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Tp^iLT 1 





Roger Phillip Parr 


CilAUCJ:<R«.J •'Al^il'TTV-; T':nnrcJ.06 
A Dissertation 

Presented to the f^cult}/ of the Grad- 
uate jc-i'uo>, yj' Cf*- u.i V, fsity of 
nto in Partial Fulfilment 
of the tHequireiaents for 

the Oer--- -.f 

;)QCtOj:..Q,f...I'l3liJ X 

hillip Parr 

,viay, 1956 


//■ ' 





11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 20th, 1956 



Professor F. 
Professor A. 
Professor L. 
Professor H. 
Professor J. 
Professor A. 
Professor J. 
Professor H. 
Professor R. 
Professor H. 
Professor N. 
Professor P. 

H. Anderson, Chairman 
S. P. Woodhouse 
K. Shook 
S. Wilson 
J. Denomy 
F. Madden 
L. Humphreys 
S. Knox 
N. Frye 
J. Endicott 
A. Child 


1919 --Born, Janesville, Wisconsin, U.S.A. 

1945 --B.S. Northwestern University 

1947 --M.A. Northwestern University 

1947-1950 --Instructor, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois 

1950-1953 .-School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto 


1953-1956 --Instructor, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 


The Rhetorical Tradition and Chaucer's Narrative Technique 


This thesis attempts a fairly full investigation of the influence of the rhetorical tradi- 
tion upon Chaucer's art in general and his narrative techniques in particular The 
contrast between Chaucer's brilliant work and the laborious construction of rhetorical 
mosaic which is so common in medieval literature,, is sufficiently obvious; but it is a 
matter of interest to discover the degree of Chaucer's actual debt to the rhetorical 
tradition. The thesis opens with a lengthy Introduction presenting a survey of Greek 
and Roman rhetoric and a history of the techniques known to Chaucer and employed, 
more or less consciously, by all literary artists. This survey has been drawn large- 
ly from secondary sources, and for this reason has been placed in the Introduction 
A further survey, this time of the rhetorical tradition during the Middle Ages, ap- 
pears in Chapter I. The main function of this chapter is to provide an account of the 
works which preceded the manuals in prose and verse which Chaucer knew and used. 
It becomes evident here that the more philosophical view of literature held by the 
ancients tended to disappear, and with it the traditionally acknowledged differences 
between rhetoric and poetic. It was largely the rules and the elaborate system of 
devices which survived in the work of the post-classical rhetoricians and grammar- 

The second chapter provides an analysis of the literary prescriptions set 
forth in the popular manuals of poetic known to Chaucer. These manuals were writ- 
ten by Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Matthew of Vendome, Gervais of Melkley, Evrard the 
German, and John of Garland. The texts concerned, with the exception of John's 
Poetria, appear in Edmond Faral's Les Arts poetiques du XII et du XIII siecle , Paris, 
1924. John of Garland's Poetria was published by G. Mari in Romanische Forschun- 
gen, XIII (1902), 883. Faral, and a few others, have made analyses of these texts. 
From these analyses, and from a re-examination of the texts, a brief catalogue of 
prescriptions and terms has been prepared with a view to providing a useful aid for 
examining the works of Chaucer. 

One of the chief problems besetting us, as it must have beset Chaucer too, 
is the impossibility of satisfactorily adapting rules of rhetoric intended for Latin 
composition to the particular genius of a vernacular language. It is largely to meet 
this difficulty that the somewhat selective catalogue was prepared, selective in that 
it passes over rules and figures which have little or no bearing on the writing of 
verse in English. This catalogue has been placed in an early chapter of the thesis, 
so that it may serve as a guide to the more independent research of the remainder 
The catalogue preserves the general form of the manuals; that is, it has three main 

sections, the first of which deals with arrangement of the material employed in a 
poem ( dispositio ), the second with devices for developing this material (a mplificatio 
and abbreviatio ), and the third with the various tropes and figures of thought and 

The third chapter, entitled Dispositio, provides in some detail an account 
of how Chaucer handles the beginnings and endings of his individual pieces. Exam- 
ples can be found in his work of almost every way of commencing a narrative, as 
recommended by the prescriptions of the medieval rhetoricians. Yet when the exam- 
ination of all Chaucer's writings has been completed, it becomes quite clear that he 
has a pronounced preference for the natural way of beginning a tale over the artificial, 
and that where he actually uses the artificial beginning, he moves through it so quietly 
and unostentatiously that the reader scarcely recognizes that he has to do with a pre- 
scription at all. Moreover, most cases of the use of an artificial beginning turn out 
to be built around an apostrophe or an invocatio , either of which methods seems to 
be in the classical rather than the medieval tradition of poetic. 

The fourth chapter is devoted to the means Chaucer employs to develop nar- 
rative; that is, in the technical language of the rhetoricians, to amplificatio . The 
medieval prescriptions recommend eight main devices for enlarging or amplifying a 
theme. These are: interpretatio , circumlocutio , comparatio , prosopopeia, 
contrarietas , descriptio , digressio . This chapter investigates Chaucer's handling 
of these devices. Striking and effective examples are not wanting. But the conclu- 
sion to which one is ultimately drawn is that there is no sustained evidence to demon- 
strate much interest either in aniplificatio as such or in its component parts, and no 
very appreciable variation in attitude in his later as opposed to his earlier works. 
There is, however, some justification for saying that in the later works the devices 
are handled less obtrusively. 

A fifth chapter deals with the various rhetorical figures used by Chaucer for 
ornamentation. These include tropes: translatio , epithetum , pronominatio , trans- 
gressio , etc.; simple figures (easy ornaments): repetitio, conversio , traductio, 
etc.; figures of speech: frequentatio , contentio , contrarium , sententia, exemplum. 
In almost every case, the reader feels that Chaucer is acting by nature rather than 
art, so fully has the tradition become part of his expression. 

The two final chapters attempt some discussion of Chaucer's narrative style 
in terms of the material examined in the three preceding chapters. Since his unique 
vision seems to consist in an awareness of the operation and causes in the actions of 
men, and since it is his artistic concern to represent man in operation, the narrative 
form of a given work has a quality of inevitability about it. It can be said to fit natur- 
ally into his vision since his vision has as its primary concern the development of 
action, and it fits the times since it allows for the widest possible range in the use 
of accepted artistic conventions and forms. 

The many allusions to rhetoric in his poetry, regardless of the character to 
whom they are assigned, prove only that Chaucer was vitally aware of rhetoric and 
of the many theories about its use. His comments suggest, however, that he viewed 
the various theories with keen critical interest. That he should put these comments 
into the mouths of such a variety of characters, suggests that rhetoric was, in his 
day, a subject of common knowledge and easy reference. And since undoubtedly it 
was, he weaves it into his aesthetic pattern both as a carefully calculated device and 
as a sort of comic relief. He thus makes of it a neat device by which to operate on 
several levels of meaning with comparative ease. Chaucer used the device of rhetor- 

ical allusion to prepare his audience for a restrained and more subordinated use of 
rhetoric than was prescribed in his day, and it took the edge off those instances in 
which the obvious use of rhetoric was required in the interests of realism and appeal. 

This study reveals that the contemporary poetic prescriptions held for 
Chaucer only a critical interest. It further shows that the dominant rhetorical in- 
fluence on his art stems from the entire rhetorical tradition rather than from the 
medieval manuals. Although his poetry reveals the successful fusion of classical 
doctrine and original poetic vision, it remains clear that no poet can be a rhetorician 
before he is a poet. 

To say, on the other hand, that Chaucer was opposed to rhetoric, or even 
that he became progressively opposed to it, seems quite untenable, since "rhetoric" 
as conceived by most critics signifies mainly a tool with which a literary artist must 
work. We reach perhaps a sane and accurate evaluation of Chaucer's attitude towards 
rhetoric in simply sitting back and observing and enjoying his "rhetorical" habits. 
Whether employed consciously or unconsciously, the use of any particular device 
seems to be generated by the desire to contribute to the creation of a definite narra- 
tive or poetic effect. 

Chaucer demonstrates the artistic progress from poetic convention to poetic 
creation which took place during the Middle Ages. By habitually choosing that device 
which is the most apt and natural vehicle for his thought and which supports the nar- 
rative burden most effectively, by consistently wishing to tell a story well, and to 
this end employing those rhetorical devices which vivify the emotion and intensify 
the dramatic action, or those which infuse the suggestion of movement, Chaucer 
succeeds in subordinating technique to artistic vision and in releasing narrative art 
from the static rhetorical conventions of his day. 


Major Subject: 

English Literature --Professors L. K. Shook, H. S. Wilson, H. M. McLuhan. 

