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date: 12 June 2021

How to Do Things with Rhetoric in Early Modern English Writing

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews recent scholarly work on the connections between rhetoric and literature in the period 1500–1700. It describes the historicist turn in the wake of Brian Vickers’s In Defence of Rhetoric (1988) and uses the five canons of rhetoric (inventio, dispositio, elocutio, memoria, actio) to illustrate and extend recent methodological developments in the field. Through a series of case studies, the article outlines four principal future directions for the study of Renaissance rhetoric. First, it advocates a more context-specific analysis of rhetorical concepts. Second, it calls for more sustained attention to rhetoric as an art of argument (and therefore to its overlaps with dialectic and with scholastic forms of thought). Third, it argues for the importance of ecclesiastical and neo-Aristotelian handbooks of rhetoric. Fourth, it encourages consideration of the material dimensions of rhetorical theory and practice.

Keywords: rhetoric, dialectic, memory, John Donne, Richard Crashaw, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, Thomas Nashe

[A proper history of rhetoric] will consider … the totality of teaching material, ancient and modern, in Greek, Latin, and the vernaculars[.] It will also consider the parallel presence of rhetoric in major literary forms, such as poetry, history, the sermon, the letter, the novel, and the other arts, for these are all ways in which rhetoric has influenced the thought-habits and modes of expression in a society. A properly balanced history will also be responsive to the actual emphases in rhetoric at each point in time or within a culture, [ … ] and will need to consider the role of eloquence in institutions, such as parliaments, lawcourts, universities, academies.

(Vickers 1988, 436–437)

Back to the Future

The first thirty minutes of Robert Zemeckis’s 1989 film Back to the Future Part II takes place in the distant future of 2015. The film’s hero, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox), travels to a world that has seen astonishing advances in technology (the hoverboard, the flying car), fashion (the double tie), and the institutions of government (there are no lawyers). And though it is perhaps a mercy that we have yet to see the triumph of the double tie (or for that matter, the making of Jaws XIX), Zemeckis’s film is in many ways remarkably prescient, and not merely in its prediction of the rise of automation and digital technologies (a prototype of the flying car was unveiled in 2014). The epilogue to Brian Vickers’s In Defence of Rhetoric, published in paperback in the same year, considers “[T]he Future of Rhetoric”; it looks forward to a world in which structuralist and deconstructionist approaches to the discipline have been superseded, or at least complemented, by a more rigorously historicist methodology that seeks to embed rhetoric in its intellectual, cultural, and institutional contexts. Looking back at the scholarly landscape from the distant future of 2015, it seems that he was largely right. With his “thoroughly polemical” history (to quote one influential review), Vickers perhaps did more than any other scholar to move rhetoric to the center of our thinking about early modern literature and its cognate disciplines.

I want to begin, at the obvious but in some ways inevitable risk of simplification, by identifying some of the major staging posts in the recent study of Renaissance rhetoric. Over the last decade or so Peter Mack’s work on rhetoric in the Elizabethan classroom has immeasurably enhanced our understanding of the curricular and institutional emphases of rhetorical teaching in the early modern period, but it has also fruitfully combined research on pedagogical texts with the practical elements of rhetorical education by examining its applications in literary, political, and religious discourses (Mack 2002). Yet despite these efforts, a total grasp of “teaching material, ancient and modern, in Greek, Latin, and the vernaculars” is still a long way off. Scholarship in the United Kingdom and the United States has on the whole tended to concentrate on the vernacular rhetoric handbooks (Puttenham 1589; Peacham 1593; Wilson 1553) and on the reception of Roman theories of eloquence. Mack’s more recent History of Renaissance Rhetoric 1380–1620 (2011), which explores the discipline’s history from a more comprehensive European perspective, highlights a number of key areas that urgently require further study. These include works at the intersection of rhetoric and dialectic, as well as preaching manuals in the Protestant and, more influentially, the Counter-Reformation tradition; I hope to demonstrate here how these texts can productively inform literary interpretation (Mack 2011, 257–281). Mack also brings into focus a trio of important early seventeenth-century syntheses: Bartholomaeus Keckermann’s Systema Rhetoricae (1606), Gerardus Vossius’s Institutiones Oratoriae (1606), and Nicolas Caussin’s Eloquentiae Sacrae et Humanae Parallela Libri XVI (1619). All three “absorbed Aristotle’s Rhetoric and other Greek rhetorical works … in different ways”; a more sophisticated understanding of these treatises can help us see more clearly how Hellenic traditions of rhetorical thought impacted on early modern literary theory and practice, especially in relation to questions of style (Mack 2011, 186–207; quotation at 186).

Quentin Skinner’s work represents a second influential strand in the recent study of rhetoric. His Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes (Skinner 1996) explored the ways in which the teaching of rhetoric came to be questioned in the course of the seventeenth century; alongside its magisterial survey of classical eloquence in Renaissance England, however, Skinner’s study also established the crucial significance of elocutio—the third of the five canons of rhetoric dealing primarily with the tropes and figures of speechto the moral vocabulary of early modern political theory. Skinner’s analysis of techniques of redescription and, centrally, of the figure of paradiastole, showed that far from being purely ornamental, the figures performed a variety of mimetic functions that were critical to the rhetorical work of persuasion (see also Vickers 1970; Adamson et al. 2007). Skinner’s work in the 1990s, which did much to recuperate the figures of speech as nuclei of thought and catalysts of emotion, can be described as the middle phase of a larger project on rhetoric. This began, in The Foundations of Political Thought (Skinner 1978), with an analysis of the role of Roman rhetorical culture in the city-republics of Renaissance Italy and concluded, in Forensic Shakespeare (Skinner 2014), by exploring Shakespeare’s engagement with judicial rhetoric. Skinner’s most recent contribution seeks to shift the focus from elocutio to inventio, the first of the five rhetorical canons, devoted to finding material for a successful argument (if elocutio teaches us how to say something, inventio teaches us what to say); the polemical force of this intervention bears witness, in turn, to the impact of Vickers’s defence of rhetoric, which had sought to discredit its reputation for vapid ornament and pernicious verbal manipulation, thereby firmly putting the focus on elocutio.

