Read Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student by Edward P.J. Corbett Robert J. Connors Online


Widely used in advanced composition and writing courses, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student discusses the three vital components of classical rhetoric--argument, arrangement, and style--bringing these elements to life and demonstrating their effective use in yesterday's and today's writing. Presenting its subject in five parts, the text provides grounding in the eleWidely used in advanced composition and writing courses, Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student discusses the three vital components of classical rhetoric--argument, arrangement, and style--bringing these elements to life and demonstrating their effective use in yesterday's and today's writing. Presenting its subject in five parts, the text provides grounding in the elements and applications of classical rhetoric; the strategies and tactics of argumentation; the effective presentation and organization of discourses; the development of power, grace, and felicity in expression; and the history of rhetorical principles. Numerous examples of classic and contemporary rhetoric, from paragraphs to complete essays, appear throughout the book, many followed by detailed analyses. The fourth edition of Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student features a new section on the Progymnasmata (classical composition exercises), a new analysis of a color advertisement in the Introduction, an updated survey of the history of rhetoric, and an updated section on "External Aids to Invention."...

Title : Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student
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ISBN : 9780195115420
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 578 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student Reviews

  • Paul
    2019-03-29 02:23

    This college textbook, first published in 1965, is much more than a mere aid for students trying to learn how to come up with essay topics and then how to write the essay; it is a labor of love, even a cri de coeur, by a man who wants to revive the ancient and much-examined art of rhetoric. This book can be studied with great profit by anyone who wants to write effectively.The author breaks his text into five parts:* an Introduction in which he defines rhetoric and presents examples of effective discourse, ancient and modern*the Discovery of Arguments, or formulating your thesis and finding persuasive points for supporting it*the Arrangement of Material, or how to present your points in an effective way*Style, an examination of sentences, diction, usage, and figures of speech, and*a concluding Survey of Rhetoric, in which the author gives a brief history of rhetoric as it has affected English proseEach of these sections is filled with interesting and useful material. As might be expected, the core classical text for this book is Aristotle's Rhetoric, but Corbett draws freely on other sources as well, including Quintilian, Cicero, Longinus, and many others. The ability to speak persuasively in public was a key skill for the citizen of an ancient city-state, and over the centuries this skill became thoroughly examined and analyzed by the best minds of the period.Speaking for myself, as someone who was born with significant writing talent, who has written professionally since 1978, and who has written millions of words in a variety of formats and genres, I learned a lot from each section of this book. When I was in school, writing was not taught with anything like this level of depth, rigor, or precision.Corbett's text treats rhetoric as an art--but an art in the Aristotelian sense. From this point of view, it is a knowledge of principles that elevates a knack into an art. This book is concerned with the principles of effective writing: the skeleton, flesh, and skin of a persuasive or moving discourse.Following Aristotle, Corbett presents the "three modes of persuasion"--the so-called rational, emotional, and moral arguments. The rational argument makes its appeal to our reason by the use of logic; the emotional argument makes its appeal to our feelings; and the moral argument makes its appeal based on our perception of the speaker or writer as a person. Interestingly, Aristotle felt that this last was the most persuasive appeal of the three; we are most inclined to accept the argument of someone that we like and admire. These three modes of persuasion permeate all the specific strategies and techniques presented in the rest of the book.Corbett gives the reader lots of work to do along the way. I did most of it, and still felt I was only making the very first beginnings. He has you analyzing Aristotelian syllogisms; breaking down sample discourses into their component topics or specific argumentative strategies; breaking down more discourses into their structural components; even copying individual paragraphs written by excellent writers of the past--that's right, copying them out longhand, as you might have done early in grade-school, to absorb some of the stylistic prowess of the author.Along the way you'll read a lot of excellent writing by authors such as Pericles, Samuel Johnson, Thomas Jefferson, Matthew Arnold, and many others. Furthermore, you'll read them in an alert, critical way that you might not in any other context. The individual paragraphs he gets you to copy will take you all the way from the King James Bible to Edmund Wilson, by way of Thomas Hobbes, Daniel Defoe, Edward Gibbon, Washington Irving, Walter Bagehot, and Mark Twain--again, among many others.As long as there are human beings and speech, there will be rhetoric. Perhaps my greatest takeaway from this book is the realization of how poorly and sloppily I use language for the most part, and how poorly and sloppily others do as well, even when they really don't want to. Now I can glance at a letter to the editor, see the topics and appeals used, and note how successful, or rather how unsuccessful, they are.Friends, we're all rhetorical flops. Are you satisfied with that condition? If not, there's a remedy. It's this book. Get it, read it, work it. Let's become citizens in the full sense.

