English 690-01: History of Rhetoric—Classical through Renaissance
Fall 2002: Thursdays, 6:30-9:20 p.m.
Instructor: Nancy Myers
334-5484 or email@example.com
McIver 110—Office Hours: M & W 3-6 p.m., Th 2-4, or by appointment
[B]ecause there has been implanted in us the power to persuade each other and to make clear to each other whatever we desire, not only have we escaped the life of wild beasts, but we have come together and founded cities and made laws and invented arts; and generally speaking, there is no institution devised by man which the power of speech has not helped us to establish.
Isocrates, Antidosis 254-55
Now, some people are pregnant in body, . . . while others are pregnant in soul—because there surely are those who are even more pregnant in their souls than in their bodies and these are pregnant with what is fitting for a soul to bear and bring to birth. And what is fitting? Wisdom and the rest of virtue, which all poets beget, as well as all the craftsmen who are said to be creative. But by far the greatest and most beautiful part of wisdom deals with the proper ordering of cities and households, and that is called moderation and justice.
Plato, Symposium 208-209
One should, on the one hand, choose events that are impossible but plausible in preference to ones that are possible but implausible; but on the other hand one’s plots should not be made up of irrational incidents.
Aristotle, Poetics 1460
[T]he whole art of speaking lies before us, and is concerned with common usage and the custom and language of all men.
Cicero, De oratore I.iii
Let no man, therefore, look down on the elements of grammar as small matters; not because . . . but because, to those entering the recesses, as it were, of this temple, there will appear much subtlety on points.
Quintilian, Institutio oratoria I.iv.6
Focus: This seminar investigates the origins, developments, and competing views of rhetoric from classical antiquity into the seventeenth century. We examine intersections between rhetoric and public discourse, poetics, education, religion, and gender. Besides reading and discussing translations of texts and their contexts, we explore how contemporary theories of historiography and translation theory inform our understandings. Whether your area of interest and emphasis is in literature, theory, or rhetoric and composition studies this course invites you to draw on and extend your expertise.
Some texts will be on e-reserve, some will be on reserve, some available in the bookstore or in the library. Although I ordered specific translations in some instances, you may read any translation of the texts; however, make sure the translations of the classical texts you read and refer to have Bekker numbers, so we can cross-reference different translations. (See attached reserve lists and 8 books are at the UNCG bookstore) This list is in order of reading with its location accompanying it.
George A. Kennedy. Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times. 2nd ed. U of North Carolina P, 1999. ISBN: 0807847690 (UNCG bookstore)
David Smit. “The Uses of Defining Rhetoric” RSQ 27.2 (1997): 39-50. (e-reserve)
Greek representations of women: Sappho poem (handout), Gorgias’ “Helen” (e-reserve), Isocrates’ “Helen” (e-reserve), Plato’s Menexenus (e-reserve)
Isocrates. Antidosis (on reserve an on e-reserve)
The Rhetoric and the Poetics of Aristotle. Ed. Edward P. J. Corbett. Modern Library/McGraw-Hill,1984. 0075546027 (bookstore—Note: I chose this because it’s cheap and reputable. If you have Kennedy’s translation of A’s On Rhetoric, read that, but still find a Poetics.)
Plato. Phaedrus. Trans. Nehamas and Woodruff. Hackett, 1995. 0872202208 (bookstore, but any translation with Bekker numbers will do)
One of the following dialogues by Plato—you choose: Ion, Meno, Protagoras, The Symposium, or Gorgias (on reserve or library copy)
Cicero. De oratore Read one book of the three. (on reserve—two copies of translation by May and Wisse)
Cicero. Second Philippic (on reserve in Philippics and e-reserve)
Quintilian. Institutes of Oratory, an excerpt (on reserve in Bizzell and Herzberg’s The Rhetorical Tradition and on e-reserve)
Augustine. Confessions. Trans. R. S. Pine-Coffin. Penguin Classics, 1961. 014044114X (bookstore—I believe this to be the most beautiful translation, and the edition, whether new or used, is not expensive, but any translation will do.)
Margery Kempe. The Book of Margery Kempe. Norton Critical Edition, 2000. 0393976394 (bookstore)
Christine de Pisan. The Treasure of the City of Ladies. Viking Penguin, 1985. 014044453X (bookstore)
Hillary Rodham Clinton. “Remarks by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton to the United Nations Economic and Social Council” (e-reserve)
Desiderius Erasmus. The Education of a Christian Prince. Cambridge UP, 1997. 0521588111 (bookstore)
Niccolo Machiavelli. The Prince. Penguin Classics, 1961. 0140441077 (bookstore)
Oral and Written Requirements:
Paired Presentation: The paired presentation asks that you sign up for one of the topics listed. Examine five sources that offer history, background, and perspective. That means that the annotated bibliography for the two of you will have ten citations, only one of which can be Kennedy’s Classical Rhetoric and only two of which may be websites. As a pair you will have 20 minutes to build and extend on our knowledge. As Augustine suggests in On Christian Doctrine, these presentations should “teach,” “delight,” and “persuade.” You are offering us a snapshot of your topic, not a documentary. Besides the annotated bibliography, you may also want to provide us with a handout that might include a list of key characteristics, a timeline, quotable quotes, an overview of the major theories or issues, etc. Plan for 16 copies, which include you. I will need one week’s notice to arrange for any audio-visual equipment that you need.
