nineteenthfavoreddelivery.This developmentbeganin the previouscentury.Englishclergymenwanted
trainingin delivery-in what came to be called elocution, although the word
elocutio is of course best renderedin English by the word "style."This art of
elocution, in which rules of acting played a formativerole, was very popularin
America;it developed some great speakerslike Wendell Phillips, and a whole
class of professional readers.61By 1828 it was a special discipline, divorced
from rhetoricproper-which now joined in partnershipwith Belles-lettres or
with Composition. In the third quarterof the century departmentsof English
took over instructionin Rhetoricand Belles-lettres;but in the last decade of the
centuryspecial departmentsof Public Speakingbrokeoff from the departments
of English, leaving to these the provinceof writtencomposition.
The storyof the influence of the rhetoricaltexts-even the lesser ones-upon
literature(in its widest sense) would take long to set forth:for one instance,how
the Ramist John Hoskins' Directions for Speech and Style shaped the prose of

Ben Jonsonand SirWalterRaleigh, andthrowslight uponArcadianism,Sydney,

euphuism,andthe new movementtowardsa sententiousstyle; or how the Greek
scholastictreatisesinfluencedLa Bruyere,andso a greatdeal of modernwriting.
Virtuallyall of the criticallanguagein the Englishneo-classicalperiodhad its
originsin Cicero,Quintilian,andHorace'sArtof Poetryenlargedthroughadditions
from Aristotle's Poetics and Rhetoric, and from Longinus' On the Sublime.

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Literarycriticismin Englandsince the Renaissancehas moved away from the

emphasis upon the reader-the audience, as it were-upon the literarytypes,
anduponthe kindsof style, productsof Horatian-Ciceronian
rhetoric(I amthinking of Dryden and Pope) to an emphasis upon the poet and his expression of
himself, with the lyric form esteemed as representativeof this idea in its purest
form (one thinksof Wordsworthand Coleridge).So John StuartMill: "A speech
is meantto be heard,a poem overheard."Since Longinus was, among others, a
factorin bringingthis change about, we can fairly say that ancientrhetorichas
continuedas a pervadinginfluence in English criticism.
And today,the preoccupationof the new critics with verbal structureand the
figures, and their cult of Elizabethanand 18th century poetry, with its backgroundof rhetoricalideas, presentsus with a reminderthat the traditionis still
Well, I have talkedmore aboutrhetoricthan aboutoratory.62It is a pity thatI
haven'ttime to deal with famousspeakersof moderntimes-Savonarola, Luther,
John Knox, Bossuet, Bourdaloue,Massillon, Mirabeau,Burke, Sheridan,Fox,
O'Connell, Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry, Clay, Calhoun, Webster,Wendell
Phillips, or any otherof the greatspokesmenagainstdespotismor ecclesiastical
corruptionor the oppressionof kings, or in defense of equal rights and liberty
under the law, or of the good life. I can only remind you that Chathamread
Demosthenesto acquirea forcible style, andBurke,Cicero (whom he resembled
in magnificence and copiousness); that Fox read Demosthenes with the same
ease as he read English; that the Elder Pitt made the YoungerPitt read the ancient orators;that Gladstone used not only Blair, Whately, and Campbell,but
also Cicero's De Oratore,Aristotle's Rhetoric, Quintilian,and St. Augustine,
and for practicehad recourseto the speeches of Cicero and Demosthenes;that
EdwardEverettwas a trainedrhetoricianin the classical tradition;that Charles
Sumner's speeches are full of echoes of Cicero and Demosthenes; and that if
Lactantiuswas proud to be called the ChristianCicero, the French preacher
Massillon is now being studied as a modernDemosthenes.
Nor can I morethanmentionthe oratorsof the FrenchRevolution,who in that
day of the cult of antiquitymodeledtheir speeches andpamphletson Cicero and
Demosthenes. Again and again were these ancient oratorscited and historical
parallels drawn-by Brissot, Gnadet,Louvet, Vergniaud,Manuel, Condorcet.
And Desmoulins, their best stylist, imitated the periods of Cicero and
Demosthenes with special care and great success. Again and again is Cicero
invokedagainstCatiline,even as in 1570 ThomasWilson,the English Quintilian,
and a statesman,too, had translated,in collaborationwith Sir John Cheke, the
speeches of Demosthenes-because, as he wrote, "it is necessaryin these perilous times to recall defendersof libertyto mind, and set the exampleto others as
a warning."For Philip of Spain was anotherPhilip of Macedon.
The golden age of Britishoratorywas the latterhalf of the eighteenthcentury,
Burkethe most brilliantexample, and nearestto the classical in type.63It was a
time when society was aristocratic,the educationwas classical, andthe classical

