Complete Story

KENNERLY, Michele and Carly S. WOODS

Spring 2018, 48.1, pages 3-27

Moving Rhetorica 

Abstract: Native to ancient dialogues, medieval allegories, and early modern iconologies, Rhetorica has come to represent rhetoric as an area of academic inquiry. In this essay, we consider how contemporary rhetorical scholars and organizations have used Rhetorica and explore the potential of other personifications of rhetoric and persuasion, drawing on rhetoric’s histories to supply new inventive resources for rhetorical inquiry. First, we introduce lesser-known depictions of Rhetorica. Her range gives historical grounding to a scholarly imaginary that has moved beyond yet still uses Mantegna’s Rhetorica. We do not urge rhetoricians to select a new face for the discipline but instead to recognize Rhetorica’s own diversity and history as an on-going aid and asset to rhetorical thinking and theorizing. Second, we advocate a shift from an exclusive focus on Rhetorica to a shared focus on her less disciplinarily profuse predecessor, Peithō (persuasion).


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