Another direction of travel for the study of rhetoric, then, is an expanding and more nuanced sense of how its five canons operate. As well as demonstrating how recent scholarship has sharpened our grasp of inventio and elocutio, one of the aims of this article is to say something about how a better understanding of the other three canons—dispositio, the arrangement of arguments discovered during the process of inventio and, more briefly, memoria (the arts of memory) and actio / pronuntiatio (the persuasive resources of voice and gesture)might help to address some of the more neglected but crucial functions of rhetorical discourse in the early modern period. But in order to do so, I need to attend first to two other aspects in the list of scholarly desiderata that forms the epigraph for this chapter. Twenty-five years ago Vickers called for a history of rhetoric that considers its “actual emphases … at each point in time or within a culture” and its “role … in institutions, such as parliaments, lawcourts, universities, academies.” The crucial importance of treating these two ambitions as connected is illustrated by a study that uses rhetoric as part of a broader argument about the relationship between legal culture and theatrical representation in late Elizabethan England, Lorna Hutson’s The Invention of Suspicion: Law and Mimesis in Shakespeare and Renaissance Drama (2007; see also Peltonen 2012, Rhodes 1992). One of the greatest strengths of Hutson’s approach is that her sense of rhetoric’s “actual emphases”that is, the centrality of invention to both legal and dramatic sensibilitiesemerges through the precise institutional and cultural placement of invention in the context of common law procedures. Statutes passed in the 1550s, Hutson argues, effected “a transformative refinement” of existing legal codes in “requiring Justices to take written examinations of those arrested to record the grounds on which they decided to detain a suspect in prison or, alternatively, to grant bail[;] … Justices of the Peace had to find ways of weighing likelihoods applicable to all kinds of cases. They had, effectively, to become experts in the invention, or finding, of arguments of suspicion” (Hutson 2007, 2). In pinpointing these techniques of invention, Hutson primarily draws on Latin treatises of rhetoric, particularly Cicero’s De Inventione (1949). But her attention to the nascent participatory structure of English common law (rather than Cicero’s Roman law court) enables a triangulation among law, literature, and rhetoric that shows how the precepts of forensic argument were themselves transformed and adapted to a different cultural and sociopolitical environment. Following Hutson’s example, and using a different case study from the sphere of law and a different genre (the sermon), another aim of this article is to complicate the idea of a linear process of transmission between Roman and early modern rhetorical discourses. There is, as Skinner (2014) demonstrates in Forensic Shakespeare, a substantial strand of Renaissance English literature that is “classical and humanist in its intellectual allegiances,” owing (among other factors) to the availability of core textsQuintilian’s Institutio Oratoria, the Rhetorica ad Herennium, and Cicero’s works, among othersas well as to grammar school teaching practices and the influence of Roman rhetoricians on English theorists like Thomas Wilson, whose Arte of Rhetorique (1553) was the most influential vernacular handbook in the late sixteenth century. But Skinner’s insistence on rhetoric conceived not simply as a demonstration of eloquence but as a “theory of argument” also encourages us to consider alternative narratives and lines of influence. Rhetoric considered as one part of the trivium, the advanced education in the language arts, reveals complex interrelations, in the literary theory and practice of the period, with grammar and dialectic. The relationship between rhetoric and dialectic more particularly had come under scrutiny in the work of Petrus Ramus, who in an effort to rethink the teaching of the liberal arts, had divided the five-part scheme, assigning inventio and dispositio to dialectic, dispensing with memoria altogether (since a truly systematic approach to argument does not necessitate a separate art of memorial retention), and leaving rhetoric with elocutio and pronuntiatio (see Ong 1958; Howell 1956; Hotson 2007; Reid and Wilson 2011). But even the most ardent Ciceronian was likely to have confronted the methods of dialectic at university or as part of a course of professional education after imbibing the techniques of forensic invention in the classroom. A common lawyer training at the end of the sixteenth century, for instance, might have undergone a university education that still bore the vestigesin terms of content and, perhaps even more important, of pedagogical methodof scholastic systems of instruction. And in continuing his education at one of the Inns of Court, as J. H. Baker has pointed out, “the division of exercises into lectures and disputed cases reflected the educational system in the universities, and … resulted in a parallel graduation system” (Baker 2011, 17). My point is that the best recent work on rhetoric has moved toward a mode of analysis that is at once more contextually embedded and discursively specific: more contextually embedded in seeing rhetoric as part of a wider curricular framework (e.g., the trivium) and institutional matrix (e.g., the workings of the common law), and more discursively specific in recognizing how particular elements of the rhetorical system may acquire significance in a particular genre or mode. My sample reading of dispositio below may go some way toward substantiating this approach in focusing on sermons preached to legal audiences; John Donne’s preaching to the lawyers of Lincoln’s Inn responds acutely to the forms of professional instruction practiced there.

The five brief case studies that constitute the remainder of this article follow (mainly for practicality’s sake) the five canons of rhetoric. They aim to summarize and illustrate recent developments in the field of rhetorical study andespecially in the case of the sections on dispositio and elocutio—to nuance or expand some of these findings. I explain what the parts of rhetoric are and how they work and then show how they might be applied in a variety of ways to different aspects of literary practice, including the structural, material, conceptual, and performative dimensions of early modern texts.


“Invention is the discovery of valid or seemingly valid arguments to render one’s case plausible” (“Inventio est excogitatio rerum verarum aut veri similium quae causam probabilem reddant”)

[Cicero 1949, 1.7.9]

The importance of inventio is most obvious in relation to forensic oratory, in which the fate of a client depends on the advocate’s ability to construct a plausible case. Skilled invention, however, is equally relevant to the other two branches of oratory, epideictic and deliberative. In the case of the former, the success of rhetorical praise or blame hinges on one’s ability to identify, for example, a subject’s strengths and weaknesses; in the case of the latter, a political decision may be affected by knowing exactly which parts of an issue to highlight and, just as crucially, which ones to avoid. Shakespeare’s plays, of course, present us with almost infinite variations on all these rhetorical scenarios and indeed often combine them. Here I want to explore briefly how Shakespeare’s use of rhetorical inventio in The Winter’s Tale may be considered part of the play’s multiple preoccupations with questions of truth, belief, and plausibilityand with the effectiveness of rhetoric itself. I concentrate on a brief extract from Hermione’s trial scene in act 3, scene 2 to show how the crisis of judicial invention encapsulates the crisis of knowledge that propels, dramaturgically speaking, the highly implausible events that take place in the second half of the play. Structurally, as has often been observed, the trial scene is complicated by the fact that Leontes effectively acts not simply as prosecutor, but also as jury and judge, while Hermione is left to mount her own defense. But the extent to which the trial is procedurally and morally complicated emerges much more starkly when we take a brief look at Cicero’s compact definition of forensic invention in De Partitione Oratoria, an elementary textbook written in the form of an imagined dialogue with his son:

Cicero Junior:Inasmuch then as the first of the speaker’s functions is to invent, what will be his aim?