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grandstyle ruledthe day.And the oratorywas inspiredby greatevents-wars on

the Continent,the AmericanRevolution, India, and the French Revolution. In
our present,more democraticsociety there is yet no reason why, with great issues confrontingus, too, speaking should not flourish on a high plane-more
business-likethoughour speakinggenerallyis, andthoughwe live in a periodof
taste in which highly adornedlanguage seems to be suspect. Certainly great
issues uniting with great spokesmanshipbroughtus Winston Churchill,whose
LordCurzon,surveyingthe proud
style was sometimestouchedwith grandeur.64
recordof BritishParliamentaryeloquence, yet gives the palm to anAmericanto AbrahamLincoln, for the "GettysburgAddress" and the "Second Inaugural."65
Churchill'sdebt to classical theory andpracticecannotbe traceddirectly,
but can indirectlyin a substantialway, throughthe influence wroughtupon him
by eighteenth-centuryEnglish speakerswho were in the direct line of the tradition. And severalrecent studies have made clear how Lincoln used stylistic devices which precedingoratorshad takenover from ancientmodels.
How does the presentday oratorcomparewith the ancient?
Of the many points made by differentscholars, I consider these sound and
1) As Jebb says, we are less solicitous for total symmetry.66 To the ancients oratorywas more of a fine art, requiringdisciplined attentionto
form, composition, diction, arrangement,and delivery, and evincing an
exceptionalconcernfor beauty.To us it is more of a practicalart.
2) While the ancients comparedthe speakerwith the poet, we compare
him, so to speak, with the prophet,and emphasizeinspirationratherthan
methodandcarefulpreparation.Thatis one reason,perhaps,why we like
3) A lesser point, on delivery: Max Eastmanargues that the use of the
microphonenarrowsthe effectiveness of action. It will be interestingin
the next years to see how speakinginto a microphonewill affect the conversationalquality which in the past the speakerbefore large audiences
stroveto attaindespite his need to increasethe volume of voice. And the
student of ancient oratory,which developed in a society in which oral
communicationso much exceeded the written, will watch for changes
that may ensue in our speaking as a result of radio, and perhapsalso of
A brief word on the criticism of oratory.This is no longer a day in which
speeches-other thanthe greatest-are regardedas literature.We havepersonal,
biographical,and so-called "literary"criticism of speeches, but not very much
first-raterhetoricalcriticism, partlybecause the political, social, and psychological conditionsin which a speech was deliveredare so hardto reconstruct.As

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Professor WicheIns has written, the rhetoricalcritic must study not only the
speaker,his message, the technical managementof the ideas, and the structure,
but also the adaptationof form and style to audience,the events that called the
speech forth, and the public opinion and attitudesof the time, and of the actual

