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ERIC Number: ED408607
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 11
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
John Stirling and the Classical Approach to Style in 18th Century England.
Moran, Michael G.
Most 18th-century rhetoricians viewed style as the expression of a writer's individual character and thought, placing little emphasis on the lists of figures common in many 17th-century rhetorics. John Stirling and others, however, continued the 17th-century tradition that reduced rhetoric largely to style and emphasized classical figures of speech. Stirling's first major book, "A System of Rhetoric" (1733), intended for elementary students, went through about 18 editions and remained in print for 100 years. Its popularity proves that rhetoric was by no means neglected on the elementary level, and it represents an important development in the curriculum as it moved from Latin-based to English-based instruction. It also demonstrates a representative 18th-century pedagogical method for teaching rhetorical figures to young students as tools for analyzing texts. The book began with Stirling's own explanation in English of 94 distinct rhetorical figures; the second part discusses the same figures in Latin. To help memorization of the figures, Stirling 's definitions were versified into "distiches," or rhymed couplets. As an additional learning aid, Stirling numbered the name of each figure at the end of the line of poetry in which it was mentioned. In a section labeled "Terms English'd," students are given English terms equivalent to the Greek and Latin ones. Stirling's purpose was not to produce effective speakers or even graceful writers but to make his students better readers of the classics, and to that end, he was successful. (Contains six references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A