Essays on Medieval Rhetoric: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Essays on Medieval Rhetoric

1st Edition

By Martin Camargo


336 pages

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Originally published between 1981 and 2003, the thirteen essays collected here cover topics in medieval rhetoric from its origins in late antiquity through the end of the Middle Ages. Most of the essays are concerned with the teaching of prose composition, especially the art of letter writing known as the ars dictaminis, and many of them focus on specific textbooks that were used for such instruction, in particular those composed in England from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries. Individual essays are devoted to works by major figures such as Saint Augustine, Peter of Blois, and Geoffrey of Vinsauf; to teaching programmes at important academic centres such as Oxford and Bologna; and to such topics as the relationship between the art of letter writing and the art of poetry, the oral dimension of medieval epistolography, the manuscript traditions of influential textbooks, medieval genre terminology, and the position of medieval rhetoric within a continuous disciplinary history rooted in classical rhetoric.


'Alongside important theoretical discussions on the status of medieval rhetoric, Camargo's book makes major contributions to our knowledge of medieval rhetorical textbooks by discussing their pedagogy and by offering editions of two unpublished treatises.' Scriptorium-Bulletin Codicologique

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Part A Theory and Practice: Defining medieval rhetoric; 'Non solum sibi sed aliis etiam': neoplatonism and rhetoric in Saint Augustine's De doctrina christiana; Where's the brief? The ars dictaminis and reading/writing between the lines; The varieties of prose dictamen as defined by the dictatores. Part B Pedagogy: The pedagogy of the dictatores; 'Si dictare velis': versified artes dictandi and late medieval writing pedagogy; Between grammar and rhetoric: composition teaching at Oxford and Bologna in the late Middle Ages; Beyond the Libri Catoniani: models of Latin prose style at Oxford University ca.1400. Part C Texts and Transmission: Tria sunt: the long and the short of Geoffrey of Vinsauf's Documentum de modo et arte dictandi et vesificandi; A 12th-century treatise on dictamen and metaphor; Toward a comprehensive art of written discourse: Geoffrey of Vinsauf and the ars dictaminis; The Libellus de arte dictandi rhetorice attributed to Peter of Blois; The English manuscripts of Bernard of Meung's Flores dictaminum; Addenda; Indexes.

About the Author

Martin Camargo is Professor of English, Classics, and Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, U S A, and President of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General