  • Joanna
    2019-04-13 01:14

    Incredible. Designed a rhetoric class with this book and made my students do daily imitations!!

  • J. Alfred
    2019-04-04 02:07

    I'm impressed by this text. It's pretty imposing, but much more readable than you might expect from the dry title. It includes a lot of long exerpts from historically useful authors for example and discussion which are interesting in their own right. The section on invention or discovery is remarkably out of date in that there is a paragraph at the end of the long part on this exotic thing called the World Wide Web which could prove to be important, but it does a fantastic job of explaining what research used to mean. Overall, if one went through this patiently and carefully, doing all of the writing exercises the text suggests (possibly with a smart, ambitious and unoccupied friend) I imagine it would do a commendable job of teaching you, all by itself, to be a good writer, thinker, and reader.

  • Kristine
    2019-04-19 20:23

    Challenging, erudite, and dense, but also one of the clearest and best written books I have encountered in field of classical rhetoric. I was inspired to look up some older rhetoric books ( has many with no copyright available for free) to search for practical exercises in not only rhetoric, but also progymnasmata exercises (sort of per-rhetoric training for younger kids) that are fun and challenging at the same time for homeschooling. Corbett makes the whole field of rhetoric viewable so that I can see the forest for the trees and can evaluate other books and curriculum for my kids. Of course I'll be using Corbett directly with my high schoolers, but he's a little advanced for starting rhetoric study.

  • Mikael
    2019-04-04 18:08

    git those pebbles out o yo mouth demosthenes cant hear a word youre sayin man!

  • Elliott Bignell
    2019-04-10 21:02

    It took me a while to get round to reading this book properly, its paedagogical heft being somewhat daunting, but I am glad I did so. For a person coming from a technical background, and lacking a classical grounding, it may not even be that clear what classical rhetoric really is. (Unless one has already taken a hobbyist's interest in Aristotelian philosophy or law.) This book will rectify that deficit very effectively, and I daresay it amounts to a full foundational course even for a professional rhetorician.Rhetoric has tended to come into bad odour in the last century or so, partly because it fell out of favour in teaching for decades, and partly because it has attracted an evil-smelling resonance with politicians in the public mind. What this book makes clear is that rhetoric, in fact, has both an antique and an honourable heritage dating back to Socrates and Cicero and further, and that part of this heritage is the Greeks' search for the Good. To persuade, it is in some degree necessary to lead by example; the man of unimpeachable integrity can better stand before a crowd and ask for their allegiance than the known crook. How are the mighty fallen!It is surprising just what a vocabulary has accumulated around rhetoric, starting with Aristotle's meticulous classifications. There are technical terms for more figures of speech than one might dare to imagine. The creation of material has also benefited from an analytical approach. All of this is covered in the book, which finishes with a fairly thorough review of the history of rhetoric since antiquity. There is also copious study material, including Churchill, Rachel Carson, Madison and the glorious prose of Martin Luther King, who I have come to regard as the master in the modern world of this field. Study these people well, because they have put in the years of effort and achieved transcendance, in many cases truly changing their world with their words. A brief grounding in formal logic is provided, which it is necessary to understand in order to form sound arguments but which does not actually provide many persuasive ones. It is a source of some pain to me as a professional logician, or software engineer, but it has to be admitted that logic does not sway people in arguments. For that, you need rhetoric.I have not done the exercises in the book, and it has to be said that this is not good enough. Style comes with application, and to get the best out of this work one needs to apply oneself assiduously, over a period. I hope to remedy this with time, but having just read it thoroughly now is the time for a review. The exercises include hand-transcription of notable rhetoricians' texts that one might pay them proper attention, analysis of texts and creative writing. This is not an NLP-style, facile "modelling" but a process of hard analysis and development. You need to think about writing and speaking, and you need to keep thinking about them. Rhetors such as Churchill and King invested decades developing their unique voice.If you are up for the work, I would judge that this is an excellent place to get a grounding in rhetoric and to acquire excellence in writing or speaking style. It is probably insufficient in its own right. I would recommend getting lessons on speaking technique or acting if you wish to address crowds, and if you want to be a good writer to read and write about everything you can get your hands on. The best foundation for accomplished rhetoric is a good, liberal education and a sense of curiosity about the world, and the book makes that clear. I might recommend a copy of A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms as a companion to expand your mastery of the rhetorical toolkit. Otherwise this book supplies copious suggestions for source and resource material.

