The Art of Rhetoric - Penguin Classics Author:Aristotle Few, if any, writers in history have made major contributions to as many fields of knowledge as Aristotle... — 'If there are two definitive features of ancient Greek civilization,' writes Hugh Lawson-Tancred in his wide-ranging Introduction, 'they are articulacy and competition.' In the city-states oratorical competence was an essential asset for... more » politicians in the Assemblies and Councils and even for ordinary citizens in the courts of law. In response, the technique of rhetoric rapidly developed, bringing virtuoso performances and a host of practical manuals for the layman. Yet if many of these were little more than collections of debaters' tricks, the hugely influential Art of Rhetoric has a far deeper purpose. It is here that Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) establishes the methods of informal reasoning, provides the first aesthetic evaluation of prose style and offers detailed observations on character and the emotions. 'Persuasiveness,' suggests Lawson-Tancred, 'becomes for the first time a systematic and even scientific exercise; it can indeed be taught, but only by a deep grasp of some of the most central features of human nature.' His fine translation makes freshly available an epoch-making work of literary criticism.« less
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