In England,oratoryceased in the 18thcenturyto be formallytaughtand studied as an art,in Franceandin Scotlandin the nineteenth.The title "Professorof
Rhetoric"which still persistsat the Universityof Edinburghis a vestigial survivor.But the practiceis keptup in a most lively fashion in the debatingclubs, and
a visit to the Oxford or CambridgeUnion would convince you that the British
will never lose their love, and gift, for public speaking. Remember,too, that a
goodly numberof these young men have doubtlessreadthe classical oratorsand
theoristsin the originaltongues. But LordCurzona generationago said:"Never
was the power of moving men by speech more potent than now, though never
less studiedthannow. We have gone farfrom the days when rhetoricwas firstof
the arts, the supremeaccomplishmentof the educatedman. We English never
dreamof teachingstudentshow to make a speech-on such an iron time has the
Withthe exception of four of the greaterGermanuniversitieswhere the discipline of Vortragskunst(Delivery)yet does not enjoy complete dignity,for a lector and not a professor directs the course, America alone gives instructionin
special departmentsof (whatI call) public speaking.The traditionis now a very
old one with us, andthe subjectis taughtin most of the colleges anduniversities.
The announcementof the openingof Columbia(I should say King's) College on
June 3, 1754 read as follows: "It is furtherthe design of the College to instruct
and perfect the youth in the learnedlanguages, and in the arts of reasoningexactly, of writing correctly,and speakingeloquently."Here you have the ancient
trivium-dialectic, grammar,and rhetoric.Elocution died out during the 19th
century;Harvarddroppedthe subjectfrom its curriculumas long ago as 1873.
The chair (at Cornell University) of Oratory,thereafterPublic Speaking, and
later Speech and Drama,goes back to 1891.68
The discipline of public speakingas now taughtis on a very soundbasis, and
some new contributionshave been made to the art. For one example, modem
psychology has taughtus somethingaboutattention,aboutconversationalquality in delivery;some good studies have been made in the field of mass-opinion;
psychology of persuasion;philosophy of rhetoric,the criticism of oratory-especially on the side of theory,the history of rhetoricand its role in education.
And delivery is, with the best teachers, I would venture to say, on a sounder
basis, where theory is concerned,than in some of the rules we have from the
ancient authors.In the last half-centurythere has been a praiseworthyincrease
in the studyof classical rhetoric,and courses areoffered in most of the graduate
schools, though to be sure not as often as I would wish by teachers who know
the classical authorsin the originaltongues. One effect of this revivalhas been a
commendableinterestin modernizingthe ancienttheory of invention.69

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Has instructionin public speakingimprovedthe qualityof our oratory?That

is hardto assess. Though I cannot maintainthat it has consistently engendered
brilliantoratory,I have no doubtthatit has raised substantiallythe generallevel
of speaking.
Now what can I say in conclusion?
Thatrhetoricwas a valuablecreationof the ancients;andthatthe principlesof
classical rhetoric,althoughoften undergoingrestatementsandadaptations,have
enjoyed a continuousinfluence down to our day, and formed a living connection; have providedthe Westernworld with a permanentbasis for the judgment
of taste; and are still of primaryworth.
That though some of the over-elaboraterules have not proved of universal
application,the more brilliantinsights of the ancienttheoristsand critics have;
and thateven in times where the best of the traditionwas unavailable,the lesser
books yet exerteda good influence. The pedantry,slavish imitation,and preoccupationwith externalsthatsometimescharacterizedinferiorspeakersandwriters who followed the classical rules, aremore thancounterbalancedby the standardsof rationality,good form,andbeautylearnedfromthe traditionandachieved
by the writersand speakersof greaterinsight and power.
That the writerson style like Aristotle, Cicero, and Longinus are still excellent guides for modernliterarycomposition, for we still need what they taught
about purity,appropriateness,rhythm,elegance, metaphor,and euphony.Educationalpracticehas againandagainfoundthatit cannotdo withoutsuch guides.
Teachersof Greek and Latin rightly remindus that the fluency with which we
write today is the product of the rich tradition of classical style. Professor
Laughtonsees echoes of Ciceronianstyle in the speeches of EdmundBurkeand
Winston Churchill. But Cicero is after all the chief creator of modern prose
style, and all of us who write in English are his heirs.
That oratoryis a naturalgrowthfrom free political institutionsand flourishes
best in free states and underpopulargovernment;and that when, under despotism, it has no reality,it tendsto limit itself to epideicticandoccupy itself merely
with style.70
That in our present world of journalists,publicists, advertisers,politicians,
propagandists,reformers,editorialwriters,educators,salesmen,preachers,lecturers,popularizers,studentsof the techniquesof formingpublicopinionthrough
mass media, public relations, and promotion--also the students of what the
philosophersand sociologists call the "artsof communication,"whose function
is to establish relationsof understandingamong men-in this presentworld, I
say, rhetoricis a majorforce and public speakinga majoractivity,and we shall
continueto study the unsurpassedcontributionswhich the ancientsmade to the
art. No one has so enrichedthe subject as did Aristotle, in my opinion, and no
moderntheorist,perhaps,as did Cicero, Quintilian,or Longinus.Here certainly,
if I may use the wordsutteredby Saintsburyin anotherconnection,"themodern
withoutthe ancientis foolishness utterand irremediable."

