| Reference Works
- Richard Lanham, A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms. 2d ed. (University
of California, 1968).
A useful and inexpensive resource on figures of speech with some material
on broader rhetorical concerns (which are sometimes lost amid the terms
for figures). Sources for this are chiefly from the Renaissance and
so terminology is not always consistent with classical sources.
- Lausberg, Heinrich, Handbook of Literary Rhetoric. Ed. David
E. Orton and R. Dean Anderson (Brill, 1998). A comprehensive,
erudite, and expensive handbook to rhetorical and literary terminology
first published in German in 1960 and recently translated into English.
Lausberg cites long passages from original Greek and Latin sources.
Best for consulting the history of a given term. The book is hampered
by an overly hierarchical organization. Also, this handbook puts minor
rhetorical treatises on par with major ones such as Quintilian and Cicero.
Excellent if dated bibliography, with indices in Latin, Greek, and French.
- Theresa Enos, ed. Encyclopedia of Rhetoric and Composition
A very useful and accessible study of rhetoric that
will be of chief interest to writing instructors. Material on historical
rhetoric is presented in brief articles with substantive discussions
of more important terms. Some figures are defined well in short entries,
but sources for these are not given and are often inconsistent with
classical or renaissance primary sources.
- William A. Covino, David A. Jolliffe, Rhetoric: Concepts, Definitions,
Boundaries (Allyn and Bacon, 1995)
An excellent overview article of the history of rhetoric
is followed by a section on major rhetorical terms and authors (somewhat
selectively chosen). The bulk of this excellent resource is an anthology
of critical articles about rhetoric as it has developed both historically
and within different disciplines. Excellent for graduate studies in
rhetorical theory broadly conceived.
- Thomas O. Sloane, ed. Encyclopedia of Rhetoric (Oxford, 2001)
An academic encyclopedia of rhetorical history and theory
whose articles on major aspects of rhetoric are very strong. When treating
style and the figures of rhetoric this resource departs from a chiefly
historical approach to one informed by the taxonomies of modern linguistics.
Otherwise, a very competent, if expensive, resource for rhetorical studies.
| Studies of Rhetoric
- Brian Vickers, In Defence of Rhetoric. (Oxford, 1998)
A spirited overview of the history of rhetoric, especially
as a discipline in competition with philosophy in antiquity. Vickers
makes interesting connections between rhetoric and other arts, and includes
a section illustrating figures of speech. Excellent for undergraduate
and advanced studies in rhetorical history and theory.
- Thomas Conley, Rhetoric in the European Tradition. (New York:
An accessible and accurate introduction to the history
of rhetoric in Europe. Conley pinpoints major trends and figures in
the history of rhetoric, and usefully includes outlines of various authorities'
texts as he moves from period to period. Highly recommended for beginning
students of the history of rhetoric.
| Anthologies of Primary Texts in Rhetoric
- Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg, The Rhetorical Tradition
2d ed. (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001).
An excellent anthology of primary texts from classical
antiquity to the present, including many texts not otherwise available
to beginning students. Selections from the 20th century are less canonically
chosen than those through the 19th century, and may reflect the interests
of the editors and contributors more than the full manifestation of
rhetorical theory and practice in the last century.
- Patricia P. Matsen, Philip Rollinson, and Marion Sousa, Readings
from Classical Rhetoric. (Southern Illinois University Press, 1990)
There is no comparable anthology for strictly classical
studies of rhetoric. Does not always include primary sources from the
full range of classical authorities, but usefully includes selections
from sources not primarly considered rhetorical but which do manifest
the rhetorical tradition (Homer, etc.). Excellent set of both orations
and of critical writings about rhetoric.
Monographs / Electronic versions of original sources
In addition to finding the works of classical writers on rhetoric
such as Aristotle, Plato, Cicero, and Quintilian in the Loeb series, the
following monograph editions are recommended because of their supplementary
critical apparatus. Some online versions are also indicated:
- Aristotle, On
Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. Tr. George A. Kennedy
An excellent modern translation of this primary text
in rhetoric. Kennedy retains and explains many of the original Greek
terms in his thorough notes. An inexpensive and authoritative edition
ideal for students and scholars.
- George Puttenham, The Arte of English Poesie (1589)
(Kent State University Press, 1970).
This facsimile edition is difficult to read due to Renaissance
printing conventions. See also the complete text online
at Representative Poetry Online.
- Thomas Wilson, The Art of Rhetoric (1560). Ed. Peter E. Medine
(Pennsylvania State University Press, 1994)
I recommend this edition because of Medine's very able critical apparatus
and notes. However, the complete text is also online
at Virginia Commonwealth University or at
| Textbooks for Teaching Writing
These are textbooks more explicitly based on classical rhetorical pedagogy:
- Edward P.J. Corbett and Robert Connors, Classical
Rhetoric for the Modern Student, 4th ed. (Oxford, 1995)
Classical rhetoric is used to teaching composition.
An apt adaptation for students of many ages. Unlike many modern rhetorics
that claim some connection to classical rhetoric, Corbett and Connors
include explicit directions in imitation and in the progymnasmata
exercises.Useful charts in the front and back covers display the whole
of the classical rhetorical system. Good reference section to the figures
of speech, as well as to the topics of invention.
- Frank D'Angelo, Composition
in the Classical Tradition (Allyn and Bacon, 2000)
D'Angelo has developed a modern rhetoric based on the
ancient progymnasmata exercises. A somewhat different treatment than
Crowley and Hawhee. Does not include the full system of rhetoric, but
one of only three books to take these vital preliminary exercises (the
- Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee, Ancient
Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, 2d. ed. (Longman, 1998)
Another modern rhetoric based on the ancient progymnasmata
exercises. A somewhat different treatment than D'Angelo. Does not include
the full system of rhetoric, but one of only three books to take these
vital preliminary exercises (the progymnasmata) seriously.
- Robert A. Harris, Writing
with Clarity and Style: A Guide to Rhetorical Devices for Contemporary
Writers (Los Angeles: Pyrczak
A workbook style rhetoric that is the only composition
book employing many specific rhetorical figures to understand basic
modes of essay writing. It may undersell its significance by seeming
to focus only on stylistic matters, when the figures it teaches are
ways of making prose not only more decorative, but more cogent.
| Shakespeare and Rhetoric
- Sister Miriam Joseph, Shakespeare's Use of the Arts of Language
(New York: Columbia UP, 1947; rpt. New York: Hafner Publications, 1966;
rpt. Paul Dry Books, 2005).
in print, this remains the most thorough
and accessible assessment of rhetoric in Shakespeare, going well beyond
- T.W. Baldwin, William Shakspere’s Small Latine and Lesse
Greeke (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1944)
This classic two-volume study is comprehensive to a fault, but very
useful for students of Renaissance education (if a bit dated). Compare
to Miriam Joseph's study.
- Heinrich Plett, English Renaissance Rhetoric and Poetics: A Systematic
Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Sources (Leiden: Brill, 1995).
Contains a lengthy section canvassing rhetorical studies
of Shakespeare. A most useful bibliography for rhetorical studies of
- Toby Widdicombe, Simply Shakespeare (Longman, 2002).
See chapter three for a good rhetorical introduction
to Shakespeare. Excellent for bringing rhetoric into the Shakespeare
classroom at secondary or college levels.