Renaissance Rhetoric in Theory and Practice
This course provided an introduction to Renaissance texts from the standpoint of the art of rhetoric as it was formulated, taught, and applied to textual composition and interpretation in the educational institutions of the period. During the fall quarter the rhetorical doctrine of Agricola, Erasmus, Vives, and Melanchthon were examined. Description and analysis of rhetorical theory in the works of these authors were tested and refined by a comparative examination of the concrete examples given in their rhetorics and, finally, by comparison with their own rhetorical practice. Additional examples of rhetorical composition in the texts of a “classic” author who was not a professional rhetorician were drawn from the works of William Shakespeare. The second quarter of the course was devoted to the preparation and presentation of two research papers.
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