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It has been said that "what distinguishesWesternman is his uninterrupted

assimilationto the ancient world."Rhetoricand oratory,centralin ancient culture, have been an importantpartof this heritage.
'Epithetsused in Homer's Iliad.
'In the opening passage of his Politics.
IFor the full text of Pericles' funeralorationsee Thucydides2. 40-46.
4Foran historicalaccountingof this period see RichardLeo Enos, Greek
RhetoricBeforeAristotle (ProspectHeights IL: WavelandPress, 1993), 41-90.
'For a thoroughexplanationof thisissue see EverettLee Hunt,"PlatoandAristotle
on Rhetoricand Rhetoricians,"Historical Studiesof Rhetoricand Rhetoricians,
ed. RaymondF. Howes (IthacaNY: CornellUniversityPress, 1961), 19-70.
6 The most popular statementon Isocrates' view of rhetoricis WernerJaeger,
"TheRhetoricof Isocratesand Its CulturalIdeal"Essays on the Rhetoricof the
WesternWorld,eds. EdwardP. J. Corbett,James L. Golden, and Goodwin F.
Berquist (Dubuque IA: Kendall/HuntPublishing Company, 1990), 110-128.
KathleenE. Welch providesa very thoroughoverview of Isocratesin the Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition,ed. TheresaEnos (New Yorkand London: GarlandPublishing,Inc., 1996), 358-63.
'This is a paraphraseof the famous statementmade by Aristotle in the opening
lines of his Rhetoric.
8Forgood backgroundreadingon the SecondSophisticsee ThomasConley,Rhetoric in the EuropeanTradition(NewYorkandLondon:Longman,1990), 53-71.
9Fora thoroughstudyof Hermogenessee Hermogenes' On Typesof Style,trans.
Cecil W. Wooten (ChapelHill: Universityof North CarolinaPress, 1987).
"OAcollection of the writings of Dionysius of Halicarnassusis availablein the
Loeb Classical LibrarySeries of HarvardUniversityPress.
"IThe classic study of the ten Attic Oratorsis R.C. Jebb, Attic Oratorsfrom
Antiphonto Isaeos, two volumes (New York:Russell and Russell, 1962).
"2EdwardM. Harrisoffers a less sympatheticview of Demosthenes in his work
Aeschines and Athenian Politics (New York and London: Oxford University
Press, 1995).
1' In ancient Greece speechwriterswere called "logographers"and were often
hired to compose forensic argumentsfor clients. An informativediscussion of
the backgroundof this process is providedin RichardGarner,Law & Society in
Classical Athens (New York:St. Martin'sPress, 1987).
14 Most historiansof rhetoricagreethatmuch more scholarshipneeds to be done
on this importantperiod.Two good sourcesavailablenow are:George Kennedy,
GreekRhetoric UnderChristianEmperors(PrincetonNJ: PrincetonUniversity
Press, 1983); George L. Kustas, Studies in ByzantineRhetoric (Thessalonike:
PatriarchalInstitutefor PatristicStudies, 1973).