Minor Subjects: 

English Language --Professors L. K. Shook and C. W. Dunn 

Philosophy --Professor F. H. Anderson 

iUI HiVtitt 

Table of Contents 



GKAFTiili I — The Influence of Rhetorical 

Tradition on the Middle Ages 114 

CHAPTiiE II ~ The Poetic Prescription 

Knovm to Chaucer 15^ 


CHAPTER III — Dlspositio 196 

CHAPTER IV — The Effective Development 

of Material 244 

GHAPTiR V — The Devices of Style 305 

CHaPT£,R VI — Chaucer's Narrative 

Achievement 349 

CHAPTIiR VII — Conclusion 3^1 

NOTES 393 


Aic* m 4..ftJ 

Cl« %« GX«r«»s t^l« 

fort* f^rt.«3B« 

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?iyu« tii« mm of t&w^s Tai«t 

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urn I 



GRKfeK. Hi. 

Literature reflects the development of a nation's 
life. To consider literyture Ap::irt fro'f^ the envircn- 
aunt whicii loruig uae uaCiuac^j. -wtiAu ' misapprehend 

botri its nature and its 3ignific«nc©. isut to consider 
it rip.:-;;.:. . the- individual and os^reonal g^enius of ite 

artists is «ilso to .sdauwaerscaiia ix.a -^ ■ tc-ix u-v-vU'e. 

Personal genius to a ;aarite<i degree remakes both the 
society in wi-iich it is involved and the literature by 
woiich it is expr«sssed. Xnai3..iuCi'i as personal jiezixus 
risea above the established norsn of national character, 
it not only draaatiaes, but Ji'tt-n-^ 5 f Ics, thK n&tloRc*! 
type. Ho one exeraplifies t:iib to c}uc^^ a aeiiree ^s wiaucer. 
His work ii>*s done in the comolex conditions of his birth 
and circuittstance, but it .... "fected too by his ovm 
suorewacy. ile was himself, a^s it were, ari orieinai airid 
inderendf^'nt source of influence on his work. Thia study 
of t.ic inixueuce of the rhfcUx.. iv,«^ tradition on Chauc«r»s 
ncirrative technique is an attetspt to invt'stigate a detail 
of the D.ovinrr lancfscane which producf-.' * great genius. 
It ii^ «* ytudy ou&ea oti u;',e »ii:.s?'.x-i- >*•*..*; » ^.v. theories oi 
rhetoric and poetic by their very nature hold the key to 
a i.orF unified and accurate comprehension of an author's 

pur oise. 

A certain Ideal of culture was transmitted frcK/i the 

anciftnt o . w ..: .,aristi ■■"' d, Th'^ ' ^■ilture haa three 

assoects: a speculative .i»yp«ct, vt^ritaa ; a snorai aspect, 
virtus t iiiid J literary and oratorical A^^'ect, eIoc^iiRat;.la « 
Owr concern is wau:» wuc i.s-t. It a-a,-. « j.^m of Salisbury 
who said that eloquence Is not raere speech nor «ven ready 
srrRGch, but ?; ^-eech renderln- mtly the ani?nl ?>rbitriut9 , 

trie :'jiind*s judgment: cul iiiQXxx\.M:^ aacit corBmQ(ie„exprl''fig-ndi 

verbo QuidQm aaod geatit elociuenp est . Though th© arts 

of writt<r'i ■■'"''? rt7T,l ponir.unlt^r-itlori h.:-:ve upderf-cne ?i?,!iiv 

centuries ol rciiiie.Afcnt, &h4:ir iiOJiX^r iaeaxii porsxKttf.txy 

e^Aer-pre when gr«at minds arc concornsd with the nature, of 

.€f Kftote the aedieval debt to the classical ages. The 
use ol' rticular rhetoric^*! device, however, is insuf- 

ficient t- --;.v^ ci.,^.>- . r -,>—"-, Por the techni^.«^« of 
rtietoric are the natural tools of lanK/ucige. lY^e nature 
of this thesis, therefore, "CMiande- some survey of the 
nx:: .. ■■■)■ .-.r aiicifeint rhti,-iAu v-i.u<. i^pecial reference to ...-■■' 
influence on .;editjval tijeory and practice. 

The .-rect artist is quie'< to lay hold of the «^chi«ve- 

by the aegree of :iucc th whicrt ne subjects the ideas 

f*nt1 n .t' v-l.'il.-i of the -^'Kt to his okn inie'-en'iefjt visioJi. 


Thair work largoi.y consiata Xu the laoorious construction 
of rhetorical ij.osaic. Lacking originality o£ vision, Uiey 
ivcre contrr. j^e thslr talfsnt.s :nd rkills to t^.e '^re 

deveiopasent oi' nt&w icriss ^aci a^w riietoricax patteri. - at 
aid© by : 1th thens, th^re were always soiiae endc ?, 

.oji'^p.rirtr ^i.'^i'T. -ni >-t";«tic insight v^o breathed "'^-"' life 
and vitaiiity into literature. These V(ere artists worthy of 
the narrte, who have left l^stin^^ monument'-, to th^ir superior 
powt'r. Their liv'-- rt inj. i*^. .;■. «iin. w^i.^wii oi t o'sm 
jf^enius and of their own <.ige into all succeeding generc'.tioriSi 
Asnong such, certainly, -r- pl-iced Ghaucor. 

The v-ixt.i-:^!.« put'jvoafc ox Cuisi paptr iv; t-o support tne 
comnon contention that Chaucer is such an artist and to 
exclain in a «ec-sur© why he is so and hovr hf; ac'^dcvcd his 
pre-e^iinence. It is to this enu taat i trace bricixy uue 
history of the techniques more or less consciously used by 
all lit r?r'f artists of Chv>Pfr»s day# 

The ;iophi3ta 

It was the ^ophiata w*jo first gave conscious oreciaion 
to the techniqufto by wi^tich i'teiis are <.X;jr«ssed# They were 
the pseudo-orators, the dill ot ante sc^^olars who used the 
•<rt of speech ax^fully. The absolute .'U ! disint erected art 

of spciAkin, well v.att, i.iieir aim. To realize his ♦. ; .. ", 

the iophist i^.ave blood <And tears to an enor;r.ou8, careluily 

wrour>^t schcne or oratory. Thus the art of rhetoric ae a 

eonaciou,. .i.'!-* ^tic tPChniciv:: ■ -^:i;i-.jt--u. 

Now the Sophists were sourid enough in what concerned 
the devices themselves. But since they were not interested 
in subject matter, and since they exploited the techniques 
of writing and speaking for personal aggrandizement, they 
came to neglect the controllinj:; doctrine of decorum vrfiich 
was basic throughout the ages of classicism. They did not 

ask their audience to think, but to feel and to admire. 


The term Sophist became synonymous with shallowness. 

Sophistry is the ranting orator in the drama of Greek 
oratory. It v/as in good voice, but it babbled aimlessly. 
It employed the pause, but the pause was empty. It fired 
emotion, but the fire could not live in an atmosphere which 
was drained of the oxygen of sincerity, of ideal and re- 
strained sentiment. Everywhere it flourished, in the 
marketplace, in the assembly, in the grove, in the class- 
room. It was a way of daily life, a goal, an achieve nent 
of men of state as well as men of letters. 

Sophism began in Sicily. The tyrant, Hiero, was 


overthrown in 472 B.C. and a democracy was established. 

A chaos of litigation followed — conflict over property, 
possessions, individual and personal rights. The estab- 
lishment of various courts of law to resolve such contro- 
versies and disputes created an almost unlimited demand 
for orators and so for the training of orators. 


This dmaaitu was fulfilled by ^oratx. i^^a :iia pupil Tl8ia», 
who compilttd. i;reatise» on th© ; ^_1 of rhet.?>ri0» 

OoTr.x de'y. ^-^cafthcs in order to aid ', ■ 

lug was »ubstitut«d for doc««ftatary «!vi4e«e«. ^ Kext h« 

developed ■It^R^-f "■♦.«•' t^>'*? t:m-:.1.« Af rrftri.*f?j1 nrAh;,'|lillty 

9h<»i«lQg its two-«a{i«d u«e. '" Ir» i&s i^M%y i'orsAS U*is tap>lc 

wa.8, in fact, the g.r««t i«rt?*tm>n of %hm «-ft3rli«iit ^y««k rhet- 

orielaiAa* It w«*.s fuur1ii'»«rt ....evel^r- .-. .^..o ,.<,.*» «^ *-^-rj.*ia 

ftHMi Plato's F iS« -Its latter defeiopffln^tats wcr© duo 

in the c&in to aarpia? ^ of leontinl, t^^ r^jr^ll of "E»- 

p«doel«£ or Agr«;g.e&tu»/wao wa^* rt^^vivrtj^-- .■:wui..itr a» 

t-he iav«!!it«>r sf rhetoric • ' Otli«r liases' eoitsidered iffi- 

T^rt,iint in th€; o.fevalonasent f. rlieat rhetoric in- 


The literary a»p®et of rhdtarie developed almost at cmevi 

e®diri«6a« .;oi'i-j..aa Ui* ii^r^a t© aavoeate ^Re u3« of 
figures of speecii auati attcrapt«d to give pro6« the color 

anii p«rsuaaiT« |>oi»'«r "-^ ->,->^i-r.v, "^ Tn >.>4t-*--i«.'3i"J , t.h, 

w«r« respor.ijible for laying tl*« f ound^j^ iows i'or tat ii«v«l- 

epaewt of )=! c-*tr*; fully wroK<fht ssystem of rb^toric, concerned, 

Through l^lat.n -wrnt* no rhetorical or it»o«tical treat- 
is*, hia »«att©rea rcaaarka throughout hi« dialogttea wh«n 

pl&Qif^d together < ive u^ much insif ht Into the n-itnr^ of 

Its svii't develop,.-,..^.. In th» Gorgiafi tt^ »x£.ui .= wt..j.^ at* 
taeks tfei«i sophistical r.h«toric whldht u««a fidB* arguwenta 
and hij^hly <^tha X&ufr,ti&^e to «le«ei»e and delu<5«. 

