How Renaissance Rhetoric Transformed the Classical Tradition

Thursday 16 October 2014, 5.00PM

Speaker(s): Peter Mack (University of Warwick)

Rhetoric was a central part of the legacy of the classical world and at the same time a defining characteristic of renaissance humanism. This paper will examine the ways in which northern European humanists, in particular Rudolph Agricola (1443-85) and Erasmus of Rotterdam (?1469-1536) used elements of their classical inheritance, both rhetorical and literary, to produce innovations in rhetorical theory. Among other doctrines the paper will discuss exposition, argumentation, disposition, the topics of invention and the techniques of copia. It will also consider the conditions which made innovation within the classical tradition an effective strategy.

Professor Peter Mack teaches on the English and Comparative Literary Studies program and is on secondment as the Director of the Warburg Institute, London.


Location: BS/008, Berrick Saul Seminar Room, Heslington West Campus