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to his Loeb Clas15Caplan

providesa detailedexplanationin the "Introduction"
sical Libraryedition of the Rhetoricaad Herennium,pp. viii-xl. This introduction also appearsin Caplan,"Introductionto the Rhetoricaad Herennium," Of
Eloquence: Studies in Ancient and Medieval Rhetoric by Harry Caplan, eds.
Anne King and Helen North (IthacaNY:CornellUniversityPress, 1970), 1-25.
16Caplanprovidesa detaileddiscussionof memoryin "Memoria:Treasure-House
of Eloquence,"Of Eloquence: Studies of Ancient and Medieval Rhetoric, 196246.
17Eunapius,Lives of the Philosophers488-90.
18 That is, the canons of rhetoric:invention, arrangement,style, memory and
20Caplanis referringhere to the Rhetoricaad Herennium.
21 Cicero's discussion of the merits of CrassusandAntonius is the main topic of
his De Oratore.
22 Fragments of Roman orations are collected in: Oratorvm Romanorvm
Fragmenta:LiberaeRei Pvblicae, ed. HenricaMalcovati(Torino:G. B. Paravia,
23 Cicero engaged in a debate among his contemporaries
over the issue of style.
The Attic style was noted for its directness and simplicity. Asianism, on the
other hand, was characterizedas grandand excessive by traditionallyreserved
Romans. Many of Cicero's later works, especially the Orator and Brutus, are
efforts to arguefor a rangeof style beyond the Attic simplicity thatwas popular
in Cicero's day.
24Forbackgroundreading on this tumultuousperiod see: RichardLeo Enos,
Roman Rhetoric: Revolution and the Greek Influence (Prospect Heights IL:
WavelandPress, 1995).
25 See S. F. Bonner,RomanDeclamation in the Late Republicand Early Empire
(Liverpool:LiverpoolUniversityPress, 1969).
26Longinus,On the Sublime44.
27Jebb,TheAttic Oratorsfrom Antiphonto Isaeos, vol. 2, ch. 24, 433-37.
28Thucydides8. 68.
29Forexcellent overviewsof the studyof grammarandrhetoricsee H. I. Marrou,
A History of Education in Antiquity,trans. George Lamb (Madision WI: The
Universityof WisconsinPress)reprint,originallypublishedin Englishby Sheed
and Ward,Inc., 1956; StanleyF. Bonner,Educationin AncientRome (Berkeley
and Los Angeles: Universityof CaliforniaPress, 1977).
30Enos,GreekRhetoricBeforeAristotle, 23-40.
31 Plato makes this argumentin his Gorgias.
32Thisis the famous closing passage of Plutarch'saccountof the life of Cicero:
VitaeParallelae: Cicero.
33 Quintilian,Institutiooratoria 12. 1. 1.
34Rhetoricaad Herennium4. 69.

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"For an insightful discussion of this topic see Brian Vickers, "TerritorialDisputes:PhilosophyversusRhetoric,"In Defence of Rhetoric(Oxford:Clarendon
Press, 1988), esp. 184-96.
36Cicero, De Inventione 1. 3. 4-4.5; Richard Leo Enos, The Literate Mode of Cicero's

Legal Rhetoric (Carbondale IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 1988),

