What Medieval Europeans Talked about When They Talked about Rhetoric

Martin Camargo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article cites evidence from Western European rhetoric textbooks written in Latin between the twelfth and the fourteenth centuries to dispel three myths about medieval rhetoric that often are repeated by historians of rhetoric whose focus is not the Middle Ages and sometimes by medievalists whose focus is not rhetoric.It shows that(1) medieval rhetoricians treated argumentation in some detail and so were not concerned exclusively or principally with stylistic ornamentation,(2) medieval rhetoricians paid close attention to oral delivery and so did not limit their instruction to the characteristics of written texts,and(3) medieval rhetoricians were alert to the need for creative adaptation to different rhetorical situations and so did not rely almost entirely on the mechanical application of inflexible rules.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-56
JournalThe Journal of International Rhetoric Studies
StatePublished - 2014


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