This dialogue :»<i A,,w«n shortly aft«r the a««iwi ox jo- > s 
BO doubt reflects Pinto's 4r« at the br«eeh of jju«t leh 

live«8 .for«T*^r beeauae of his stlrrici? iccotinta ^^ ;,allir;I«sB 
drataatiaes viviaiy «is ■■ o$' t 

persuasion for selfish inte-, . tow-ever, <»p*G as w4»il 

t».st««» a«i ti>ou^:;At» «^£ka it :,/xllX£>le U\ t.'ie s«iB« 

fi^shloB as 4X4 thft »®duetlv# worda of the rh«torict»ii». 
Tv»« .rhetoricians art alao attacked in the Fhae4ratg .^^ But 
In this dialogue he sug,!?;«st8 In addition a worthy, even noble, 
U3« of rhetoric*'^ II -cf».a s«rv« truth and religion. It le 
triifi, then, v.^ ;^. sooe sicrit In the devices of 

rhetoric, thou;^^ he conaeams the system {?ener«lly because 
of false »*thodi» and t>«rr>ose. It Iftcke?!, he thouprht, the 
tiU^lities O' '■ since j.i, alu noi. i't:v,h on ;•: sv/X-i-gt-A^ 

rational bfasUo. 

F<?T*h„3Kia it 1« fortunate that Fi-sto f-^und mucit to 
criticise in wie dCwivlty oi tae rhetttx-iczaxis, xor we 

note that at the s«»e time he extends Ills criticism to 

drama, to fin^'trv nnrl t<i arfc in ^^encral* .In was, however, 

too greav -i .•.ii^u *wo crxticiae '*ltiiout. su/'i;estirig positive 

corrective principles. His strcnij ethic^ «ppro»ch does 

nueh to direct hie views. 


vVhen, for instance, he discusses style as a. re- 
flection of character, he has in mind the vir bonus . 
According to this concej^t morality v;as inseparably bound 
with skill in eloquence. This concept of style and the 
man recurs throughout the nistory of literature. In the 
Phaedrus he sets forth four principles of all good speakers 
and wi'iters and for artists generally. Again, a survey 
of the history of literary theory and criticism reveals 
that Plato's words did not perish in the dust. Good speak- 
ing or v/riting is characterized by (1) a sound knowledge 

of subject ifsatter, (2) a taorough knowledge of art 

which consists in natural gifts and sensitivity, knowledge 

of its principles, and exoerience and practice, ^ (3) need 

for order and arrangement, wr^ich consists in a natviral 

sequence of thought which in turn deterniines the artistic 

20 , , 

form and creates organic unity, and (4) a scientific 

knowledge of cue habits ana workiniiS of auuan souls in 

that the artist applies psychology to the task of expression. 

In these principles can be seen two 'Oirdnant doctrines 
wnich are fundaniental to ancient rhetoric and poetic taeory — 
the doctrines of unity and decorum. Here, then, is the 
beginning, of the classical ideal in art — sim olicity based 
on order and restraint. Simpler methods and standards 
were essential in the interests of character and taste. 

Plato disciusses also the establishaient of permanent 


'■. 'i. :\ 


«aROii« ©f aesthetic taste. ■ ■'«€ •tfeical slant 

is obvious. The end of r^oetry, h« say», is the iaflueRC- 
iBg and aoaiding of hu'ssart character that bit- 

ter lives and bniM a b«tt«r world. Tac ia^a ol art ir*- 

flu®^cin!K c*isr?if?ter and taste s^^jmn ta p^srateate all of 
his crittice-j. iutj?'?.-:*^ i^- ..ji.; o^^o.-i. .v,^-.j ux.-. ■!n1*-v if-n-ri 

ora«r *n<i is fundamental &9 his doctrine €fi d^c-ar .»•;•, 
%,iildi recu-lre-i t'iti-- :^ prorrl«st,y In subject matter, 

»Jiort,'^ai aspects of art. This strojtg rellglou?^. **«*p«.ct 
af the i^^if? 5^ s.rtif»'Cic ^'ni'<eavor pervjdss tise l«sRf, hlf*t.©ry 
of ciasijiciii. tiiaugAt. uiaucsr^s iuc -me f !«««>, there- 

for©, forcefiii. support la claselcal t^iought as M«li a» 


in a»«ii«ttftl r«llgloti« df^ctrtns'o 

Throughout Uit aiauory oi: ii^*ir;iX.ure, at,i.««;.i^t/» 
hiiv« b»«n Badl« t© differentiate a&ci ^ftflR© the essential 
natures of poetry .a.-,. |>rose. GejHiraTTr, fliito classifle* 
poets ee those vdao write In i«eter aaa prefe* '^.Titer^ lis 
those who ^*rite vritheut m«tcr.^^ This theory was to tee 
f una aiuent ally .u^dified h^ ;«*^vv>tie. 

On philosophical p^ouuds lie f&it, tiiat t;i« poet 
produced only ur.subst.-^rfti-^l l«afe:«3. C«rt.'aln forms of 
poetry i..4eii.ea feHiuc«,:iiviuij. i wi',4-.AAi <uj«i'»4v • ■" - 

the klBci of statesauka or «itl»oa d©slr«s&. far .^««?i i'e* 
<|ulr«m«ntn enls and dras»i;:itic pa«fery u^re •;■ u'ticulai*lr «»- 
suitable tAoait>i w«i laiov. «e a ui..i *-«■■,* <tv.v«:. '..he tr«^l« 

po«t8« Most of his oriticl«m of th« poets and of rhet* 

oriC stems frcfa hl?> cnnr^f^^vrt vttih itr/nt-^mn^rsrv -^A/^t,',"! r».vf^-. 

aitior.a aim jaic ciiifSi:- ■:■> iwprov« tne«# i'iits GonLftmaar- 

ary ills w«rfe tti® r«siult of a lack of knowledge of the 


tru« nature of tnings. On the oth'-'" '^ nd he r«cog^ii5iMl 

tae logic oi at't and set forth the principle of organic 
unity wtiich h^ rsgiardc its fyinda-aental n»^<»«»»ity, ' 

Arti.'^-tlc h*»auty rssldf^.s in \iultry» He aov.:-..' :-c.t, oaXy 
of M auperficial rh«torle«»l organias&tlon, but a pervad* 
inp unity which would render every <iletail as necessary to 
th€ whoift — J ujiity of vision which anijaate--? the total 
work and gives it power. As the history of lltorature 
<dtwe.loped f this ccsnciRrt of writy 

as prcj<;Ct;fco oy riato was to he abanaor.ed cxueri I' or & 
superficial unity of form only, such a?( th« involired 
patti^rn which van .irivnr:at«--d hv thr mrrtic.val a%T:41fl<?^*ti o« 
Kow t'lie couia ofe oiCi.iife'vea w*s ti-te essential burden of 
rhetorical /.octrino. .JJ:iIi£I-JJi£ *f*s achieved ^y such 

d«vie«» as d^fec rip ^ Jo* ylreusaloeutio . ooatp^ay-ttia . eom" 
l>^ ratio , ^;^^r>y,t^ofihe , iiy21£2Jl2.» pr'o«- >'''opei a ac^ordiag 
to laedifcvai pr«i»erir>t.ionR« 

siaa of « c«rtaAii irony in tn* m^rly t^o^rtB **tts IR ^tia« 
old Attic «o««dy, Th« gr«at mxpnntir' aofjsody, of Sfturs«, 

was rti'ifitojWioiifies, a coMtsapo' '^''' •'• ^ixa 

we learn of sojat intercstinf*; notions rainj; th« nature 

of rhetoric and rhetoricians • Wuch fu« is raade over the 


a1ms«8 of rhetoric aiju x-ue contem^'orary excesses vHalch 
characterised political oriitory. In tiii& i 3tr«p«iade» 

geeks to aecutr^ th«? nisv art that h« rtiay deceive %he judges 

®r, ant? beth J«st Cau<5« aad Unjuet Caus* Tor a 

l>U!pl.i^. f^Anp;.r v.^n?. -md h?: Is ;^iven to Socrates .^d 

the SopJsisfeji wi>.9 «»ii« aia ao expert wiao uurns or ai& fath- 
er, W« see thiit AristopMnea' aoauaent on the «rt of rhet- 
oric ^" -■--''■ «s.-,^,i.^^ ^hat ^f" Plato. 

