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rhetoric


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In Greek, the art of speaking so as to persuade, was from the first tied up with ethics (persuasion of what is true) and literature (use of language in order to please). It was a branch of the medieval Trivium and therefore an important part of the school syllabus up to the 17th cent. Literary rhetoric is concerned with the organization (inventio and dispositio) and embellishment (elocutio) of works. The first of these is prominent in many 18th‐cent. works (Tristram Shandy and A Tale of a Tub, for instance), and the second is important in its provision of poetic ‘devices’ (figures and tropes) in poets from Chaucer to the present day.

Subjects: Literature


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