7th Edition

The History and Theory of Rhetoric An Introduction

By James A. Herrick Copyright 2021
    340 Pages
    by Routledge

    340 Pages
    by Routledge

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    By tracing the traditional progression of rhetoric from the Greek Sophists to contemporary theorists, this textbook gives students a conceptual framework for evaluating and practicing persuasive writing and speaking in a wide range of settings and in both written and visual media.

    The book’s expansive historical purview illustrates how persuasive public discourse performs essential social functions and shapes our daily worlds, drawing on the ideas of some of history’s greatest thinkers and theorists. The seventh edition includes greater attention to non-Western rhetorics, feminist rhetorics, the rhetoric of science, and European and American critical theory. Known for its clear writing style and contemporary examples throughout, The History and Theory of Rhetoric emphasizes the relevance of rhetoric to today’s students.

    This revised edition serves as a core textbook for rhetoric courses in both English and communication programs covering both the historical tradition of rhetoric and contemporary rhetoric studies.

    This edition includes an instructor’s manual and practice quizzes for students at www.routledge.com/cw/herrick

    1. An Overview of Rhetoric  

    2. The Origins and Early History of Rhetoric 

    3. Plato versus the Sophists: Rhetoric on Trial 

    4. Aristotle on Rhetoric 

    5. Rhetoric at Rome 

    6. Rhetoric in Christian Europe and North Africa  

    7. Rhetoric in the Renaissance  

    8. Enlightenment Rhetoric 

    9. Contemporary Rhetoric I: Arguments, Audiences, and Science

    10. Contemporary Rhetoric II: Narrative, Display, and Objects

    11. Contemporary Rhetoric III: Texts, Power, and Alternatives


    James A. Herrick is Emeritus Professor of Communication at Hope College, USA. His publications include Argumentation: Understanding and Shaping Arguments, 6th edition (2017) and Visions of Technological Transcendence: Human Enhancement and the Rhetoric of the Future (2017).

    Praise for the Previous Edition

    "The History and Theory of Rhetoric balances illuminating and concise reviews of canonical thinkers with critical discussions of the rhetorical tradition's blind spots, internal conflicts, and periodic course corrections. Its accessible prose and lively pace help students readily apprehend potentially intimidating material and recognize how the insights of the past reverberate through contemporary culture." – Brett Ingram, Boston College

    "Offering a foundation that encompasses over 2000 years, this text is digestible and meticulous rather than reductive. The author synthesizes history and theory such that readers can easily reference one part of the book while reading another and can utilize its term lists long after the first read. It is both a critical sourcebook and required reading for anyone interested in how rhetoric evolved." – Zosha Stuckey, Towson University

    "In my opinion, The History and Theory of Rhetoric is the best rhetorical history textbook on the market. Students at all levels appreciate its engaging, straightforward approach. Even so, serious philosophical and theoretical questions that arise from rhetoric's history receive the attention and care they deserve. The book strikes a perfect balance between accessibility and rigor." – Jackie Wheeler, Arizona State University

    "James Herrick invites students ‘further up and further in’ to the contours and depths of the art of rhetoric. He offers serious engagements with historical texts that ground the art and wades into the currents of contemporary theories that simultaneously interrogate and rely upon our rhetorical heritage." – Calvin L. Troup, Geneva College

    "The History and Theory of Rhetoric is not simply a book but a fascinating journey to explore the magnificent world of mind and speech interconnection throughout centuries, and its influence on various social developments of humanity. It is diverse and inclusive for all times and civilizations. The book is easy to understand and never simple. It provides valuable knowledge, useful skills and competitive tools. The book is a must for all those who want to explore the world of rhetoric!" – Anahit Parzyan, Nanjing University