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Cover for Writing Instruction in Nineteenth-Century American Colleges (Studies in Writing and Rhetoric)

Writing Instruction in Nineteenth-Century American Colleges (Studies in Writing and Rhetoric)

Professor James A. Berlin

Paperback

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Description

Defining a rhetoric as a social invention arising out of a particular time, place, and set of circumstances, Berlin notes that “no rhetoric—not Plato’s or Aris­totle’s or Quintilian’s or Perelman’s—is permanent.” At any given time several rhetorics vie for supremacy, with each attracting adherents representing vari­ous views of reality expressed through a rhetoric.

Traditionally rhetoric has been seen as based on four interacting elements: “re­ality, writer or speaker, audience, and language.” As emphasis shifts from one element to another, or as the interaction between elements changes, or as the def­initions of the elements change, rhetoric changes. This alters prevailing views on such important questions as what is ap­pearance, what is reality.

In this interpretive study Berlin classi­fies the three 19th-century rhetorics as classical, psychological-epistemological, and romantic, a uniquely American development growing out of the transcen­dental movement. In each case studying the rhetoric provides insight into society and the beliefs of the people.

Southern Illinois University Press, 9780809311668, 128pp.

Publication Date: April 30, 1984



About the Author

James A. Berlin teaches in the English department at the University of Cincinnati.