Pldto, familiar with th© theory of tr.e iuaicroue 
f^f»-^„Xst*<? i« sr«tiqMity, the essence of the comic 

©vokftd usually by a display of seir-i<:.£ivir*ii«« ar seif-ccm-, Thi*^ vast be -rfsert in one ^-.'ho c -iurt suiother, 

ar it woidd cease x-o -t- cc=-ic» .naj.-.j,t;i.-.i .^,j.,.-coticeit, then, 
la %«iat provokes lau|:iiter. He further discuss©* the iudi- 
i^r-»'»'-- '^« ♦♦^.o.-p- >.-?t.h -.Thc-n -•?€ are s'TST^athctlc* ' He felt 
Chat true cou.^'iy result 4.'C -wrier, uue iuaxei.ct ^iJ-.fe^d the per- 
son exposed, T!ms, ridicule or person*! satire is condem- 
ned. Inv-^'-"-' V:,n.v-^^ -v.. i~ c^-!R!?;c?-idable» Thi?^ i« the 
forerunner of ti**-' !*» uuj.'-o* oi :.*iiaucer» .^aeri wie 

hvwt^r 1<* h-^mb, ':■ Chav • ysigns it to one 

•31 J-rtrinr of ■i'^CTiVVM 

,\.- *.*»0M 

which directs Plato's beii^I tuut &xc. 

t© be ccndenm<*d, should be used Judiciously; it 

should not be o .......... v.,:..,^vr:r, »e«^a to be aware 


that comedy does much to enlarge one's vision of hiunaa 
nature by showing what actions are to be avoided. 
Here is the beginning of a visionary irony — a humor 
which Chaucer refined into a consistent element of 
poetic power. 

In his general critical judgments of literature 
Plato felt that the true meaning of a poem or work of 
art lay in its meaning as a whole, and in the main, his 

condemnations revolve around the lack of unity, the 

obvious and flagrant use of sensational devices j the 

lack of simplicity and restraint, and the lack of de- 
corum. He condemns in general the tendency to rely on 
rhetoric rather than sound idea and plot. This was a 
notion generally lost to the writers of the late 
medieval period. 

Plato's literary Judgments and doctrines reflect 
his larger philosophical view of the close relation of 
literature to life. He works from first principles, and 
since art is aimed at affecting the hearts of men, a 
knowledge of human nature ii> fundamental to the under- 
standing of art. The entire canon of Plato* s achieve- 
ment reveals that in him there is a splendid blend of 
mind and feeling as well as a fusion of intuition, 
imagination and reason. Ahile his flight is controlled, 
we feel the stretching upward and outward in speculation, 
in suggestion. 

"'^ ■ '-.,'" s. ';■'■', ' ' ■"■\' 



\ J-' 



Plato's work reveals his simplicity i his adherence 
to first principles, his irony and subtle huraor, a sin- 
cere blend of feeling and reason, a graceful and sug- 
gestive beauty of language — qualities which harmonized 
and diversified gave him tremendous persuasive power 
and reflected the inind and heart of philosopher and poet» 
His work is a striking illustration of a recognition of 
the mysterious power and eternal vitality of poetry as 
well as its unerring faculty of communicating life. It 
tells, it draraatizes, it relates, it narrates, it focuses 

in a imique way the dynamic eleraent of life and living. 


A •poetic madness" inspires an eraotional insight which 

"sees" beyond reason. In inodern times this has been 
called "poetic experience" and has been defined as a 
connatiiral knowledge ~ s. pre-knowledge or knowledge 
above reason. Though Plato speaks of art imparting 

moral doctrines, he later says that its prime purpose is 


to reveal beauty and the truth of ^uhat is great and 

noble in men's souls, thus directing what is latent in 
the soul to proper ends. 


For almost fifty years Isocrates was the most 
famous teacher in Athens. He was the pupil of Gorgias 

(',: .' :, '*": ''^r 



and instructed ii« \,<m -n% of "^ ''inr on political w«**jwv,.-. 
Aristotle ^in€<ji that «h© i«a« of loocral » und 

Va«^, -^^ for he was iRt-p-s^ested In beaut A ^ ctlor. ar; 

iQCtedi tae iujic ' i aspects of tli*; .:«.-g. av **tt<^ \-,...r.----..-f>, 

Aristotle hov counteract his influence %\\b 

ised a studv rm ::.«?»« ^-'hllc '■: land ecientific lines, 

thought, Thoufh Prota? or«a» had put away philosophy, h« 
offered a substitute. He eap„.,.„ ...-„. thf function of teach- 
ing, which httd been -^dthin the proviiice or tae paiiosopftcrs, 
«!»d proclu' ch&t the purpose of lejsrning was not Vvrit;at 

or f^pjentia . but virtus ana lentia . ^-Ir'h va^ »b 

<=tPt)fu6G for civic lii'e. Uisi ala», in other worua, v-.?^' to 
make men rot5d eitiaetis. '5® found a substitute for f?hil- 
osopny, i\o% \ii \.u^? uia > ti.fci.M of literature, but in the 
9tudy of rhetoric alorm. rhe distinction between aophistry 
mn^\ rhetoric •■ a?5 not neintainod however, for Gorgias and 
ti.r ■ roii.ot-''*3a "^ ■' teachers of rhetoric **-@re desig- 

nated by the titla \^icft Protarorae h&i aesomed and to 
which hr. h^j?^ riven etirrencv.-^^ Rhetorical ft^pnSt^try 
taupht by Uoi.U; ""' '■ ^^ ^i*.*i.'^ 

of the courts of law, and by ati easy transition gravitated 
to politi?*--''^ ■M«»>ri,i?^f.r'-v,, ^x.nt'nRS' ^-^rfsnt^red for Athen- 

ian public life Wets tri»ina«l in a ai^wxncTiXi puiitieal 
•anner. Isocratee, therefore, recogniised rhetoricians as 
teachers of «>oiitlc»» 

■ c, -:. ' 

' -■■ ■ ?. ,, ':,■> ^ 

Verv i^-tle in th< ' .'■•r'^ft af Jp.oc.r' .ti:r, be irinr dir- 
ectly on ii«ii<iir'*ry criticiaHi itws co«*s iiovai to ua. v>o-f.e 
thought, he iiiid written a formal rhetoric, but th® evidence 
is slight; hiii ideas ■^- "'^'.' -... ....- ^-^^■•?f'-tion«l dl»- 

courses or essays* His political diacouriies are 
also of lnt*'r<??»t, for they furnish some idea of his con- 
ception 0.1 i>trJi'AV riUi/C** ViJ-o i-k' jLAi'sJ\\,:-;i\, ""' ' '• 'CO — 

ing. His three hortatory letters are early exiuupitga 
of a .devlc© which latsr becs't-e a convention a'tionF ftowsiri 
rnetorici'AriS. • uxc. vvi-i^iit£r.£i, "' t.*'- -> • ■'..■.; -l;.; •./-.- 

al discourses hold for us the ^.reatest interest. Hi^altiRt 
the Sophists rivea in n-^rt /is literary and educational 
beliefs by distinguisuiug ;iis position iro;ii liat earlier 
jonhists. In antidosia ho co;iiplet©s a defence of hlraself 
^..^ . '.■-■■ ■ ft >v> «ettlnf' forth th*^ r:r"5nri-l»=s u?vOn vvhich 
his theory xH;3te. His influ«sncfc iii criUiCis:!* is seeii ;iiainly 
in the new direction and fresh iripuise he gave to the -study 
.,.' ^,i., *.^„.^^^ ^^ ^._ . . ..^c. -solution to the :irr,hlf;m r^r^rdinr 
the form of higher educ«ttion -which was b^at suittia to 
'itherian reculrp'n<»nts, "Ue earlier Soohists had been con- 
ceriiec staiiix^- ■.viv:*. '• >'-t--» a-.u;...! - . r->~ 

suasion, soon they lost thetaselves in t* iabyrintsi of 

devices; they attych^'d to mechanical methods an infallible 

efficacy, ir^.ocratc-c '' somethii, 
the art of composing speeches and orgiKaents for their 
own s^i'tce* 5'or 


hia rhetoric was a ^bi ly, a cultural 

aetiv* cr . »#iat ha daslre^ was ii t pl^ilos* 

e .,,, ^.,, >'^^^*t, "h* -r-ftvided healthy 

aentaX exereisftg, iurni»iitccii soitB;. rail *a&«i«t ^iXi 

veloTJft'* th« pow^r ■ *:»r©5igl<m» 4» a practical philos- 

Jsoc^ *<s ti»e earlier rhetoriciana^ 

%^o cXaiaea the- sf>uX<; . . ^T any;. : the 


acquiring of cer'&ii^ii r -^ v*<caa -'.-a v-«t.-":. 