Individual Presentation: During the class periods of 14 and 21 November, you will offer a 15-minute conference talk/paper on a specific topic you want to pursue related to the history of rhetoric. Choose some aspect of the history of rhetoric—a field, camp, trend, person, theory, concept, issue, debate, term, etc.—and examine it or relate it to the period, writers, or texts that you are interested in. In other words, the focus of this is to connect what you are learning about in the history of rhetoric to your own areas of specialization. In your notebook, you will need to provide a bibliography of at least 15 sources related to your topic, a detailed outline or 7-9 page draft of a conference paper, and a 250-word proposal for an appropriate conference. If suitable, you may want to provide the class members with a handout to keep them focused and following your talk. On 17 October, you will provide me with a short letter that explains your topic, research, and approach. On 31 October, you will sign up for your presentation date.
Research and History Notebook:
Section I—Reading Notes: We will talk about this in class, but you should take notes on each reading, formulate questions and connections, and mark specific Bekker numbers or pages to discuss in class. You may keep these notes in a computer file or write them by hand, but they should be separate from the text (highlighting and marginal comments of the text is not enough). Please identify your notes by text and writer.
Section II—Weekly Focused Response: Each class period, you need to bring a list of ideas and reactions to the readings as they relate to your reading group focus. You will be asked to share portions of them with the class or in small group.
Section III—Paired Presentation: Besides the research and annotated bibliography, outline, and handouts, you will need to include in this section a reflective statement addressing what you learned, how you collaborated, and how you felt your presentation went and why.
Section IV—Individual Topic: The research and bibliography, proposal of 250 words, outline or draft of conference paper, and handouts. See explanation above.
Section V—Your Synthesis for the Semester: Besides a copy to be put in your notebook, you will distribute this 3-5 page text to the other class members (16 copies) on 5 December. What do you want to remember about the semester’s work and why? This may take the form of a handout (such as quotable quotes or timeline), a statement (such as your view of the relationship of rhetoric and poetic), a reflection (such as how this information informs your understanding of network news, the Internet, Shakespeare, etc.), a letter (to us about the course), etc.
You may include more sections, materials, and writings if you wish.
Because of the assignments, discussions, and activities across the semester, you will
1) explore multiple definitions and theories of rhetorics,
2) gain an understanding of the historical chronology of these theories and rhetoricians across 2000 years,
3) examine through reading and research intersections among theories of rhetoric and theories of poetics, philosophy, literature, ethics, and culture,
4) actively use and participate in various spoken and written forms of rhetoric,
5) apply rhetorical theories to your own specialization and/or interests, and
6) reflect on the relationship of theories to practices in various contexts such as the public, academic, and private spheres.
Evaluation: Your grade for this course is dependent on being prepared for class
1) by carefully reading, taking notes, and responding in writing to the primary and secondary texts (research notebook),
2) by participating during each class in a thoughtful and reasonable manner (hilarity being a reasonable response), and
3) by being professional and responsible in your oral and written work (paired and individual presentations, each section of your research notebook, and your responses for your reading group)
Attendance: Since your course grade is influenced by your class participation and your preparedness, regular attendance seems the most logical approach. If you can’t make a class, let me know in advance.
English 690-01: History of Rhetoric—Classical through Renaissance
Weekly Schedule for Fall 2002
22 August: 2000 Years of Rhetorical History in Just 15 Weeks!!!!!
6:30-7:45 Who’s who? What’s what? Overview of Course
8-9:15 Library research instruction, Electronic Citi
Readings: Kennedy pp. 1-38, David Smit’s “The Uses of Defining Rhetoric”
Sappho’s poem in translation, Plato’s Menexenus, Gorgias’ Helen, Isocrates’ Helen
Readings: Kennedy pp. 38-52
Readings: Kennedy pp. 74-97
Paired Presentation on the Sophists
Readings: Kennedy pp. 53-74
Paired Presentation on the Performances of Classical Greek Drama & Poetry
Readings: Aristotle’s Poetics and one of Plato’s dialogues (Ion, Meno, Protagoras,
The Symposium, or Gorgias)
Readings: Kennedy pp. 98-115
Cicero’s De Oratore—read one book of the three
Paired Presentation on Roman Culture and Society
Readings: Kennedy pp. 115-126
Quintilian’s Institutes of Oratory (excerpt)
Cicero’s Second Philippic
Paired Presentation on Rhetoric and Christianity
Readings: Kennedy pp. 170-182
Augustine’s Confessions and introduction
Letter to me about individual presentation topic and approach
Paired Presentation on Late Medieval Rhetorics
Readings: Kempe’s The Book of Margery Kempe
Introduction and one critical essay in the collection
Paired Presentation on Renaissance Men and Rhetoric
Readings: Kennedy pp. 226-231, Hillary Rodham Clinton speech
de Pisan’s The Treasure of the City of Ladies and introduction
Sign up for individual presentation date
Paired Presentation on Renaissance Women and Rhetoric
Readings: Kennedy pp. 244-245
Erasmus’ The Education of a Christian Prince and introduction
Machiavelli’s The Prince and introduction
Ambrosia, Nectar, and Pears Dinner
Turn in Research and History Notebook
Bring 16 copies of concluding statement