Rhetoricians in Black: Benedictine Monks and Rhetorical Revival in Medieval Oxford

Martin Camargo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


After a long hiatus, Latin composition textbooks began to be written in England and especially in Oxford in the second half of the fourteenth century, when the number of Benedictine monks sent to study at the university increased significantly. Many such treatises are attributed to Benedictine authors or survive in manuscripts that can be traced to major Benedictine houses. The rhetorical treatises associated with monks who studied and taught at Oxford are distinguished above all by their literary emphasis and their conscious antiquarianism. Oxford-trained monks drew on their rhetorical training to supervise the training of young monks, handle the chapter's correspondence and chronicle its history, participate in theological controversies, and even compose poetry in Latin and the vernacular.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Chapters in the History of Rhetoric
EditorsLaurent Pernot
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9789004175020, 9789047428473
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NameInternational Studies in the History of Rhetoric
ISSN (Print)1875-1148


  • Benedictine monks
  • Latin composition textbooks
  • Oxford-trained monks
  • rhetoricians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • History
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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