Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Aristotle's Rhetoric

"Aristotle" by Francisco Hayez. 
Finally, I've actually completed a book from my own challenge!  It's taken me ridiculously long to finish this not-very-long book; I kind of got bogged down in the dull middle section.

Aristotle starts out defining different types of rhetoric and what they are for.  Those guys really liked to get everything categorized very carefully, and while I rather appreciate that, they take it awfully far!  For quite a while, he analyzes different feelings or actions--who feels them and why--such as happiness, pity, anger, enmity, and so on.  That got pretty old, but then he moved on to much more interesting material about how to argue a court case.  Nearly everything he said applied to judicial rhetoric, really, and he didn't say much about the other two categories.

I know this is the foundational rhetorical textbook, and that lots of people still recommend it.  I don't really think it's useful for moderns as a book to teach rhetoric, though.  Too much of it isn't applicable to us, and the parts that are still relevant are probably easier to learn from some other book.  As a primary source about Greek life, though, it's just fine.

So, hooray that I managed to read it, and now on to Plato's Republic.  (I should have read that today, since it's Election Day and all.  That would have been fitting.  But I didn't have time to read anything today, anyway.  I did get to the polling place, of course, and I hope you did too.)  Then I will work on finishing Herodotus and I think that will finish me off for the year. 


jennysbooks said...

Very sensible of you to save Herodotus for last! I like things about Plato and Aristotle, but large swathes of them at a time can tire me out. Herodotus by contrast is telling awesome stories that I care about, so reading him always pleases me.

Jean said...

Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. The Republic is a lot easier to read than Rhetoric was, though!