Hugh Blair, George Campbell, and Richard Whately, whose works were first published in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, constituted the great triumvirate of British Rhetoricians. For 20 years, earlier printings of this book, which contains substantial excerpts comprising the most significant portions of their writings, have been widely used as textbooks in history-of-rhetoric courses. An increasing interest in rhetoric at the college level has created a renewed demand for reprints of such classic primary texts.
The Preface places the three rhetoricians within the context of the rhetorical tradition, which began in 5th-century BCE Greece. The bibliographies have been updated to include 20th-century scholarly work on Blair, Campbell, and Whately, and on the 18th- and 19th-century rhetorical movement. Biographical sketches of Blair, Campbell, and Whately are also provided.