ERIC Number: ED240573
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Style in Rhetorical Context: Aristotle's Four Virtues of Style and Stylistic Theory and Practice.
Brown, Betsy E.
Aristotle's four virtues of style--clarity, propriety, dignity, and purity--can serve as a useful model for teaching and for research in linguistic style. These virtues reflect the writer's careful consideration of the subject, the audience, the writer's voice, and the linguistic community for the writing. Unfortunately, these virtues have fallen out of favor because their applications throughout history have been uneven and their uses have at times become abuses. In different periods of rhetorical history, over-zealous enthusiasm has elevated one characteristic of style to the virtual neglect of the others. However, the very fact that this framework can be used as a way of understanding the shifting tides of taste in the history of style demonstrates its value for identifying the emphases of particular theorists. If one examines the most persistent stylistic abuse of the twentieth century, the "official style," and the virtue of style most frequently cited in defense against it--clarity--one can see the value of the four virtues as correctives to the tendency to define stylistic focus too narrowly. (HOD)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Aristotle; Rhetorical Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (34th, Detroit, MI, March 17-19, 1983).