Cicero Senior:To discover how to convince (“fidem faciat”) the persons whom he wishes to persuade and how to arouse their emotions.

C. Jun.What things serve to produce conviction?

C. Sen.Arguments, which are derived from topics that are either contained in the facts of the case itself or are obtained from outside.

( … )

C. Jun.What is an argument?

C. Sen.A plausible device to obtain belief (“probabile inventum ad faciendam fidem”).

C. Jun.How then do you distinguish between the two kinds of arguments you speak of?

C. Sen.Arguments thought of without using a system I term arguments from outside, for instance the evidence of witnesses.

C. Jun.What do you mean by internal arguments?

C. Sen.Those inherent in the actual facts of the case.

C. Jun.What kinds of evidence are there?

C. Sen.Divine and human. Divine evidence is for instance oracles, auspices, prophecies, the answers of priests and augurs and diviners; human evidence is what is viewed in the light of authority and inclination. (Cicero 1942, 1.5–7)

The forensic orator’s task is to discover material that will inspire belief in his audience; this includes arguments “from outside” (described elsewhere in rhetorical theory as “inartificial proofs”) such as witnesses, and “internal” (or “artificial”) ones, including, for example, the divine evidence of oracles. In act 3, scene 2 of The Winter’s Tale, Shakespeare delivers a textbook example of forensic inventio in his presentation of evidence, only to short-circuit its persuasive force dramatically. In act 2, scene 1, Cleomenes and Dion had been dispatched to Sicily to consult Apollo’s oracle, their own credentials as reliable witnesses (“of stuffed sufficiency,” 2.1.186) amply attested by the king himself. Upon their return they are made to reaffirm their probity by swearing to the authenticity of the oracular evidence they have deliveredoaths being another type of inartificial evidencebefore Apollo’s judgment on Hermione’s case is pronounced (on witnesses and oaths, see Aristotle 1926, 1.15.13–20 and 1.15.27–33). But even before this powerful proof of her innocence is delivered in the hands of two witnesses certified by her accuser, Hermione’s own defense has conformed, in every way, to the standards of successful invention. From Aristotle onward, rhetorical persuasion could be effected through three types of artificial or internal proofs: logos, or the appeal to reason; ethos, which drew on the persuasive appeal of character; and pathos, the appeal to emotion. In addressing Leontes’s accusations, Hermione immediately acknowledges the crucial element to the challenge of inventio:

  • Since what I am to say must be but that
  • Which contradicts my accusation, and
  • The testimony on my part no other
  • But what comes from myself, it shall scarce boot me
  • To say “Not guilty”. Mine integrity
  • Being counted falsehood, shall, as I express it,
  • Be so received.

(Shakespeare 2016, 3.2.20–26)

In cases such as this, Aristotle suggests that the principal recourse should be to ethos, “[f]or, if we have no evidence as to the fact itself, neither in confirmation of our own case nor against our opponent, it will always be possible to obtain some evidence as to character that will establish either our own respectability or the worthlessness of our opponent” (Aristotle 1926, 1.15.19). This is precisely how Hermione proceeds:

  •          You, my lord, best know,
  • Who least will seem to do so, my past life
  • Hath been as continent, as chaste, as true,
  • As I am now unhappy; which is more
  • Than history can pattern, though devised
  • And played to take spectators. For behold me,
  • A fellow of the royal bed, which owe
  • A moiety of the throne, a great king’s daughter,
  • The mother to a hopeful prince, here standing
  • To prate and talk for life and honor, fore
  • Who please to come and hear. For life, I prize it
  • As I weigh grief, which I would spare. For honor,
  • ’Tis a derivative from me to mine,
  • And only that I stand for.

(Shakespeare 2016, 3.2.30–43)

Hermione’s appeal is to innate nobility and honor deriving from her own royal birth and from her role in the dynastic succession: “a great king’s daughter, / The mother to a hopeful prince.” Her invitation to Leontes to “behold” is a comment on the ignominious spectacle of her trial, but for the audience it refers even more obviously to the visual representation of Leontes’s extreme prejudice earlier in the play (e.g., 1.2.267–273: “Ha’not you seen, Camillo,— / But that’s past doubt; you have, or your eye-glass / Is thicker than a cuckold’s horn … My wife is slippery”). As a demonstration of royal virtue, Hermione’s focused and controlled exposition ought to fulfill its purpose, but it in fact completely fails to inspire any belief in her accuser. Leontes casts aside her defense in the same way that he will discount the oracle and its witnesses: “There is no truth at all i’th’ oracle. / The sessions shall proceed” (3.2.137–138). Fides, or conviction, cannot be produced in an audience whose perspective is terminally skewed; this is thrown into sharp relief by the play’s staging of a conspicuously flawless process of evidential discovery. Shakespeare’s carefully staged failure of inventio literalizes Cicero’s and Aristotle’s conception of intrinsic and inartificial proof by basing Hermione’s appeal on innate, or intrinsic, royal virtue; ironically, this evidence strikes Leontes as pointlessly artificial and flawed, despite its manifest and convincing embodiment in her speech. The rhetorical process mobilizes forensic material perfectly and puts its resources at the service of truth; its flawless performance of credibility even happens to meet the facts. Leontes’s unwillingness to recognize the true meaning of Hermione’s inventio—his insistence that she is inventing a lie rather than uncovering the true circumstance through a process of evidential discovery (in classical Latin, invenire primarily means “to find, discover”)precipitates a crisis of knowledge and identity that is readdressed, albeit in a very different key, in Hermione’s implausible revival at the end of the play.1 In The Winter’s Tale, then, Shakespeare exploits his audience’s familiarity with the techniques of inventio. He uses argument in a way his spectators (and readers) would have recognized; more important, however, he explores key moral and epistemological questions by showing the limits of inventio—and of rhetorical modes of persuasion more generallyin a context of prejudicial interpretation and judgment.

Disposition or Arrangement

“Arrangement is the distribution of arguments … discovered [by invention] in the proper order” (“dispositio est rerum inventarum in ordinem distributio”)

[Cicero 1949, 1.7.9].

The second stage of the rhetorical process is devoted to dispositio, or arrangement of argument; it is treated most extensively in book 3 of Aristotle’s Rhetoric (3.13–19). Even a brief glance at Renaissance literary practice demonstrates that the order and shape of an argument profoundly impacts on its persuasive value. In Donne’s valediction poems, for example, a departing lover typically seeks to reassure and comfort a female partner; their main rhetorical technique is the conceit, an extended image using an object whose characteristics are presented in a particular sequence. The most famous of these, “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning,” uses a mathematical instrumenta pair of compassesto illustrate the idea that physical distance does not pose a substantial threat to the lovers’ mutual fidelity. In attempting to convince his mistress, the lover explains the various properties of the compass: he tells her that it is unbending (“stiffe” [line 26]) and that its two arms are joined together (lines 26–29), before proceeding to describe its movement and operation. He describes, first, how the arm at the center of the circle lovingly supports its companionit “leans and hearkens after it, / and grows erect as it comes home” (lines 31–32)and second, how stability at the center ensures the completion of the circle (“Thy firmness makes my circle just / And makes me end where I begun”; lines 35–36). However, the order in which the argument is presented actually draws the reader’s attention to the fact that the conceit cannot be visualized as a single, unified operation; as one recent editor of Donne’s poems points out, the pair of compasses “both describes a circle, in which the arms would remain at the same distance, and is expanded and contracted before and after the geometer uses them” (Donne 2010, 260). To put it more simply, the outer arm of the compass cannot complete the circumference and return to the center at the same time. The conceit, then, does not cohere perfectly, and this is crucial to our understanding of the poem’s tone. A quasi-scientific argument, no matter how smartly presented, cannot ultimately offer a watertight insurance policy against emotional estrangement or hope to protect against the psychological pressures of physical separation. By arranging his argument in a particular way, Donne highlights the fragility of the conceit and of the speaker’s persuasive efforts more generally, and this in turn reflects the emotional complexities of the poem’s valediction scenario.

Donne also exploits the resources of dispositio in his preaching, and nowhere more extensively and thoroughly than in the sermons he delivered for the lawyers at the Society of Lincoln’s Inn between 1616 and 1621. The arrangement of argument played an important part in sermons, both as a way of structuring the listening experience (the sequence of argument was usually explained at the start of the sermon as part of its divisio) and in relation to the act of scriptural exegesis that forms the substance of every sermon (texts could be explained seriatim, following the words of the scriptural passage, or thematically, for instance). Donne’s audience at Lincoln’s Inn in the early 1620s were members of the Society variously engaged in the methods of legal education; he uses forms of argument that are recognizably indebted to the rules of pleading to delineate the theological parameters of his discourse.

Pleadingthe second stage of the judicial process after the initial writ had been issuedwas “the core of the advocate’s art, the prime task undertaken by a lawyer in open court, the end to which legal training was for several centuries directed” (Baker 2002, 71). The ultimate aim of pleading was to produce the issuethat is, the question of law or facton which a legal dispute turned. Sometimes, as in Donne’s sermon on Genesis 18:25, “Shall not the Iudge of all the earth do right,” this method is referred to openly, alongside the type of evidence to be considered during the process of exegetical trial and judgment:

Make this then the question, whether Christ ever appeared to men upon earth, before his Incarnation; and the Scriptures not determining this question at all, if the Fathers shall be called to judge it, it will still be a perplexed case, for they will be equall in number, and in waight.

(Donne 1953–1962, vol. 3, sermon 5, lines 260–264)

More frequently and intricately, however, the legal process of pleading is woven into the theological fabric of a sermon’s divisio and argument. Donne’s sermon on 1 Peter 1:17“And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every mans works, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear”is a powerful case in point. Pleadings can be described in terms of a tree diagram or path model, in which an initial decision determines or restricts possible outcomes at the next stages of the process. J. H. Baker explains some of the rules governing the options for legal argument; after the plaintiff had presented his facts, the defendant only had two means of response:

[H]e had either to deny those facts (or one of them), or admit them and show that they did not entitle the plaintiff to succeed. This option provided him with four possible pleas. A denial of all the facts was called a general traverse, and it produced the general issue. The denial of one material fact was a special traverse, and it put that fact in issue. If the defendant admitted the facts, there were again two means of escape. One was to deny that in law the facts as agreed amounted to a case against him; this was a demurrer, and it produced an issue of law, no facts being in dispute. Or he might admit the plaintiff’s facts but introduce further facts to explain them away; this was a confession and avoidance.

(Baker 2002, 77)

The language of positing, denying, and admitting finds a ready parallel in scholastic exercises such as the obligationes, a highly formalized mode of argument between an “opponent” and a “respondent.” The term obligatio refers to the participants’ obligation to follow a set of rules regarding the possible range of propositions and responses to be presented as part of a sequence of argument; as in legal pleading, the process was governed by strict principles of logical inference and consequence. In Donne’s sermon on 1 Peter 1:17, the path model used in pleading is invoked as a means of controlling the explication of his text, but ultimately serves to illustrate the inexorable consequential logic of humanity’s relationship with God. Donne begins with a grammatical analysis of the opening clause of his text“And if ye call on the Father”and then unravels the moral implications of conceding this assumption:

[T]here is thus much more force in this particle Si, If, which is (as you have seene) Si concessionis, non dubitationis, an If that implyes a confession and acknowledgement, not a hesitation or a doubt, That it is also Si progressionis, Si conclusionis, an If that carryes you farther, and that concludes you at last, If you doe it, that is, Since you do it, Since you do call God Father, since you have passed that act of Recognition, since not onely by having been produced by nature, but by having beene regenerated by the Gospel, you confesse God to bee your Father, and your Father in his Son, in Christ Jesus: Since you make that profession, Of his owne will begate he us, with the word of Truth, If you call him Father, since you call him Father, thus, goe on farther, Timete, Feare him; If yee call him Father, feare him, &c

(Donne 1953–1962, vol. 3, sermon 5, lines 124–136)

Donne’s reading transforms a conditional particle (“If”) into a subordinate causal conjunction (“Since”); in a neat mirroring of the legal maneuver he is about to perform, this shift effects a movement from “hesitation or … doubt” to “confession and acknowledgement.”

Once we have conceded or admitted this reading, we are committed—through force of causation—to one particular path of the argument: “If you call him Father, since you call him Father, … Feare him.” Donne “carryes” us “farther along” this chain of reasoning until we reach the ultimate and inevitable moment of “recognition”: since we have conceded the fact of paternity, we are structurally obligated to “goe on farther” and acknowledge its consequence—the supremacy of godly fear. In the second part of his argument, Donne will in turn explore the consequences of this concession: to fear God is to acknowledge his power over us, especially in relation to his judicial function. In this way, Donne’s main thematic preoccupation in his sermon on 1 Peter 1:17—an indictment of judicial malfeasance and corruption—is articulated through a process of lawyerly logic. It is crucial to note, however, that this is not simply a case of form mirroring, or perhaps even enacting, content. In legal pleading, the form, shape, and arrangement of the argument identify or produce the issue; the truth or falsehood of a proposition cannot come into question unless it is raised in the pleading process. In epistemological as well as procedural terms, then, a court cannot be said have knowledge of a matter that is not pleaded. But if the disposition of argument defines or determines the issues that can be debated, I suggest, we need to rethink the status of argument in Donne’s preaching at Lincoln’s Inn more broadly. To say that the main legacy of Donne’s “legal” sermons is a structural one is to acknowledge that the Society’s lawyers had a penchant for intricate argument, that they were trained in the arts of logical and counterfactual reasoning, and that they could make a case for both sides of a question. Much more importantly, however, it is to realize that the disposition and shape of an argument is not simply a matter of convenient arrangement, but the prime means by which legal and theological “issues” are created, through a structured process of proposition, concession, and refutation. The form of argument deployed in Donne’s Lincoln’s Inn sermons determines the modes of doctrinal and pastoral instruction he is able to mobilize. As in the process of pleading, the arrangement of argument not only shows the order of ideas, but dictates what kinds of ideas are possible: techniques of disposition set the key parameters of any legal and, in Donne’s case, homiletic disputation. Donne’s legal rhetoric is not, in the main, about either elocutio (i.e., a forensic style of preaching; see below), or even inventio (i.e., regular recourse to legal concepts), but about the theory and practice of legal argument, or the rhetorical canon of dispositio, in recognizable debt to scholastic techniques of instruction and reasoning (rather than a humanist and classical tradition). In a trial before a judge, argument can become a matter of life and death; Donne’s Lincoln’s Inn sermons may dramatize a different kind of judgment, but plead with, and for, their audience in ways that are uniquely suited to their habits of thought.

Elocution or Expression

“Expression is the fitting of the proper language to the invented matter” (“elocutio est idoneorum verborum ad inventionem accommodatio”)

[Cicero 1949, 1.7.9]

Elocutio, the third of the rhetorical canons, concerns itself with the expression of the ideas that have been generated through the process of inventio and arranged into a particular order or argumentative shape at the second stage of dispositio. Its building blocks are the figures of speech and thought which, in various models of configuration, were often (and especially in Roman rhetorical theory) mapped onto three principal categories of style: the high or grand style, the middle style, and the low or plain style (these could in turn be associated with the three main purposes of rhetoric: to move [grand], to please [middle], and to teach [low]). Recent scholarship has been especially successful in advancing our understanding of the figures as functional “equipment” rather than mere linguistic ornament (ornatus, Quintilian’s term for elocutio in books 8 and 9 of the Institutio Oratoria, refers in classical Latin to the weapons and accoutrements of war). In George Herbert’s “A Wreath,” for example, the figure of anadiplosisthe repetition, in inverted order, of a phrase from the previous line at the beginning of the nextis used to sculpt the poem’s central image:

  • A wreathed garland of deserved praise,
  • Of praise deserved unto thee I give,
  • I give to thee, who knowest all my wayes.
  • My crooked winding wayes, wherein I live,
  • Wherein I die, not live: for life is straight.

(Herbert 2007, lines 1–5)

Herbert creates his wreath by interweaving anadiplosis with cross-rhyme, but in line 5 he introduces a more complex idea by deploying the figure of epanorthosis, in which an initial thought is corrected and amended. Here, this yields the realization that the speaker’s (wreath-like) “crooked winding wayes” lead not to life, but death (“wherein I live, / Wherein I die, not live”), and that the elaborately crafted garland of praise may not be compatible with the “straight” and narrow path of virtue. The introduction of epanorthosisfrom Gk. epi, “in addition,” ana, “again,” and orthos, “straight”thus marks a change of rhetorical direction that enacts the speaker’s moral reorientation, as he attempts to straighten himself out: the final line of the poem abandons the idea of artificial wreaths and garlands for a much simpler “crown of praise” (line 12).

But we can also think about elocutio in the more global context of style, as I suggested previously. “Grand,” “middle,” and “low,” unsurprisingly, were far from innocent categories, and I want to consider in a little more detail some neglected Counter-Reformation rhetorics to illustrate how expectations about matching styles and subject matter may have led us to misunderstand the poetry of one particularly complex seventeenth-century writer, Richard Crashaw. Crashaw’s biographical trajectory, which culminated in a conversion to Roman Catholicism in 1644, is well known, as is the association of his style with some of the core features of baroque poetics, including a tendency toward hyperbolic intensity and elaborate metaphorical ornamentation. Situating Crashaw’s poetry in the context of Counter-Reformation rhetorics, I suggest, allows us to describe his style more precisely, because these manuals present a more integrated perspective on elocutio than their secular (or, for that matter, their Reformed) counterparts. Descriptions of style in these manuals are firmly embedded in a theory of the religious emotions; crucially, their recasting of the classical rhetorical ideal of movere also involves sustained analysis of its doctrinal, moral, and aesthetic ramifications.

One of the most puzzling elements of Crashaw’s style is its propensity for pronounced oscillations in tone; many of the poems in the 1646 edition of Steps to the Temple (all quotations from Crashaw 1927) do not simply feel hyperbolically overextended, but also perform a contrary movement of gravitational tonal descent, often to disconcertingly comic effect. In “The Weeper,” Crashaw’s voice famously soars into the stratosphere and has angels sipping from the Milky Way, but the final couplet lands in a more prosaic place: “[W]e goe to meet / A worthier object, Our Lords feet” (stanza 23). An ecstatic meditation “On the wounds of our crucified Lord” builds toward a mouth-in-foot moment of spiritual intensity (“This foot hath got a Mouth and lippes” [line 13]), while the weary pilgrim of “Psalme 23” anticipates the revelation of divinity not as a heavenly vision, but as an opportunity to rest his legs: at the end of the quest lies a place “Where no churlish rub saies nay / To my joy-conducted Feet / Whil’st they Gladly goe to meet / Grace and peace” (lines 30–33). In moments such as these, bathos can appear to dilute pathos, the rhetorical category that describes effective appeals to an audience’s emotions. Crashaw’s approach persistently deploys these techniques of perspectival and tonal dissonance and therefore does not easily conform to what Debora Shuger has described, influentially, as the “Christian grand style” in the Renaissance: “a lofty, moving style” characterized by “tropical richness and figures of thought” (1988, 109). His studied inconsistency of register can, however, be accounted for at least to some extent by the psychological, cognitive, and theological models of style developed in the Counter-Reformation rhetorics of Nicholas Caussin and Agostino Valier. In chapter 8 of his Eloquentiae Sacrae et Humanae Parallela XVI (1619), “De Affectibvs,” Caussin outlines a variety of approaches to the emotionsincluding Thomistic, Aristotelian, and Galenic (2C6v). The prudent orator must be mindful of the philosophical, doctrinal, and medical dimensions of his approach; following the popular maxim “contraria contrariis curantur” (“opposites are cured by opposites”), for example, Caussin counsels the employment of contrasting emotions to therapeutic effect (“De Modo, et de ratione mouendi,” 2E1v), and his chapter on “De Mixtura Affectvvm” (2D6v), far from demanding decorous consistency, recommends combinations and, not infrequently, violent clashes of register: “[n]on erunt igitur omnia vno affectu pertextenda, sed prout rerum, actionumque dissimilitudo postulabit, grata disparitate miscenda, quam necessario actionis excitata quaedam species, atque admirabilitas consequitur.” The therapeutic dimension of elocutio pertains particularly to the idea of love, the centerpiece of Caussin’s and Valier’s taxonomy of the passions. Arguing in explicit opposition to the Stoic position that all forms of emotional upheaval are pathological (De Rhetorica Ecclesiastica ad Clericos [1574, 91]), Valier discovers a devotional and moral rationale for commotio in its ability to excite love. Since most human love naturally tends toward earthly things (concupiscentia), it must be counteracted and redirected through constant emphasis on charity, the licit love of God and neighbor. In Valier’s classic reformulation of an Augustinian commonplace, “the source of all good affections is the love of God, the source of all evil affections is inordinate love of the world” (“fons omnium affectionum bonarum sit amor Dei, malarum amor mundi inordinatus,” 91). Stimulating the love of God is the province of the grand style, and Valier’s exhortation to superlative sublimity is only surpassed by the glory of its object: “Deum esse amabilissimum, quia optimus, quia benignissimus, quia pulcherrimus” (ch. 4, 92). This register of ecstatic celebration ultimately anticipates a joyful and eternal union with God (see Valier, 94, on the need to excite a longing for our “heavenly home”), and is represented in its purest form by the conclusion to Crashaw’s “On a prayer booke sent to Mrs. M.R.”:

  • O let that happy soule hold fast
  • Her heavenly armfull, shee shall tast
  • At once, ten thousand paradises
  •                              there she meets
  • Boundlesse and infinite________________________
  • ________________________bottomlesse treasures,
  •             Of pure inebrieting pleasures,
  • Happy soule shee shall discover,
  •                What joy, what blisse,
  •          How many heavens at once it is,
  • To have a God become her lover. (lines 105–118)

As a statement of aesthetic emphasis, these lines could not be more different from the Reformed restraint of Herbert’s “Prayer (I),” which never comes any closer to a description of spiritual communion than the sparse and cryptic final phrase, “something understood.” Crashaw’s poem, by contrast, obsessively fills space, as if any moment of silent meditation might threaten to swallow up the reader; even the typographical line across lines 112–113 acts as a kind of bridge between divine infinity and the promise of “bottomlesse treasures.” It is a commonplace to observe that this contrast in poetic philosophy is doctrinally grounded: Crashaw’s elevation of love entails, of course, a diminution of faiththe cornerstone of Protestant theology. In his controversial (and unsubtly titled) “Sermon preferring holy Charitie before Faith, Hope, & Knowledge,” Robert Shelforda former student at Peterhouse, Cambridge, where Crashaw took up a fellowship in 1635defines this position precisely:

[C]haritie is the master and governour of knowledge. You may surfet with knowledge; so you cannot with charitie…. [I]n the building of a Christian toward heaven, charitie is the master-builder; … perfect charitie, is perfect righteousnesse. And when that is come, then there is no difference between God and man.

(Shelford 1635, 97–98)

But while “On a prayer booke sent to Mrs. M.R.” rejoices hyperbolically in the prospect of union with God, it is not, characteristically, consistent in its tonal orientation. The prayerful heart may behold “ten thousand Paradises” but is never allowed to lose sight of duties closer to home: “the heart, / That studies this high art, / Must be a sure house keeper, / And yet no sleeper” (lines 29–32). In its movement of metrical expansion and contraction (in lines spanning from four to ten syllables), and in traveling between paradise and pantry, Crashaw’s poetry measures and reasserts the distance between God and mankind even as its stylistic overextension anticipates loving union and consummation. Crashaw insists on this dual perspective in part because his most acute preoccupation is not with the figure of God, but with the person of the Son. Christ—a figure whose very existence is predicated on a paradoxical union of human and divine elements—poses a different kind of stylistic challenge to ecclesiastical rhetoricians, and this challenge is rearticulated forcefully in Crashaw’s poetry. Valier’s taxonomy of style responds specifically to the need to stimulate charitable feelings in response to Christ’s love (95); Caussin, in describing possible configurations of styles, argues that the grand style is suitable for the celebration of divine glory, but also discovers in the “stylus humilis” a manifestation of a different aspect of divinity. Presenting St. Francis as an example of the humble style, Caussin praises his Christlike virtue of condescension and his adeptness at devising a plain style accommodated to the needs of his audience (Caussin, F6r, and see Auerbach 1993). The union of divine and human natures in the person of Jesus Christ, then, requires a kind of bathos, “the art” (in Pope’s formulation) “of sinking”; Crashaw’s extreme variations in register constantly draw attention to the cognitive and representational challenge of seeing God in man and vice versa. Crashaw consciously destabilizes the reader’s sense of stylistic decorum through rhetorical maneuvers that are both theologically significant and faintly absurd. A description of Christ from Crashaw’s Sospetto d’Herode may serve as a brief illustration:

  • That hee whom the Sun serves, should faintly peepe
  • Through clouds of Infant flesh: that hee the old
  • Eternall Word should bee a Child, and weepe.
  • That hee who made the fire, should feare the cold;
  • That Heavn’s high Majesty his Court should keepe
  • In a clay-cottage, by each blast control’d. (stanza 23)

Epic lends itself especially well to bathos, as Pope knew, and at one level Crashaw’s translation of Marino’s poem resembles nothing so much as a bad baroque painting, complete with chubby infant. At the same time, however, the rhetorical maneuvers deployed here make an utterly serious point: the process of metaphorical transferencethe Godhead in baby Jesus “peepe[s]” like the sun through fleshy cloudsevokes an altogether grander scheme of transference in the doctrine of communicatio idiomatis, the idea that in the unity of Christ, divine attributes can be referred to his human nature and vice versa. Without this utterly confounding union of divine and human elements, humankind cannot be redeemed by the sacrifice of the cross: Christ is both the source of salvation in his divinity and the locus of salvation in his human suffering. The poem’s perspectival manipulations, its sheer reach and extent, thus rightly insist on a sense of wonder and incongruity; Crashaw’s text refuses to resolve tonally and metaphysically, constantly reminding the reader of both the devotional efficacy and the cognitive difficulty of the hypostatic union. This alternative conception of decorum finds its most vibrant expression in Counter-Reformation rhetorics, to which Crashaw’s poetry is both aesthetically and theologically indebted.

Memory and Delivery

“Memory is the firm mental grasp of matter and words” (“memoria est firma animi rerum ac verborum perceptio”)

[Cicero 1949, 1.7.9]

“Delivery is the control of voice and body in a manner suitable to the dignity of the subject matter and the style” (“pronuntiatio est ex rerum et verborum dignitate vocis et corporis moderatio”)

[Cicero 1949, 1.7.9]

Unlike the other three canons, which are devoted to the production of rhetorical material, memory and delivery may be said to address its successful reproduction: memoria teaches how the material is to be stored and retrieved, while actio (or pronuntiatio) instructs in the projection of voice and use of gesture as means of aiding its delivery to the audience. In their purely technical aspects, then, these last two canons are less readily coopted for literary analysis, and this may go some way toward explaining their relative neglect in Vickers’s Defence. Another reason is that for all its methodological prescience, even Vickers’s account could not hope to cover all significant developments in the discipline. Where Back to the Future Part II was reticent on the rise of the Internet (fair enough, perhaps; in the 1995 classic The Net, Sandra Bullock’s character, an American software engineer, still pronounced “modem” to rhyme with “bottom” and hacked a computer using drag and drop), In Defence of Rhetoric did not anticipate the rapid growth of material studies. The best recent work on memory and delivery has, however, been attentive precisely to the physical and somatic dimensions of rhetoric—that is, to the objects and social practices that define the semiotic and communicative resources of cultural and literary production. “The Art of Memory” (to quote the title of Frances Yates’s groundbreaking monograph on the subject) was firmly grounded in rhetoric’s material and social realities, and while preparing the orator for oral delivery, modeled its systems of ordering, retention, and recall on contemporary technologies of writing and reading (see Yates 1966; Carruthers 1992; Sullivan 2005). The anonymous author of the Rhetorica ad Herennium (composed in the first century BCE and widely attributed by early modern readers to Cicero) defines artificial memory as the insertion of images (“a figure, mark, or portrait of the object we wish to remember”) into an invented yet familiar place or background, such as a house or an archway, with the backgrounds to be arranged in a particular order. He notes that “the backgrounds are very much like wax tablets or papyrus, the images like the letters, the arrangement and disposition of the images like a script, and the delivery is like the reading” (Rhetorica ad Herennium 1954, 3.17.30). In a well-known example of one type of mnemonic recall, a lawyer tries to remember the details of a case involving a man accused of murder by poison; the prosecution has argued that the motive was to gain an inheritance and that there are witnesses and accessories to the crime: “We shall picture the man in question as lying ill in bed, if we know his person…. And we shall place the defendant at the bedside, holding in his right hand a cup, and in his left tablets, and on the fourth finger a ram’s testicles” (Rhetorica ad Herennium 1954, 3.20.33). The image of the cup triggers a memory of poison, and the tablets evoke the inheritance; the ram’s testicles (testiculos arietinos), more graphically and elaborately (by homonymic transfer), suggest witnesses (testes) andsince purses were made from the scrotum of the ramthe possibility of those witnesses having been bribed.

This topical, or topographical, approach to the memory arts is literalized in Edmund Spenser’s allegory of the brain in book 2, canto 9 of The Faerie Queene and adapted to the changing material conditions of recording and recollecting information in early modern England. The episode forms part of the broader allegorical framework of the Castle of Alma, whose architectural layout represents the different parts of the human body (see Helfer 2012 Lees-Jeffries 2013; Sullivan and Stewart 2003). Spenser locates memory in the castle’s turret, in a chamber “remoued far behind” (at the back, that is, of the mind). The chamber is occupied by a librarian or archivist figure, Eumnestes (from the Greek, “well-remembering”), and a fetcher, Anamnestes (“able to call to mind”). Eumnestes preserves and organizes, while Anamnestes retrieves; Spenser’s allegory, meanwhile, dramatizes memory’s precarious reliance on the subjects and objects meant to guarantee its survival. Stanzas 56 and 57 trace the transition from a culture of oral transmission to one based on written documents: Eumnestes is initially described as recording “things foregone” in the sense of recollecting or remembering, while the following stanza refers to the contents of the library: “old records … Some made in books, some in long parchment rolls, / That were all worm-eaten, and full of canker holes.” As a medium of preservation, Spenser’s printed poem represents one further step in these changing processes of transmission. Interestingly, it is the written record that raises questions of reliability, as it is subject to material decay; Eumnestes’s occasional moments of confusion can always be compensated for by Anamnestes.

The mechanics of memory raise questions of individual and collective identity, as Arthur and Guyon explore the significance of their quests in the context of national myth and history; questions of who we are, and how we know and situate ourselves, depend on the nature and quality of immediate and more distant recall. Self-construction through recollection is, of course, one of the poem’s central poetic and hermeneutic processes; its characters and readers learn by remembering previous encounters on the long road of The Faerie Queene’s epic quest (or pay the price if they fail to do so). Re-cognition and recognition are intimately linked. In this context, it is perhaps unsurprising that Spenser should emphasize the contingent and uncertain elements of memory. Having perused Eumnestes’s exhaustive and detailed library catalog, Arthur and Guyon’s discovery of the key volumes is entirely fortuitous: in stanzas 59 and 60, the former is said to have “chaunced” upon “Briton moniments” (or Dynastic Succession 101), while the latter “chaunst eke” on “Antiquitee of Faery lond” (or How to Make Friends and Influence Wizards). In a different, but equally problematic, key, Eumnestes’s most reliable method of storage is “his immortall scrine” (2.9.56), a “scrine” being a box or chest used primarily for the preservation of relics. This image recalls the Rhetorica ad Herennium and its fondness for memorable metonymy (extrapolating from the part to the whole): the ram scrotum supplies the material for the purse, a graphic detail that in turn evokes the completed narrative of the bribed witnesses to a murder. Saints’ relics (to return to Eumnestes’s “scrine”) preserve the spirit of holiness through the story of a body in parts, assigning totemic value to objects of often questionable authenticity. The process of memorial reconstruction, of how to assign value to individual images and determine their place in a larger narrative, is a key preoccupation in an epic poem constantly renegotiating the relationship between the historical and mythological dimensions of national identity.

At the same time, Spenser’s reflections on the technologies of memory, and on its cognitive and somatic implications, opens up another direction for the study of rhetoric. Eumnestes’s visible difficulties with information management“rolls” (2.9.57) of documents hanging on the chamber’s ceilings, “Regesters” (2.9.59) or catalogs attempting to organize the library’s contentsspeak to the growing early modern preoccupation with methods of knowledge organization. In a cultural landscape defined by an ever-increasing output of printed material, the traditional resources of mnemonic thought craft were supplemented by various technologies of storage, arrangement, and retrieval: commonplace books, indexes, epitomes, and digests, among others. Rhetoric’s role in combating the sense that (in the words of another groundbreaking monograph, Blair 2010) there was simply “too much to know” requires further exploration, not least in relation to Ramist concepts of argument, which sought to achieve such clarity of visual and structural organization as to obviate the need for an art of memory altogether.

I want to conclude with a brief gesture to the art of rhetorical delivery, or actio (see Rhetorica ad Herennium, 3.11.19–3.15.27). When asked about the three most important things in oratory, Demosthenes is said to have replied “delivery,” “delivery,” and “delivery” (Plutarch 1960, 419). The Greek word for delivery is hupokrisis, or “acting,”; recent scholarship has focused on the theatrical dimensions of Elizabethan rhetorical education, which variously informed the performance of the passions on stage and the performance of learning in the pulpit (see Enterline 2012; Wesley 2009). Such considerations could fruitfully be extended by attending in more detail to the verbal performance (or actio) of eloquence in early modern works of prose, in which the employment of descriptive figures of speechethopoeia, topographia, or pragmatographiacomplicates the reader’s hermeneutic perspective. Susenbrotus’s observations on pragmatographia (the description of an action or object), for instance, place the reader in the position of theatrical spectator (“uelut in theatro”; Susenbrotus 1560, 92), while Puttenham’s definition of the same figure as “counterfeit action” (1589, 2D2v) plays on the idea that the evocation of actio in the mind might complicate the experience of interpretation and add a somatic component to the cognitive negotiations of the reader. These issues are especially acute in the works of Thomas Nashe, whose prose cleverly exploits the actorial resources of voice and gesture to draw his readers into a position of uncomfortable spectatorial complicity, as in the description of the rape scene of Heraclide in The Unfortunate Traveller. Such description invariably tests the limits of physical and stylistic representation (thereby also testing the reach of our moral sensibilities): Nashe’s comment that Heraclides’s abuser “graspt her by the iuorie throate, and shooke her as a mastiffe would shake a yong beare” (1594, K4v), for example, cannot be translated into the theater of the mind using merely the resources of voice and gesture. Nevertheless, the performative dimension of early modern prose alters our perception of readerly witnessing and participation because it inscribes different dynamics of interpretive distance and proximity: the vivid and visceral representation of violence in Nashe consistently raises questions of moral complicity. Prefacing the 1591 edition of Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, Nashe alludes to the performative potential of nondramatic writing in a very different way when he describes the poems as “a paper stage streud with pearles, an artificial heau’n to ouershadow the fair frame, & christal wals to encounter your curious eyes” (Smith 1904, 2:224). His preface imagines the reader’s response to Astrophel and Stella as an act of both writerly and spectatorial participation; the text is a “Theater of pleasure” that invites both the inscription of critical “margent notes” and the “motion of applause” (Smith 1904, 2:224–225).

Nashe’s ability to shock and surprise is built on an acute awareness of audience expectation; bending and breaking the rules of literary decorum makes no sense unless the reader knows what the rules are in the first place. My account of how to do things with rhetoric relies on a similar notion of shared cultural expectation at a particular historical and cultural moment: Shakespeare’s depiction of Hermione’s trial scene can take his audience’s knowledge of the basics of inventio for granted because many of them would have been educated in a particular way. This is a powerful critical perspective, but it is of course by no means the only one. Formalist and structuralist approaches to rhetoric can help us understand language as a synchronic system, for instance: Roman Jakobson argued that the figures of metaphor and metonymy are the two fundamental modes in which language communicates meaning (Jakobson and Halle 1956). Rhetoric can also tell us about the formation of social ritual and political ideology; in his analysis of the language of the Third Reich, Victor Klemperer explains how “Nazism permeated the flesh and blood of the people through single words, idioms, and sentence structures which were imposed on them in a million repetitions and taken on board mechanically and unconsciously” (2002, 15). Words, Klemperer goes on to say, “can be like tiny doses of arsenic: they are swallowed unnoticed, appear to have no effect, and then after a little time the toxic reaction sets in after all” (2002, 16). Klemperer’s conclusions are unsurprising in context, but it may be worth noting that arsenic (from Gr. arsenikon, “potent”) was seen, from Hippocrates onward, as both a poison and a cure. As with rhetoric, much depends on how you use it, and you need to know what you’re doing.


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(1) Aristotle’s summary comments on how to influence a judge forcefully enhance this point: “In all cases persuasion is the result either of the judges themselves being affected in a certain manner, or because they consider the speakers to be of a certain character, or because something has been demonstrated” (Aristotle 1926, 3.1.1).