-, last ^^ aocle i , ' it 

.„ ol«? «<»8ltivf^ t©--*ffhin;i' that is of .^rffi'*t<^st lmp^rt&n©«. 

rorth ta& VAia© o; exonusxice .ta auaau ji,ii.'s£, ^..-v.-^- 

euesea th« proper a glvts the prin- 

c*-.^*x:=" ■•■^•latic pro.'.o. -'^^^ ncte^ ?^s a stylist sr.d 

for ht» ccntribtttioKs in tiila i'i«iit or ritiitoric. 

ir» tM« '.mvm^% that h« ex®rt©d a great liifluenc«! ^m Qlc^ro" 

doctrine la nt>t eatt ^i^^ writi v. , it is spiwaa 

thrsyhout his tftmy s^^orka and ®u;at be g«Yy>ereci. 
iar jiisi 'aos'«i iitttmii DJ.*.^-t ' ■ ^9Eie tro;». .. — ^^^ -^^ch 

In genera*!. This it is tAat civiliE«» «»*i*A, *i*4i«^ ^^i*** i«^ 
Vull41ng »r;ciotiG?M ■^•'S lievel-- a 

.1' t. 

for as «ire tne 8caiti*«r<iK? r«:tiarkg 

on the. r»rineiples of artlatlc pros* la which iik« Plato 
and Ari»tot;i« ho dooionstrrates tine Ineseapablo rolatlon of 

rhci'torio to n^etrj* He con*»14«rB « 9t;yl© of »o««^l»I op 
v!rx\.i.nt:, v-'rtiC!> ^.'iOv.xu u<t no -■ i'WAs'^ic than t&at of 

pootry. It should offer tho oa»o «yttount of plftiksuro. tio 
Inntrtjcts that stvXfe should be liaselnatlve snd varied and 
A^ornec wit.u vtvia figurfes. taus we obs^rv!. in xsocratee 
a statcjBont of %h% cio«e affinity of rhetoric atncl poetics, 
I>artieularly in the realm of stylo, a recm-nitinc which 
vas to direct tho later rhetorical .and sofetixc tu«£or4€i£> uo 
concent rat« on me mattor of stylo or aXocutio > 

It ia i®j!ortant, also, to note '« I- >>? renoas of 
the necessity for propriety or fitness, in-v ; .k^r of 
skill ia ho ^o apeaks in a taanaar approoriate to both 
occw=3ion and subjact. Propriot- 5«t;<5j^.,ijje<= «^ seX^jc- 
tion of dovicos froa all th« rosouroea of art. i'here aro 
no ircnbcun'^ rules, no li?*t. of fe!^aur«d and ineiuctablr 
devices, i'or superioi" sii^'xe a.:.' -;«■• .Art whiet'i rfe .--a*; «r;» 
talent a@ woll as practico. fochnical prowess alone could 
do littlf*.^^ In tht &if)ict! of* words he advises those 

i^lon are ^netiij-iicricitli w^ey anouxa he t.he aoKt b-. ugiful, 
tha loaat artificial and the most faiailiar. «rrang«JB«nt 
je if.;^rj^*t.^ -'■'*■- •-:- ; ,rrr.fctvi:. s-ho^ild maintain an orderly of iisi«iii*nt». 

I Socrates* irifluenca Is s^ta uainly in tfto new 
diroct'*'^'' «ii;ir.ll.s--'d "or tJip. ptud'y of rhet- 

oric. It for»««» the fcn-LSisi i'or fcue kiii.,: Oi eaucw-^^iau fe'iii^n 

•t l.V.'^.>'., 


wvr.v c M;-.j.'-^v»>fed Atintenlan social ^i^-* politlcax ........... jiikw%» 

oric it: hilosofjhy, & study Which viould t:;© 

tlie c; . •.. v of huaian ■ .or. Ai.*/^ e.>.rli©r rhet- 

Or^ ""-"rht in^O elOS« uiJiv^ wiUn COW'vw«^:./w%- a^s^-y |diil» 

orsoiAy, w. in4 «ularg©d, for groat wa» 

f,iven to d«»ela -itioa «i&4 e3?4€j#ictie oratory* 1" *^i-* 1» 
se*^- --*.'. '^uent 

broa,'J of %■- '-t.fer of style, i'houg^ cc- .. « 

.'^phist he . attosaptcd tiO r€a_„,. .'^etorle fram r.he li:'>ited 
xaeehanical use «j£hic^ had conoerneci tne ©any ^opraats, «* 
series of tri. . iidi aiifc porsu ., nothiug ^riore. 

It is with Aris^totle, howeror, that a systpf^tatic 
and detailed flt«'1y of the art of rhotorie begins, fho 
law-court tooa. i..isi .-^x^ui -"* '-*" ^'^■"^ ' center of 

pwblic iif«i tb< aomoCst; s the re- 

pr«««BtatlTre n.c , -^jst !• - . Xt cafl b« s«en, ti'temforo, 

that it w«i> autus'iii wn...; ■'■" "'-s*^^ to 

task of develop ing pubiie th'^t a 

fr««b '.'' •»tu^ wa4 Iven tn the study of r.ratorr in /'eneral. 
to Isocriaifces ri»#toric ii*ci freatt eaucA&ioi:i.-^i ai'ia j.vaiii,xo'iA 
values /Jes'dfis ;/5 use »» am inatrumftnt of expression. 
It yt?OA.ii« th^ »..u-»«..-v *■>-..- -,. .-. c>^.-..-..»iuffl of the Kch-nola. 
For him it w»9 a systeia of cilture which gave nien tnt 
power to 8pe«tk and write on 'irattera of univer 


tmiM* iiiin«H prepared for noble service to %hm 

state. ; ir^totle, t^il« he s^tiK the flogrant errors and 
«xeeRSi@R of soabistry, r^scoi nlaed th« iiar.-ortf-mfsfe of rhet- 
oric an<i org>'.»r.iaiiia it aiori;{i, soucaer >■ ■ ieai. axia 
scientific linos. Thus %«*» <l«v«l© nd cc 
rhetoric «iiicti containert ni«*r.M «f! fc*..«hnifi.. 
lasting value for exp^resslon Ui all tor%H«» 

i certain works attrlbuteci to 4riBtotl© have 
lleen lost, ^ ^tiich Mould no doul>t liaYe proved of ^reat 
value, particularly since taey wf^re popular critiques of 
current literary topics reminisicent of ^^lato^s co«i»ents, 
It is prob&l>l« tiiat wi» aain principl " ■ -^ ->j»ctriRe8 

are contained in the i^Sttiifil^^ «^^ ^**« ML!&ia£iS*'^^ ®o^^' 
wortes are cart of ht« jrreat'-r »?ch«nie ©f orrarjlxing; all 
kRov.AC4i;« iiito its proper or«iRcnes oi paiicsaoHiy • ^^^ 
w<*s a productive sc^lence and so vfas rtot merely speculative, 
but aimed at producin?^ ■i?? ob-'fot, ^vtileh ^-as the application 
of ImoKledge to a d©fit>ifc« ^u-i. tutt pA-<ACT«i«.ii. .-^ ' In- 

flueneed conduct, vldle th«? v^roductive science ais 
kno^fledfe in order to '^"^« "«»eful and beautiful objt^ctn, 
Aristotle, tn*refore, liQ^fni, to develop, eactend and or .ni<^e 
tlie knowledge of rhetoric and poetic so that it would iflike 
sunes^ior orators and poets. 

The siitnificfrinca irist^tle attached to tragedy 
reflects nr\ ffffrhasis and no doubt a theoretical notion 
'Mhieh sii>'iiii«® a fundamental difference betweei. .^ 'd 


trating a fona, asad thi: ^es in r . view is 

C€«a«dy. in the ^■^o8t signi- 
ficant comment ctm. in Troiiua* long and sae. 
laugh -.. ^«- : 
I think, reiifcc x Tiic, .aely 
eharit«ibl« vi nature and all that is contained 
in the order and plan of the universe. . ris- 
totle's view c«^Rters ar^ ra^edjr beeuu&<D li was tne 
dojrlnant llt*'r-*ry '^iy reflect* his age. 

Thus hfe V. :,.<.;=. ;.-'tlAt.ln -.rl-. 

eiples anc? teciiniqw^a vvithin ^ht*! i: ■i" tiie iiof<a.? 

c©at«sir»orarjr literary fons ?»r f- , 

^rigta^.^. ::..,.>i.-,w*v;ally ana* v.,- ©f 

his dey, ith his '^rk t rts froa kno'^. 

faet.s nnd b^ ln-*uctlve r^arsonlR'- arrives at E«'^«i«^&l 
principits. i^ougii cjiis !■ .irable, there is much to 

be said for iiato'e intuitive and dialectic methods ';*ich 
Ariatotle conRi''^*'^*^^ itui'J'Guate. li^ft Plato, Hoifever, he 
consistently relawea -i.. -.vore. 

His historic defiriition of po^^try, epic, iyric and 
draraatic, 11 as tra«prfv rind coii^ .?firys his 

arraignment oi facts, aaa tafe i*cs.s rtiijict iru; fcrus.:: u* 
Plato's consideration of the cloae relation of poetry 
to man* 


That there is much in Aristotle that Is lasting 
and endurintT attests tho thoroughness and accuracy of 
his observance of the concrete facts which existed in 
the literary accomplishments of liis day. It attests, 
also, the literature which was u. Tree and natural expres- 
sion of what is universal in man, despite the excesses of 
rhetorical technique. In fact, the superficiality of such 
excess wnt) consistently condemned as unnaturax and there- 
fore unartistic. Comaion reality was the standard of art. 
From this ujierring accuracy of the sensitive Greek mind 
for what was natural, the principle of restraint and the 
doctrines of siiriplicity, unity, and propriety or decorum 
assumed fundar?icntal importance. Decoruiri particularly 
pervades distinctive achievement in all huiuan enaeavor. 
It is the extension of the ethical doctrine of virtue 
and the f olden mean. 