37 Caplanleaves the text and uttersa Latin phrasethat cannotbe understoodon
the recordingbut seems to reinforcehis point about one person being the "allwisest."
38 At the time that Professor Caplanwas giving this address Greece was under
militarydictatorship;democracywas reinstatedin Greecein the summerof 1974.
39Fora well-respectedaccountingof St. Augustineandthe place of rhetoricin a
Christianculturesee JamesJ. Murphy,Rhetoric in the MiddleAges: A History
of Rhetorical Theoryfrom St. Augustineto the Renaissance (Berkeley,Los Angeles, London:Universityof CaliforniaPress, 1974), 43-88.
4"Thissentence appearsin Caplan'stext but was not spoken in the address.
41 For elaborationsof this theme see WilburSamuelHowell, "Oratory
in Fenelon's LiteraryTheory,"Readings in Rhetoric, eds. Lionel Crockerand
PaulA. Carmack(SpringfieldIL: CharlesC. Thomas, 1965), 242-256; Barbara
Warnick,The Sixth Canon:BelletristicRhetoricalTheoryand Its FrenchAntecedents (Columbia:Universityof South CarolinaPress, 1993).
42 On the theme, and implications,of rhetoricas a feminine gender see Reclaiming Rhetorica,eds. AndreaLunsfordet al. (Pittsburgh:Universityof Pittsburgh
Press, 1994).
43 See the fifth book of MartianusCapella, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii.
Excerpts of Capella's work are translatedin Readings in Medieval Rhetoric,
eds. Joseph Miller, Michael H. Prosser,ThomasW. Benson (Bloomington and
London:IndianaUniversityPress, 1973), 1-5.
"4MichaelC. Leff, "The Logician's Rhetoric:Boethius' De differentiistopicis,
Book IV,"MedievalEloquence:Studies in the Theoryand Practice of Medieval
Rhetoric, ed. James J. Murphy(Berkeley,Los Angeles, London:University of
CaliforniaPress, 1978), 3-24.
45Foran illustrationof ars dictaminis see ThreeMedieval RhetoricalArts, ed.
JamesJ. Murphy(Berkeley,Los Angeles, London:Universityof CaliforniaPress,
1971), 1-25.
46 Caplan, "ClassicalRhetoric and the Medieval Theory of Preaching,"Of Eloquence, 105-34.
47Fora relateddiscussionon interpretationof sacredtexts see Caplan,"TheFour
Senses of ScripturalInterpretationand the Medieval Theory of Preaching,"Of
Eloquence, 93-104.

Cicero, Orator 69.

49Fora more detailed statementon memory see Caplan, "Memoria:TreasureHouse of Eloquence,"Of Eloquence, 196-246. Readers may also wish to consult: FrancesA. Yates, TheArt of Memory(Chicago IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1966).

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50Rhetoricaad Herenniumand Cicero's De Inventione.

5IReadersmay also wish to see JamesJ. Murphy,"TheFourAncientTraditions,"
Rhetoric in the MiddleAges, 3-42.
52Caplanis referringto Cicero'sDe Inventione.(c. 86 B.C.). De Inventionewas
Cicero's first rhetoricaltreatise and in his later De Oratore (55 B.C.) Cicero
asked readersto ignore his earlierwork. Despite his request,De Inventionebecame one of the most importantrhetoricaltreatises of the Latin West and the
foundationfor much of medievalrhetoric.
53RichardMcKeon, "Rhetoricin the Middle Ages," The Province of Rhetoric,
eds. JosephSchwartzandJohnA. Rycenga(New York:The RonaldPress, 1965),
54Fora very good overviewof this periodsee BrianVickers,"RenaissanceReintegration,"In Defence of Rhetoric (Oxford:ClarendonPress, 1988), 254-93.
"Vickers, In Defence of Rhetoric,274.
56T.W. Baldwin, WilliamShakspere'sSmall Latine and Lesse Greeke.Two volumes (UrbanaIL: Universityof Illinois Press, 1944). Caplanmistakenlyrefers
to the authoras "T.S. Baldwin"in the manuscript.
57 See the respective contributionsof Wilbur Samuel Howell: The Rhetoric of
Alcuin & Charlemagne:A Translationwith an Introduction,the Latin Text,and
Notes (New York:Russell & Russell, 1965);Logic & Rhetoricin England:15001700 (New York:Russell & Russell, 1961).
58See WalterJ. Ong, "RamisticRhetoric,"TheProvince of Rhetoric, 226-55.
59Howell,"The English Ramists,"Logic & Rhetoric in England: 1500-1700,
60Howell,"NewHorizonsin Logic andRhetoric,"Logic & Rhetoricin England:
1500-1700, 342-397.
61 James A. Berlin provides a fine statementof the impact of Campbell, Blair,
andWhately,especially on Americanrhetoricin the nineteenthcentury:Writing
Instruction in Nineteen-Century American Colleges (Carbondale and
EdwardsvilleIL: SouthernIllinois UniversityPress, 1984), 19-34.
62Forvery helpfulinsightsto Adams'contributionssee J. JefferyAuer andJerald
L. Banninga, "The Genesis of John Quincy Adams' Lectures on Rhetoric and
Oratory,"QuarterlyJournalof Speech, 44 (April 1963), 119-32.
63For backgroundon the teaching of elocution in the United States see OtaThomas, "TheTeachingof Rhetoricin the United StatesDuringthe ClassicalPeriod
of Education,"A Historyand CriticismofAmericanPublicAddress,ed. William
Norwood Brigance,vol. one (New York:Russell & Russell, 1960), 202-07.
64Well-knowncollections of famous orators,British andAmerican,were available at the time of Caplan's address:Select British Eloquence, ed. Chauncey
Allen Goodrich (IndianapolisIN: Bobbs-Merrill,rept. 1963); A History and
Criticismof American Public Address, eds. William Norwood Brigance, vols.
one and two; and Marie KathrynHochmuth [Nichols], vol. three (New York:
Russell & Russell, 1960).
65 See Goodrich'srhetoricalcriticismof EdmundBurke,along with examples of
his orations,in "EdmundBurke,"Select BritishEloquence, 206-381.

