On Style
Rhetoric Timeline
Primary Source Synopses

Demetrius (1st cent. A.D.)

Compact Outline:

Book I Preliminary Remarks on the Period, etc.
Book II The Four Types of Style: The Elevated Style
Book III The Four Types of Style: The Elegant Style
Book IV The Four Types of Style: The Plain Style
Book V The Four Types of Style: The Forcible Style

Detailed Outline:

Book I: Preliminary Remarks on the Period, etc.
The members and their appropriate length
The ‘phrase’
The period
The periodic and the disjointed style. Number of members in a period.
The historical period
The rhetorical period
The conversational period
Period formed of contrasted members
Symmetrical members
Members with similar terminations, and cautions
The enthymeme and its difference from a period
The member as defined by Aristotle and Archedemus

Book II: The Elevated Style
1.1 Elevation in Composition or arrangement
1.2 Elevation in subject-matter
1.3 Elevation in diction
1.4 Frigidity (corresponding vice, in similar three areas)
  Figures of Speech
  Simile and Imagery
  Onomatopoeic or coined words
  Brevity, aposiopesis, indirect and harsh-sounding expressions, etc.
  Poetical color in prose

Book III:The Elegant Style
1 Kinds of grace and their elements
  Sources of grace in diction and composition
  Sources of grace in subject-matter:
Proverbs, Fables, Comparisons, Hyperboles
  Difference between the ridiculous and the charming
2 Elegant diction, beautiful and smooth words
3 Elegant composition
4 Affected style as the correlative vice of the elegant style

Book IV:The Plain Style
1.1 Plain subject-matter
1.2 Plain diction
1.3 Plain composition
1.4 Arid style as the correlative vice of plain style
  Concerning clearness; Also concerning stage-style and concerning repetition
  Concerning vividness
  Concerning persuasiveness
  Concerning the epistolary style (blend of plain and graceful styles)

Book V: The Forcible Style
1.1 Forcible subject-matter
1.2 Forcible composition
1.3 Forcible diction
1.4 Concerning the graceless style
  Concerning figured language
  Concerning hiatus in forcible passages

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
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