Of prime imr;ortance in Aristotle is ais theory of 


"imitation" which he gleaned from Plato. It is for 

him a creative vision rather than a cooyinii as su^re-^ted 
by Plato, a production of unsubstantial iifio^ges. i'or 

Aristotle, the poet drew fro;7i the actual life about him 

and fro.f. it cro-'t'^'-' <5nir;eth1nr entirely new« The poet 

was not limited by space or time. He trans foi'med what- 

ever he used. Imitation i?ieant recreation • Tiriis re- 
creation sifted j^nd preserved t'^-e' n-r.nanent and universal 


asiwcts of life, 

se«n in hia statement that "Po^ftry 1b ft itor* philosoph* 

ical or hlf--' .in^- thir^n lU^.tnry'*, , ...... 

tU€ uoxverBial taroufii cne p«>rtiQula,r instance i it ia a 

Tliough Hf- -=5sertff that the end «^ '^'- ^ 4.®<si- 

surei h@ also s^ys tn«t th« proper aesta«i,ic pic^siure is 
posaibi© only wiiea morality is «atlsfie'i« Thi^ is per- 
haps} iii^at Plato meant when he i v Ji.«7i u.^Mft of 

anesthetic tast«* It vfas a t ;).ich whs dlrectftd by 

& nru-fk-'ntlal awaresiesa. of v^-ait w*- • axid best for 

mui in orders. 


In ,., Ic Aristotle attests to the i*i»pir- 

;;:o'ji 1 iRsv iratlon ar such 

suay oe cafe privaie^e o^ ^ru; "•*.', xiiiJore are aaxiy spiem- 

dld poets ti^ose soxjrc^ la tlii^ r«^ t l^ast of a kind 

of ln=x--1?,.itlor. vj'iiph scn:?iGt'=. in a h^bit of sensitivity 
anti a c.^pacity i*or iiwi^>'*t£i"*feu le^o&lon, r#tet..jrv. - 
tralriinf superior natural gifts* Ho distinguishes b«- 

In 1.(1% history of j.OTiti'y otad jso«*t6« •'»<» speaks of t*** 
wit vtto works <r«jniSCiottaly under tht control of rejson, 
and th« poet v-'-" ^ •- - -ssesaod f**" '^i- c.^v, •^.f- 
ij^si/rcht or inKie'''>'*^*i'ti,oa 1^ o^otioiVAi i^dm i.i).'.v^iue<ti'»c* 
X«tte4iat«ly, the fw; tal distinction between rhetoric 


and poetic Is apv 

Aristotle appilfcsi the tens poet to all crftatlY* 

and Isaaginativc arUsr,?. rtany fe«l that he la ra* 

?els?.« in diarcfardiJUit:: t,i't« *aportanc« ol lorm. itt <*j-y 
rat«, hft condassned the contasioorary practioa of classify- 
ing poetry on the baala oi' varsa form. He v^is at fee tint i^i-*, 
tto doubt, to dispai the tencltsjcy auti pr*»Gi,ictf to coftiiiu^r 
ver»e the assentlai aod l^i&aic «l«M«nt of poetry. In the 
Miadle Ages wa find tiiat thowgi. ^..-^-y poetic r-r«.-,,-ription» 
follow Aristotelian doctrina in tha matter oi iuetoric, 
thay w«r© -^fi^rtainly fundamentally un-Arlstoteliaa in their 
toRuericy s.t> yoir^uder forsi *-3 ^.g^ontloil. Tbi"? is eyildancad 
by tha doeire to create aaw verse fori?i«, a tandaacy which 
domlnKted the roatr- of the Ml?<dl,e A^ea »» xail as tha 
oaapUttiilc; ou ior,u tnro-.ift,ri p4.-ti,ii;-.;uAatlcm v.^i,,^ rhetoric. 
Eemajaber that tha maun body of medieval prescription wa« 
clai« *'«*•" under affioXiflcatio . 

i'ii© vary fact tiwt ^ri£;vofcic wrot«s m'**; iJA:^^.4M 
attetta tha importaace he g^vo to skill a»id knowlediie of 
th® rrinci-^ !!•?'•' r*f ..rte '-i-? habit of ■: ..tU^.rin^: ain-i class- 
ifying lad him. to a«v*lcp ».i*> uoctrari^ c^. -..x&ti-^r^ ^ur^n*;. 
Tragedy i« given «xttrid«io considarationj it is in thia 
work tJtiat '»■ --t-^ r,ri.:-: t ii.-;flnlfelaft of tra;:edy whi<?h has 
been doctrin«i avwf »iiic«s.'*^-'' i'lie r.- ■-:5'? 

of tratf'iv 1» to jEwrra tha'acwtl' i to cleans* the aoul. 

Plato A.-- ill bfc 4 -.hiJ-i'^'-l, -ilj-teusaGd tltir,-^ nofcioK. 

; f 



'^^^ Troilus viewed in this light might explain Chaucer's 
aim in offering the young people of the court a vicarious 
experience in courtly love — a system condoned by no ethic. 
A didactic atterapt would fall on deaf ears. Was not 
Ovid the most Dopular classical writer during the Middle 
Agee? Perhaps Chaucer felt that the cathartic value 
of such writing outweighed its iTioral danger. 

The fundamental aspect of Chaucer* s humor — 
fundainental because it is his habit of vision — is 
irony. Though much will be said of this in analyzing 
Chaucer's poetry, it will be well to show h/s source of 

irony in Aristotle. Aristotle's doctrine of unity of 

plot is basic to his wiiole poetic theory. He further 

states that the action contains a peripeteia and an 
anagnorisis . These terms have been variously inter- 
preted though generally as reversal of situation and 
recognition. Atkins has splendidly discussed this point, 
stating that peripeteia stands for a reversal of intention, 
a deed done in blindness defeating its own purpose, and 
anagnorisis , for the realization of truth, an awakening 
to the real position. The tragedy is brought about, not 
by the deliberate purpose of some evil agent, nor by 
mere chance, but by human 

\ T ; 

••«" ; ;:,■!■'. .. 


•v,-. J 

\J !(■>•' 

,:>■■■..; ;.>■« 


error,- >.iis Iroaic qu.r-*-."' is «3l«o, '^' ^■"•♦-,60, 

«ctly in k^epinj: with tn« I'acte of iii"*', wttech«rAi8 

y^rb&l or rises out of the -sction Itself, ''wh«ii 

C*ttgAti Up out «.t «ia <i».^;«Bi, ' 3 i^<*.iiQ tiita .;u-i*i\a,'*."' ''^itA '■ '" ' ""^l- 

Inf the v«ry Q;>!^sl&e of M^&t w<fts ir«\;f • _■., , .^.t 

th«n, i!^ Ir-vny of circumstanees aad i? c ole to vek'beAl 

-irony in idiifviiag*. 

ArlBtoti© 3ays little aiteout tiie nature «f comedy. 

He a«Mitriii3it)S it with t ^r> that it i;alt?ites d.^^r&A'-' 

lug kinds ©r «etivm, &na iv aG«u.3 wiuu low^^r tjfpfes 01' 

chamcters. Their action corisists in rialculous blunders 

whieh f'^ "•■' *■■' -^''^ ' '^ others. Llk«- "I'.t.A, h« inr.l.^tcd on 

the harmies* ii«i&ur«» of the defects iiMivji'^ai, Im Wi*e cj»^*r» 

ftcters of cei»««iy. if they coiiid actually hdr»a sc«seon« ^r 

thets8«lve-3 i.'i .audiencc. », be fe&r.r-il. '^'■'* -"-^^ ■ «ould 

be dangerous ratii'sr than aumoroua. Uttii»«jr'i*<*i. iiOfcior and 

IsruiKhter is produced vheifv loi^ cuflr^ct^rs ej^tibit hmn^M 
foibles ?ma jLisiiriiiuxeK- =/v.haw. k>k^%-j.<>i- -wJicrous situ^ttions, 
miBunderatfc 3 ana biwidars. T'lf. fi;ore cosipllcated the 

sltu-tiDn, the more ludicrous, this h.^s i^f^n t0 «♦>■'>« 

0-'.;-!';.-';' i.nteL:r4<ii &o c^'ifeuy vuroueJiou^.- uuc is>..^vvi^ ■■-t.=' 

