ERIC Number: ED200977
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Ramus Revisited: The Uses and Limits of Classical Rhetoric.
Walpole, Jane R.
Everything taught as rhetoric today can be traced to Aristotle, but his rhetoric needs to be updated. The five elements of his rhetoric--invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery--were designed for public orators, but rhetoric has since come to mean the written rather than the spoken word. Peter Ramus redefined rhetoric in the sixteenth century, leaving style as its sole element, and Victorian rhetoricians later resurrected invention and arrangement. Since memory is the written word, and delivery incorporates penmanship and mechanics, Aristotle's complete rhetoric is appropriate for writing, but has not kept pace with changes in instruction. The classical orator had a subject, a purpose, and an audience for this speech. Today's students are assigned papers with no purpose, subject, or audience, thus reducing invention to choosing a topic. Classical arrangement is designed to help a listener follow an oral argument, but a reading audience can follow more complex arrangements by referring back or rereading. Modern authors seldom use the classical arrangement, but many composition texts still offer only this ear-directed arrangement for eye-directed writing. Ramus was correct in that rhetoric does essentially deal with style. Aristotle's rhetoric needs to be modified to structure an effective writing style that appeals to both eyes and ears. (HTW)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aristotle; Classical Rhetoric; Ramus (Peter)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (32nd, Dallas, TX, March 26-28, 1981).