The Contemporary Reception of Classical Rhetoric: Appropriations of Ancient Discourse, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Contemporary Reception of Classical Rhetoric

Appropriations of Ancient Discourse, 1st Edition

By Kathleen E. Welch


200 pages

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New in Paperback: 9780805811261
pub: 1991-06-01
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Hardback: 9780805801316
pub: 1990-05-01
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pub: 2013-11-05
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Responding to the reassertion of orality in the twentieth century in the form of electronic media such as the telegraph, film, video, computers, and television, this unique volume traces the roots of classical rhetoric in the modern world. Welch begins by changing the current view of classical rhetoric by reinterpreting the existing texts into fluid language contexts -- a change that requires relinquishing the formulaic tradition, acquiring an awareness of translation issues, and constructing a classical rhetoric beginning with the Fifth Century B.C. She continues with a discussion of the adaptability of this material to new language situations, including political, cultural, and linguistic change, providing it with much of its power as well as its longevity. The book concludes that classical rhetoric can readily address any situation since it focuses not only on critical stances toward discourse that already exists, but also presents elaborate theories for the production of new discourse.


"The quality of Welch's work is perhaps unmatched."

Nebraska Speech Communication Association Journal

"This knowledgeable and insightful book is itself written…in clear and concise prose….Highly recommended for libraries serving composition instructors, upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and rhetoric scholars."


"…its adaptability and usefulness make it an extraordinarily useful way of studying texts and their contexts."

Jahrbuch Rhetorik

"…an important book on rhetoric and composition studies…"

Journal of Advanced Composition

"…an extraordinary volume, in part, because it deals so masterfully with the ordinary functions of speech and writing. Theoreticians of rhetoric and communication -- irrespective of their orientation toward oral or written discourse -- will benefit from Welch's discussion of how classical rhetoric provides sensitive theories toward understanding processes of thought and expression."

Quarterly Journal of Speech

"…anyone interested in rhetoric will read this book with profit; and no one to whom the classical models are important can fail to appreciate the genuine esteem Welch has for those models, or the hope she places in their continued appropriation….The introductions to each section and the generous footnotes should go a long way toward orienting even the Greekless reader to issues of philology, rhetorical theory, and history."

Philosophy and Rhetoric

"…a magnificent synthesis of classical, especially Platonic-Socratic, rhetoric and modern theory…pragmatic, sound, and practical -- an excellent formulation of what I and others hope to do in our regular classroom teaching."

William J. Kennedy

Cornell University

"…a wise addition to my library…of tremendous help in keeping up-to-date with issues and trends in rhetoric from the rhetoric/composition perspective."

Richard L. Johannesen

Northern Illinois University

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Part I: A Critique of Contemporary Appropriations of Classical Rhetoric. The Heritage School of Classical Rhetoric in the United States. Presentations of Heritage School Classical Rhetoric: "Logic" and False Oppositions of Ancient and Modern Language Issues. Part II: Rehistoricizing Classical Rhetoric. Interpretive Options in the Historicizing of Classical Rhetoric. Appropriating Plato's Rhetoric and Writing into Contemporary Rhetoric and Composition Studies. Appropriating Competing Systems of Classical Greek Rhetoric: Considering Isocrates and Gorgias with Plato in the New Rhetoric of the Fourth Century B.C. Classical Rhetoric and Contemporary Rhetoric and Composition Studies: Electrifying Classical Rhetoric.

About the Series

Routledge Communication Series

The Routledge Communication Series covers the breadth of the communication discipline, from interpersonal communication to public relations, offering textbooks, handbooks, and scholarly reference materials.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies