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date: 04 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers a survey of the theory and practice of eloquence during the period of Renaissance humanism, whose culture was founded on the knowledge of classical rhetoric and characterized by the pursuit of eloquence. Countless pedagogical treatises describe the humanistic teaching program (studia humanitatis) and the ideal of the well-mannered, morally upright man of intellect, which is the counterpart of the ancient vir bonus. Manuals of rhetoric—either detailed academic works, short practical surveys, or textbooks—were all founded on classical rhetoric, but also adapted to contemporary contexts in which eloquence functioned. Petrus Ramus, who limited rhetoric to elocutio and pronuntiatio, was very influential, and many handbooks discuss only imitatio; that is, the method of acquiring a good writing style. Public speaking was confined to celebratory occasions, whether private or public, religious or secular; the classical theory of epideictic rhetoric was extended accordingly.

Keywords: humanism, studia humanitatis, theory of eloquence, practice of eloquence, imitatio, epideictic oratory

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