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excellent discussion of the relationshipamong rhetoric,oratory,literature,

and politics, with treatmentof WinstonChurchillas an illustration,is found in
Donald Cross Bryant," Literatureand Politics,"Rhetoric,Philosophy,and Literature:An Exploration,ed. Don M. Burks(WestLafayetteIN: PurdueUniversity Press, 1978), 95-107.
67 See also GarryWills, Lincolnat Gettysburg:The Words
(New York:Touchstone/Simon& Schuster,1992).
68Jebbprovides his views on ancient and "modem"(Victorian)oratoryin his
"Introduction"to Attic Oratorsfrom Antiphonto Isaeos, vol. 1, esp. lxxix.
69ee HerbertWichelns, "The LiteraryCriticism of Oratory"Speech Criticism:
Methods and Materials, ed. WilliamA. Linsley (DubuqueIA: Wm. C. Brown:
1968), 7-38. This essay has been widely reprinted.See also, for example, Thomas Benson, ed., Landmark Essays on Rhetorical Criticism (Davis, CA:
HermagorasPress, 1993).
70For backgroundinformationon the traditionof rhetoricalstudies at Cornell
Universitysee EdwardP. J. Corbett,"TheCornell School of Rhetoric,"Selected
Essays of Edward P. J. Corbett, ed. Robert J. Connors (Dallas TX: Southern
MethodistUniversityPress, 1989), 289-304.
71Currentexamples of this modernizationtrendare:Essays on Classical Rhetoric and ModernDiscourse, eds. RobertJ. Connors,Lisa S. Ede, andAndreaA.
Lunsford(Carbondaleand EdwardsvilleIL: SouthernIllinois UniversityPress,
1984); Rhetoricand Praxis: The Contributionsof Classical Rhetoric to Practical Reasoning, ed. Jean Dietz Moss (WashingtonD.C.: Catholic University of
America Press, 1986); Rhetorical Memory and Delivery: Classical Concepts
ed. JohnFrederickReynolds
for ContemporaryCompositionand Communication,
(Hillsdale NJ: LawrenceErlbaum,1993); Ethos: New Essays in Rhetoricaland
Critical Theory,eds. James S. Baumlin and Tita French Baumlin (Dallas TX:
SouthernMethodistUniversityPress, 1994).
72Caplan'sthoughtson this topic are presentedin more detail in his essay,
"TheDecay of Eloquence at Rome in the First Century,"in Of Eloquence:
Studies in Ancientand MedievalRhetoricby Harry Caplan.