  • Sheena
    2019-04-16 23:00

    "Classical Rhetoric" is definitely beneficial for any writer. Edward Corbett and his co-author, Robert Connors, analyze the process of writing. While this is obviously useful for persuasive, analytical, and other forms of academic writing, many techniques discussed are helpful for any writing. Corbett and Connors work with many processes for writing, and provide different methods to approach an assignment or experiment.The one thing I don't love about this book is the weightiness of explanation. If a book is written by writers about writing, it should be (and this is) written well; however, well-written *can* be easy to read. Academic writing, in my opinion, can and should be readable. I understand wanting to avoid filler, but I feel that approachable writing is just as necessary as quality content.

  • Julia
    2019-04-07 21:10

    Corbett's Classical Rhetoric is on my "save in case of fire" shelf at home. As a high-school English teacher, I'm continually perplexed by the conflation of reading, writing and argument into a single course we call English (or language arts in the lower grades). Why not separate literature and rhetoric? Every subject in the curriculum would benefit from students having had at least a couple years of study in rhetoric alone. And Corbett's book would-of course-be the text. .

  • Parnell
    2019-04-10 20:14

    This book will always be a favorite on my bookshelf. It touches on many subjects; logic, debate, argumentation (forming and analyzing), cogent and lucid expression, &c... It also has many exercises that are tremendously useful.

  • Jackee
    2019-03-25 20:06

    If you want to advance your formal writing techniques read this book and use it for reference forever after.

  • Randy Hulshizer
    2019-04-06 20:08

    Excellent book for an overview of classical rhetoric.

  • David
    2019-04-04 00:11

    Only read about half. I wish that more people would study this subject.

  • Jeremy
    2019-04-18 21:15

    Dr. Donnelly used this text in his Baylor undergraduate Milton course (Spring 2013). It was also assigned for his Milton course that I took in Spring 2014.Read pp. 1-96, 120-30, 337-39, 377-411.

  • Zanéa
    2019-03-22 00:25

    I hated this book except for the decent essays like the one by Thoreau and Woolf.

  • Donna
    2019-03-26 23:28

    The is the book I turn to first when I need help with my writing.

  • Rick Davis
    2019-04-07 02:08

    I've actually used this a lot in the past. However, I haven't read every essay in the book. Maybe someday I'll finish it.

  • Alan
    2019-04-10 19:18

    Really worth a look for readers and writers.

  • Bill
    2019-03-21 22:21

    Highly recommended by " The Word Nerds"

  • Tony
    2019-03-21 23:29

    Excellent read - the best part was the style section.

  • David Hincapie
    2019-04-02 23:25

    Because of this book I now have an opinion on the teaching of English composition that is as strong and deeply felt as that of any English teacher or professor with twenty years of experience.I am either an annoying fool or I have wisely assimilated another's wisdom. The author is himself a professor with decades of experience, so he's at least worth listening to.The idea behind this book is simple: Since Aristotle the art, technique, and purpose of argument has changed little. Rhetoric is the study of that art, technique, and purpose.If you want to write or speak in public better than you do now, study rhetoric. It's that simple.

  • travelgirlut
    2019-03-20 19:22

    I didn't abandon this book because it was bad; it just wasn't what I was looking for right now. I was looking more for an overview on writing and this book is very specific about rhetoric, which I won't be needing for my kids for a couple years yet, so I decided to set it aside for now. I did read through the intro chapters that give an overview of rhetoric and then just scanned through the rest of it, and that was enough for my purposes for now.

  • Matt McMahon
    2019-04-19 00:24

    Well written and gripping book on Rhetoric. Great instruction for how to form arguments and how to present them. This is one of my permanent reference collection. I turn to it for inspiration often.

  • Bob Ladwig
    2019-04-10 01:07

    Excellent book on classical rhetoric.

  • Chad
    2019-04-19 18:13

    Insightful, informative treatment of the disciplined art of rhetoric. Helpful illustrations, examples, and practice material. Written in a readable, engaging style. Excellent work.

  • Bjm Index
    2019-04-09 02:17


  • Daniel Reynolds
    2019-03-26 21:26

    An extremely lucid overview of a tradition that is just now coming back into vogue - both fascinating and practical.