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CL4050 Rhetoric: The Art Of Persuasion

Rhetoric formed the pinnacle of ancient education, as the ability to speak and write convincingly remained essential for successful participation in public life. We look at the development of rhetoric as an analytical discipline and of its primary application, oratory. We explore the power of words in social performance in ancient and modern contexts, following the ancient rhetors’ educational model: you will learn by analyzing famous speeches and the ‘rules’ for successful speaking, but also by writing and delivering speeches yourself.
  • Module Organiser:
    • Dr Martine Cuypers
  • Duration:
    • All year
  • Contact Hours:
    • 44 hours, 1 x 2 hr class p.w.
  • Weighting:
    • 20 ECTS
  • Assessment:
    • 65% continuous assessment (three written assignments), 35% final examination

Learning Outcomes

On successful conclusion of this module, students should be able to:

  • describe the main lines of development of rhetorical theories and oratorical practice in antiquity
  • analyse the assigned primary sources within their socio-historical context and against the background of ancient and modern rhetorical theory and oratorical practice
  • recognise and analyse the use of rhetorical techniques in written texts and oral communication
  • explain and apply the most important technical terms of ancient rhetoric
  • critically discuss the relationship between rhetoric and related disciplines such as philosophy, education, literary criticism, psychology and linguistics
  • discuss similarities and differences between ancient and modern rhetorical approaches and ancient and modern oratorical practice

Introductory Reading

  • Worthington, I., ed. (2007) A Companion to Greek Rhetoric (Malden)
  • Dominik, W. and Hall, J., eds. (2006) A Companion to Roman Rhetoric (Malden)
  • Kennedy, G.A. (1994) A New History of Classical Rhetoric (Princeton)
  • Kennedy, G.A., trans. (2007) Aristotle, On Rhetoric: a theory of civic discourse (Oxford)
  • May, J.M. and Wisse, J. (2001) Cicero, On the Ideal Orator (Oxford)
  • Charteris-Black, J. (2013) Analysing Political Speeches: Rhetoric, Discourse and Metaphor (Basingstoke)