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Writing Instruction in Nineteenth-Century American Colleges
by James A. Berlin
Southern Illinois University Press, 1984
eISBN: 978-0-8093-8652-9 | Paper: 978-0-8093-1166-8
Library of Congress Classification PE1405.U6B47 1984
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.042071173

ABOUT THIS BOOK | AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK



Defining a rhetoric as a social invention arising out of a particular time, place, and set of circumstances, Berlin notes that “no rhetoric—not Plato’s or Aris­totle’s or Quintilian’s or Perelman’s—is permanent.” At any given time several rhetorics vie for supremacy, with each attracting adherents representing vari­ous views of reality expressed through a rhetoric.


Traditionally rhetoric has been seen as based on four interacting elements: “re­ality, writer or speaker, audience, and language.” As emphasis shifts from one element to another, or as the interaction between elements changes, or as the def­initions of the elements change, rhetoric changes. This alters prevailing views on such important questions as what is ap­pearance, what is reality.


In this interpretive study Berlin classi­fies the three 19th-century rhetorics as classical, psychological-epistemological, and romantic, a uniquely American development growing out of the transcen­dental movement. In each case studying the rhetoric provides insight into society and the beliefs of the people.




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