Was Aristotle wrong about Metaphor?

The wonderful Judy Rees, clean language guru and Mistress of Metaphor seems to think so. In a recent blog post, she argues that Aristotle was wrong to claim that mastering metaphor was a sign of genius. But what exactly did Aristotle mean by 'genius'? Is there more going on here than it might at first seem?

 



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A fresh look at rhetoric adds new fuel to an old argument

Want to motivate people? You’ll end up using rhetoric. Want to influence people? You’ll end up using rhetoric. When rhetoric works, it gives a human being the power to move crowds, shift cultural mountains, in short, to change the world.

The rules of rhetoric were laid out in Ancient Greece, but the practice of rhetoric spans the history of oral communication.

It's a subject that Sam Leith, in 'You talkin' to me?: Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama' covers in an entertaining and readable way. But what would he have you believe? Leon Conrad, of the Academy of Oratory takes a critical look at his work in this review.



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Don’t Diss the Dissoi Logoi - by Leon Conrad

Dialectic is a term often used interchangeably with logic when people list the subjects of the Trivium. Is it Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric; or is it Grammar, Dialectic, Rhetoric? When were the middle subjects practised and what’s the difference?



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Does Meaning matter? Or does Style rule?

A response to Mark Forsyth's new book, “Elements Of Eloquence” by Giles Abbott

“You don’t need to have anything to say, you just have to say it well”. So says a reviewer in summary of Mark Forsyth’s new book, “The Elements Of Eloquence”. Style: One, Substance: Nil, apparently.

I heard about this book on the Today Programme, Monday 11th November 2013 at around 8:30am. The author detailed how he has studied certain rhetorical figures and teaches readers how to use them to create the perfect English phrase. He points out that such techniques were widely taught in Europe until roughly a hundred years ago. This is true. He points out that this is how Shakespeare learnt his craft as a writer. This is true. He says that anyone can learn these techniques. This is true. He says it doesn’t matter what you say, but only how you say it. This is not true. Disguised in flippancy, this is a seductive, but grievous, lie.     



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Shame on us for not being rhetorical!

I nearly wept today, reading Brunetière’s essay, An Apology for Rhetoric for the first time ever. 

What richness of inner life have we lost through the way our thinking and educational system have progressed since he wrote? Shame on us. Shame. Shame. Shame! 

Two lines was all it took: 

…why may I not go to the length of saying that prosopopeia is to be answered only by hypotyposis and metonymy only by synechdoche? 

Not much to look at, I’ll grant you. Something to gloss over as being ‘too difficult’ nowadays, I’ll bet. Let me tell you why they had such an effect on me… 



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Is this a Posion Pill for Reading?

 

“Children will read … they just won’t read books,” claims best-selling author, Terry Deary, of Horrible Histories fame. That’s apparently why, in tandem with Nokia and the Evening Standard’s literacy campaign, he set out to get people to read … in other ways.

Leon Conrad, of The Academy of Oratory asks, will this new approach give non-reading youth a literary kiss of life, or will it be a poison pill? 

 



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