erat^lr«. Chaucer* s cook is f f ridicuU and 

laught^-r, fmt ^-e.rt.iin . '. t?'i«' .• 

dftcoruja vehicrt, t it d6v«loped aore fully after .^is- 

t©tv=-. r->ny.r. ^r.n h^^lnninr in his notion tliait chai'rfctors 

i ! ^f ;i'i-»>.).,> f..'.<''<«5- 

.4,, <(!■ 

j' -'■'>■- ' r a. V.t ^ 

wust b<ir coiiwiat^rawi V .irawn, true t:/ j. in eonceotioB 

tr ist conform to tradition, tb«Ht l8, ( uet be tru* 

t« tjrp* an4 fit p'reei*.elr into thf. various classes to which 
they belong.'^* 1' corua tuiiy 

insisted on fixed and foraal tyj^ee based on a^e, sex, rajnk, 
nationality, Thoui^ r-nch rtot,if>n«^ v?©r*> a n.^rt of the- no<?tlc 
prescriptions of the i-^iciaxc Ages, t^*ey 'A-fere also « p<irt 
of th@ tradition inherited. Chaue«r in this ai&tt in 

many of th* r,p*.c,crib«idi ^eetrloes ^pp'^ ■■->--''■ ^^ '-^.-vTi^., ■.,.^, 
current doetriiie, b«t hie v«$ring is so feubt.!^ timt he does 
not shock tr-^aitional requirements. Th« use of stock types 
is an ^.rtistic «onsi4«r«tion of tht raind of &h« audience; 
fee fr«€« the«, ho««ryer, fro® fch« static axid tir«so:ae de«» 
criptloi? '• t#<i fey the com,.emn*>r^ry wf-^trrtntlftris ^ich 

succe'«d<rM .M.- •'■ i'eriiiieriii4K. «i c^j^tt-avv*-' -i^iJiuo ere sting 

or unreal* iJy t«e uae of carefully calouiite<i detail of 
Sioverf'ent , eot«u=ffnt9 f^talo^-^i '■:?(!?ri^tir>n. be bre?5tniss 

•xpectations of hi iersce.'^ 

The rr-iMtrsi^t i^ortlj^n of Aristotle's contribution 
to rhotoi-icai t,n©ory wnicn iri^erfests us is car.cii^ea in 
8ii»ok III of his ih«torie > Tht precedia^ book* ar«= coAoern- 

St! wit*. s^J^1il<^fc. -.r-.-rhtfrr, th'-it Is, ho-; to ."^.pve?.cn ar*fu?£«»nts 
«i»d uow to r^iutffe tiitsit, i.lSi G<fc«crip'Cioa£> or si'i^^ract&r© 
holds an int<5re»t for ub since they bee«»o a standard to 
wT'.^rh tMi^ ilf. c^t !»1n*> nf •'(■fCi'il-Ufn "itrictly aihors.^ thrm. 

, ft'K^ !■* t" 

•';■ ■■■v' ■ •■;>■. 

^e> '■?.■:!■. ■•■'1 



Book in treata that material whicii »it;;fciit. 1b« c«*11* 
«d th« formal ssnect of rhetoric | it includes styl* and 

this time for>*ar<t receive ot»« greatest asttfrition. iauecd, 

by medieval tl:r;es the ters\ rhetoric canw to 'ate 

style, inciuaiUjj^, v, ienien&s 9* xafifcu^^f/ wivu^jit 

which would aJff«et »tyl€. 

Book I J h'- ■; contalr.s hi® forsr-ol definition 

of rhetoric. ^■"'' it la i'or ax&i liUfe i'iiC'al-&y Oi ova^wiui. xa 
a particular instance the avAllaole w^ana of persuasion. 
• .. .,,,.-. ...- ,ri.-» h/^w. fiueh wid«r l-^ t-hla dr^finitinn than, 

for ixiai;.*ric», &h« Hi«i!«»i«v«i oonc«pt« i'ii«*& spte^iKiiiii. or 
g«^e,;.h 1« im?5il<?d in tH«i word rhetoric is iaad« cl««ir by 
uiuw..x.t.4/. V ■ftg^^^fi.^c ■^,„ /is 


- , i . 75 

dicendi v.%^ a common Latin «tqiiiv«l#«t« 

ttBd argusientative kinda of p<?r3ua@lon >ftiicii .aistocie con- 
si ^*->-?i ln!rortr.nt. Fsr tbif? reason w<? find ' 7 dia- 

rules, of i<>id.ft» thc5u.f;.ii. be does not oait m carei"ul a»i«iyaie 
Qf t.f-'r *-'.'r,t.tnn«,^^ Ir other viori , roTf^e a 

certain (.r*itU <■ -^u-isive arguaent. i^* 

C;»lculat9« his aadicRC i-edibie 


vfitffN frsnaal character. 

iidce pofc^- I •* i*i «ri&tot.itt'.s pSiiioxiopriXC'iai acu<. 


«s « {>ro<iuctlY€ "=?rlenee» 

In his :'wth|,c,^ h« lists rhetoric alone with 
strategy anri econ- the '♦moefc hi«hly 98t««ned of 

cftpacitled''* li^ a. i .xj^i;!^ tfeftt the dccwr^-iie of both 
^*** ^'ootica and the MhiGa undorllos the |hftc;ric « 

ftrl«:.t.otle*» ffletoi ■_ Ins In aimjlfie^-irjce <rv.nii 
we noue 'un.-:.& iit: is, in this ~ -.oeiiG v.'it^i iixa 

usual soimd hifit'jric&l treafciaent In considerin,^; ail pro- 
vious kna^/ledre. This it? saho'mi bv his »any rf»fcrerc«s to 
both conuearorary feua cciriit-r Xr.icorists. irijfeec, , s >- 
work to thia day has not boen supersodod. it was left 
for I'it*''* ^^ ^r-; tr* .>dat»t it in whol« or In vart to thflr 

In Book III he first considers dlotion trnd sets 
fort*^ ^■'"'" /-.V1 -r .,-:-*-,:.« vblch incluf^« t^-^' -"ety, apiwo- 
pri«iten«!»», and decoruia. Here, ali50, is fou»d reference 
to the doctrine of ta^t* which Plato first augjiested.' 

Figures v; ;:.;vvrcu ^ e uorj) ol.?.horately diseussed 
In the her® me.': aad siisile are 

treut^H In 'Jet&il «« basic n.?:ur*e9 r*ri»ctinf the habit* 

U- ^C-I:.iX Yi..;.x011o ' '■ -i .L-j.r.t.iJtle* ':•;) for 

goo<i style consist in lihe not-ion that it au«it be clear 

and arr^r^rsrlate. It- is* the ^nme criteria th*»t hf^ gave 
for poevry* I'hcse '/irvuf. ?•; cu;istit,«tP ts.e iu/M.uiiaent&l 

ccnceot of ^is deflnitloa of rhetoric. Ornmatnt for its 
own saVrc i>a concieianctts it ia foolieh to iadtate a ^>ofetieal 


i' ■.':'" ^>;:':" r 



conversation. o^ciiic iudtances of rii€.torici<ia*a jaIs- 
u,,« <jf noetical ornafflent* are given aa •xamples of bad 

t,*-.. J ■:^'' -^^ ' ''oetrine ^'t' ^ ••e'-'nxim. 

One of tn« most isiDortant doctrinfea t»i' trietotle 
is that of appr©nrlaten<»s." of pttyle for tach kind of 

theif Diission for rhetorical flourisn Ignored this doctrine, 
^e find that it /s basic tr> Chuueer. His careful use of 
apprus>ri«i'fc6 suyie f&r aiiitsreax- ocjctsioas and character* 
is fundaiBftntal to hl» narrative technique. Like Aristotle, 
he carefullv -M p-.tinr-ul'shcs between » literrt.ry and stMsken 
style ;*8 illu^^tjc-^itsa &y fiis occasional i^ariis izi contrast to 
tfie \;;ar|t^erburY Talfe s where appropriate eletaents of style 
(rhetoric) -. *• — - ■ "^ n^Mr-.^-h/- eh^r^ictsr. This is partic- 
ularly significant in both irii»tauc«;S airi ca in oota ages 
literature w%is ^sainly or^l. -<? were *Qore often heard thv*n 

reau. In ^ristotle'e time political Mid fo^^-r.*!.- s-^secftcs 
were, of courae^ designed to be delivered.^ -n Chaucfer*-^ 
tiaie current ilt«»rstur?^ jit least wa« usually experienc<»d 
orally. e -..■ -..c^r re&d hi- •^n^'-« ^n t.h«^ ^r^^.rt 

circle h€ knew. %Ig perhaps* aceounta for trie digniJ-'i ■ - 
tiortrsit, of the Vnlrht »r^ the decorous references to 
roY.Aity *9 weii ■ ■ -^ i.<^^'^^ ^'un enjoyed - ^:'- ^^-■-^«^*> -^^ 
the traden-tien and Tarious members of the clei-^y. &vfcn tae 
T^rlor&:-TS doc^ not escaue hin sabtle humor. 

•;>'-i;''. * .';; /Ill 


Me know that Chaucer's narrative technique sur- 
passes without question that of any of his conte'riT)oraries. 
The reasons for this superiority are many from the tech- 
nical point of view. It is in Aristotle that these de- 
vices first find their way into systematic theoretical 
doctrine. A few of the important notions include: 

Propriety and Cleverness 

The virtue of anything is determined by its special 
function in the performance of which its excellence lies. 

