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Rhetoric and eloquence: the language of persuasion

Bullard, P. ORCID: (2013) Rhetoric and eloquence: the language of persuasion. In: Harris, J. A. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook to British Philosophy in the Eighteenth Century. Oxford University Press, pp. 84-105. ISBN 9780199549023

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199549023.013.005


Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and is based on the systematic analysis of natural or non-artistic eloquence. Eighteenth-century rhetoric is characterized above all by its urge to observe the natural sources of eloquence, to describe the phenomenon of untaught excellence in speaking and writing. A philosophical rhetoric is one that identifies the general causes of eloquence. This chapter shows that the development of critical commentary on the art of eloquence during the eighteenth century can be seen most clearly in terms of national context. English, Irish, and Scottish approaches to the subject diverge because of variations in constitutional context; because of conflicting local allegiances to earlier thinkers; and because academic institutions had traditions of approaching the subject in contrasting ways. Divergent philosophical traditions also helped distinguish the characters of rhetorical thought in the three nations.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
ID Code:99602
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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