Suggested Readings
Arnold,Carroll."Rhetoricin America since 1900."Re-Establishingthe Speech
Profession: The First Fifty Years. Eds. Robert T. Oliver and Marvin G.

Bauer.The SpeechAssociation of the EasternStates, September1959.

[Cicero]. Rhetorica ad Herennium. Trans. Harry Caplan. Loeb Classical Li-

brarySeries. London and CambridgeMA: HarvardUniversity Press,

Corbett,EdwardP. J. "TheCornellSchool of Rhetoric."Selected Essays of Edward P J. Corbett.Ed. RobertJ. Connors.Dallas TX: SouthernMethodist UniversityPress, 1989.
Enos, RichardLeo. "TheHistoryof Rhetoric:The Reconstructionof Progress."
Speech Communication in the 20th Century. Ed. Thomas W. Benson.

CarbondaleandEdwardsville:SouthernIllinois UniversityPress, 1985.

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions



Enos,Theresa,ed. Encyclopediaof Rhetoric:Communication

to the InformationAge. New York and London: GarlandPublishers,
Inc., 1996.
Homer,WinifredBryan,ed. ThePresent State of Scholarshipin Historical and
ContemporaryRhetoric.Revised edition. Columbiaand London:The
Universityof MissouriPress, 1990.
Howell, WilburSamuel.Poetics, Rhetoricand Logic. Studiesin theBasic Disciplines of Criticism.IthacaNY: CornellUniversityPress, 1975.
Howes, Raymond,ed. Historical Studies of Rhetoricand Rhetoricians.Ithaca
NY: CornellUniversityPress, 1961.
Howes, Raymond,ed. Notes on the Cornell School of Rhetoric.RiversideCA:
Hudson,Hoyt H. "TheField of Rhetoric."QuarterlyJournalof Speech 9: April
1923, 167-80.
Hunt, EverettLee. "AnIntroductionto Classical Rhetoric."QuarterlyJournal
of Speech 12: June 1926, 201-04.
. "HerbertA. WicheInsand the Cornell Traditionof Rhetoric as a Humane
Subject."TheRhetoricalIdiom:Essays in Rhetoric,Oratory,Language
and Drama Presented to HerbertAugust Wichlens.Ed. Donald Cross
Bryant.IthacaNY: CornellUniversityPress, 1958.
"RhetoricandGeneralEducation."QuarterlyJournalof Speech 35: October
1949, 275-79.
King, Anne and North, Helen, ed. Of Eloquence: Studies in Ancient and Medieval Rhetoric.IthacaNY: CornellUniversityPress, 1970.
Lunsford,AndreaA., ed. ReclaimingRhetorica:Womenin the RhetoricalTradition. Pittsburghand London:Universityof PittsburghPress, 1995.
Parrish,WaylandMaxfield. "TheTraditionof Rhetoric."QuarterlyJournal of
Speech 33: December 1947,464-67.
Vickers, Brian.In Defence of Rhetoric.Oxford:ClarendonPress, 1988.
Wallach,Luitpold,ed. The Classical Tradition:Literaryand Historical Studies
in Honor of Harry Caplan. IthacaNY: CornellUniversityPress, 1966.
Windt,TheodoreOtto, Jr."EverettLee Hunton Rhetoric."TheSpeech Teacher
[now CommunicationEducation]21: September1972, 177-92.
"HoytH. Hudson:Spokesmanfor the CornellSchool of Rhetoric.Quarterly
Journal of Speech 68: May 1982, 186-200.

Welch, KathleenE. TheContemporaryReceptionof Classical Rhetoric:Appropriations ofAncientDiscourse. HillsdaleNJ:LawrenceErlbaumAssociates, Publishers,1990.

This content downloaded from on Fri, 13 Mar 2015 12:42:54 UTC
All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions