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The Art of Rhetoric (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

Aristotle , Hugh Lawson-Tancred
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

31 Oct 1991
With the emergence of democracy in the city-state of Athens in the years around 460 BC, public speaking became an essential skill for politicians in the Assemblies and Councils - and even for ordinary citizens in the courts of law. In response, the technique of rhetoric rapidly developed, bringing virtuoso performances and a host of practical manuals for the layman. While many of these were little more than collections of debaters' tricks, the Art of Rhetoric held a far deeper purpose. Here Aristotle (384-322 BC) establishes the methods of informal reasoning, provides the first aesthetic evaluation of prose style and offers detailed observations on character and the emotions. Hugely influential upon later Western culture, the Art of Rhetoric is a fascinating consideration of the force of persuasion and sophistry, and a compelling guide to the principles behind oratorical skill.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (31 Oct 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140445102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140445107
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 118,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aristotle was born at Stageira, in the dominion of the kings of Macedonia, in 384 BC. For twenty years he studied at Athens in the Academy of Plato, on whose death in 347 he left, and, some time later, became tutor of the young Alexander the Great. When Alexander succeeded to the throne of Macedonia in 335, Aristotle returned to Athens and established his school and research institute, the Lyceum, to which his great erudition attracted a large number of scholars.

After Alexander's death in 323, anti-Macedonian feeling drove Aristotle out of Athens, and he fled to Chalcis in Euboea, where he died in 322. His writings, which were of extraordinary range, profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy, and they are still eagerly studied and debated by philosophers today. Very many of them have survived and among the most famous are the Ethics and the Politics.


Product Description

About the Author

Aristotle was born in 384BC. For twenty years he studied at Athens at the Academy of Plato, on whose death in 347 he left, and some time later became tutor to Alexander the Great. On Alexander's succession to the throne of Macedonia in 336, Aristotle returned to Athens and established his school and research institute, the Lyceum. After Alexander's death he was driven out of Athens and feld to Chalcis in Euboea where he died in 322. His writings profoundly affected the whole course of ancient and medieval philosophy.

HUGH LAWSON-TANCRED was born in 1955 and educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford. He is a Departmental Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Birkbeck College in the University of London. He has published extensively on Aristotle and Plato and is currently engaged in research in computational linguistics. He translates widely from the Slavonic and Scandinavian languages. He is married with a daughter and two sons and lives in North London and Somerset.


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First Sentence
The work opens with a suitably general introduction, setting the art of rhetoric within its broader intellectual framework. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond PowerPoint. Be persuasive and good! 25 Jan 2010
Format:Paperback
Rhetoric sounds dubious. Is it concerned about convincing people of what you think is right for you but not necessarily good for the person you want to convince. Is it about selling your ideas to gain power or wealth by overwhelming your audience with false arguments convincingly presented?
Aristotle tries to solve this dilemma insisting that all persuasion should be with the intention of making a contribution to happiness by furthering virtuous behavior. He also presents the methods you should use to convince people to believe you. I find the book useful from both points of view.
Aristotle explains very clearly that to be persuasive you have to be rational and have the ability to understand and arouse emotions of the audience in your favor.
The book was written as a kind of handbook to be used 2400 years ago. Most of it, but not all is still valid to day. It has become a common practice to use PowerPoint presentations to convince people. The method of Aristotle is about content, structure, logic and emotions. Some slides may still be useful, but if you really want to be successful you better focus on the content using Aristotle type argumentation. All people that have to make speeches or presentations will find a wealth of ideas in this book. I found it a pity that the book does not contain complete speeches of Aristotle. The book should be of special interest to politicians and leaders in business that have to address large audiences with somecritical and skeptical members.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond Praise 24 Oct 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a difficult read for the most part, but it's certainly worth the effort and perseverance. It's a very solid very impressive guide to public speaking, debate, persuasion. Everyone reading this should give it a go. It will improve any bookshelf instantaneously and has the power to transform your career. Seriously - better than any career self-help book, you really should buy yourself a copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fundamental 18 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you don't read this book you just miss the point... As in the Poetics, in The Art of Rhetoric, are the foundations of western writing and argumentation... It is were all begun... kind of genesis of persuasion...
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the novice politician 7 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you fancy being a cabinet member, say a Secretary of State for Education, try reading this book and you can talk about nothing endlessly, even if you know little about the subject under discussion.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Well that was Aristotle 5 Sep 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well I tried to read this but found it too be, well disjointed and frankly I did not understand it. before you claim I am an ignoramus I do hold an LL.B (Hons) and I have done a bit of high level study in my time. Aristotle may have been a great thinker but it is the people who interpret his ideas and report upon them that teach us, not the man himself.
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