Simplicity of Language 

For clearness ordinary words are indispensable. 
Vernacular is emphasiijed as the basis of good style. 


Already referred to ir the Poetics , its proper use 

is the rriark of genius which could not De tau,^it. 

Metaphor is one of the chief sources of charm in style 

for it gives intellectual pleasure by the resemblances 

noted and because it is a means of learning quickly. 

It must be in keeping ^the theme or purpose. 


'A ■...'•■' 

.;^ 1 i 


Difmity of otyle 

Besides clai'ity, style rr.ust have diniity. Tliis is 

obtained by use of metaphors and descriptive epithets 

and the employuient of the plural rather than the singular, 


This insists on adoptin;:; the utterance appropriate 
to a speaker's rank, age or sex or nationality. It is 
employed for attaining plausibility and credibility rather 
than for aesthetic pleasure. 

Vivacity of Style 

This is achieved by the use of u'letaphors, similes, 


antithesis, and vividness of representation. Brevity 

of exprps-nion is recowTnen'^ed, for it snakes the contrast 

. . 92 
in antithGsiwS more strikiug ^uid vivid, 

Concealiaent of nrt 

Art must be disguised. One wust anpe-^r to speak or 
vnr-ite naturally, not artiixciaiiy; the aa.-Ui .1 is persuasive, 
the artificial is not. Men are prejudiced a^-ainst arti- 
fice as against an Insidious design. 

Effective Narrative 
In order to be effective, narrative should be 

AJ,\ 'V '. 

.i. >. 


broki am' not contlrtuou? for ^%q rel^ite all facts 

The reai. suc-s&anc'e, fien,Qi .a-AJ^'-'Otle*® teaching 
lifts in th€! use of- Bound »«bj|ect-m^tt8- imed? und 

#fffe«ts, an apt u-i fia^ures, ah ur.oo^ranxvc 

art. Throut-hout i» found th« <5«mand for th© strict ot>- 

S«rvanee of pro'-rl'^t.^'' -ntt (•»riM«Ai«?}??t, T^'.lr> trfiat-Tserit of 

sutejftct-mstter, «rr»nj«,eia«tnt i*xxd sfcyife i&iter b&CAa»« 


1!heopuraatu« (372-237 : / ristotle'a 

favorite Tiuril. ■^*ork= attrib\ii. Include, ,_ 

as nis celebrated ^ftAr<uCt«^f it »^iicli, full of wifeS'j^ ti^acrip- 

tlon .ini '5abt.le DsycholOf^y, in?pir*^«^ the Kni,-iisi . ractere" 
or tri«! i/Ui ceuwury. '' iut,.-- ar. v^/^'.*. ^ aforfes 

of Theophrastua ext&iit, .«»d i^e ar© tnereforts ttependtiat 
urv-.^t t' »'- n-.f^-r-m'.it^n in later *.Trlt"Rri5 to discover th« n^tur* 


reTeai tiiat hiss astaici lot« veiop th« teach, 

of ,rlstotle. 

Four virtues* of style a.:-t; d^^-. • ::; .;Ow.i>.*.- 

tus inat«ad of the Aristotelian twos clearness, correct- 
n«aa, ornat? -mrAnrinh , In sut^cstiag 


that otnA-i^t^-^^'.^. ^/i di«ti!icti<Hi of stylii ean b«9t b« a* 

ehleved through choice ftod an nt of words itx\d in th« 

us« of fifur the beitinninf?, of v-h-it l3t«*r bf^cy-e 


orlelans usod his tr««]&ise» l'h« •mphaaie h« pldieed on 
fi^ru >*ificant in visw of the faet thdit Arlntotle*8 

Th«o0hrastu8 was r«3ponaibie, ^iso, for the devel- 

0{»i«nt of th« doctrine of iftistic restraint, Oer.etriua 

tells us that h« &vera that for un effect iv« style it i« 

not uecesaary to exhauat Si aubjecti 

K0t ^"^T -->• '=iibl« points should h^- >.,,,■""' ?i ^.."«ljr 
and ,y elaborated, but - Id 

bA l«ii& to tne CO ; Alld tr of 

th® hearer, wiio, /cii'ivt-.. .-,..,, j >ii 

have left iinsairt only your hearer 

but your *^itf<-:i»», ana a v«ry friensily witrteas 
too. For he thinks ■-.■i— ..--i *"• ' - ^t «' ' ^ -; ant bc- 
cauise you h-^tve .^f fo) s oT sUaw- 

iog his intelligeitce# *^«^ 

Oioaeefea states that fheo'^irastus dofiaftd tragedy 

*8 &it v<«j<ilou concornjLHj, a t'evvu ;^...j. ii* v.he fort^mes of 
chiiracters of heroic ^tutut-a, And comady concerns u h/ip« 
penir.f: of daily lif<? which involves no dan '«r9 of ; 5«>r» 
iou5 n^^tu. fc 3 aiis aeixiiAuioji wi»y u-tfiu i^^ivc'; u/ i'Ua-Atua 

i^o was ^ wr t influence on later literatry theorists and 


one which wae do)r);»a^t in later feurooea© thought. 

By ^OfH S,G, ;,th)(Mri^ wae no lan.-er - -Kter of 

iiCiXi«jf»ic iu-UAJv-;-. . ■'- . ' -te uret-iis vv 

■;■. •■ ■/■ 

« ■ 1 i. \ » 

i, ".'.I.. :^ 


colonlae, a« w© ha y this tim their culture 

had be«*j firmly •stabliehed In v&riouss cacitais of the 
,-:>rtt,-rn-. •....-Av.T r? , n?i/^P;y nbp hr}^>nv rsffitron'-irff of rulers, 
gr«at libraries «i-u1 a;u;>eiaiau n&d oeen ttGuaoxisiieu; s;::iol- 
arshln and scl«nce had for some time been the proud activity 

of princes. Th« various city-?tt, rlv:ilad o7)« another in 

cultural advancement a« they dla in atr.ietics. rorg..roD 

and Ali»TT«iT»di-1.«» b«csme ctjltural and acholsistic centers. 

Art axiu ^G.Mui..-T^<.i- flowered -* ^'-t^'^^^- ^^-n ^hn^^a ^nrt 

3yracus«, at Tarsus, HalicarnasBus aaa itoAesus. 

Br t*vl5 tl'ne the gr«at Kolden aj^« of CJreek 

achlr " ^aa v.;vsst;.i *m«^ *^''' "--^ ' ^— ^'' ''olonies ever 

proud of their glorious heritare were eajtwr to !)r«8ijrv« 

*he c>5lt'.:rf '^f thj? rsast. '^he various capitols vi^hed to 

attrdCJ. ^rtl/~t.r olara .^nd scientists and -— -id&d 

llberraiy for their n^ed^. olars busied theeiselves 

.?.- ►.,^TT «..* V... , rt*-i»nr!r.:1'n.-',, rriticislnr and analyeing th« 

lit«ra6Ui-«T of t;ifc eoirlior ors^rics. .rit i.xbr<iri«is -.t 

Alexandria ar<» said to hsv* cantainatJ over TOD, 

maRU8Cript5,^°^ ^-^ .^r-t^in-* a^rearsd o^ th* lltf-r- 

ary scene and teegija to cor.&ider queationn ox ^^a^v.<M,.^ ^nd 

ohllol'^py ^9 ^ell »« textual criticism, though the teris 

'iflth succfesi^ in tae fcst«&*isi:i;r:ca:i o- ,i snu^u 
toeial o*"^^n1'?,attor t(a© eff^ohasis on politics and rhetoric 
i^ll«* f-v,i:.x;, :, -.-w'^'s- - -.^.v*^ pitillr.'i, for rhetoric 


was y®t fwnd 1 to ^rfuCfition. It 1r trwr, ho , 

tAat its cio Xjiity tc i ■' ^e; l.t, X.QS.X. i&s 

Strong practicitl pur :m6 bec^tae a 8«;t of rult- 

»kllls> wltlri '^l'*"'- t-hw Tl»:teyat0ar coulci ojrnatneRt his v^-are, 
This atimul^^tsd thft asiveiopmeut of new forma, a pettern 
whieh vfi^ to r^i&e^t itself in t fs. The ifliyil 

.',., J. 3, ■,■<- -"'n^^ral and didactic iori^& eiaergwd. 
4lao« fit thl? tisn^ bfigar. the rot^antie «pic, a form whlc^ 
was t*? flo'iri*?* rsost brilli'intly during, the Mfcdievcsl &«?;«• 
8«ti<= ua i-ft'Aifcj.ov- ii'U -'"t- discarded for thf -■ 

more ftaoterlc, such a» the sjicient myths, i* find t 
Ing «t this ti-nft »th«r thi- hlch *rer« to re=^eh th*ir 

hirh point in i^a&in iitaratuiv ajaa iriiiufiiCtt ^-i-Qi'yuiidly 
th« Middle? -iffes. . 3 of oxternai nature an<i the 

f*n*i*'-w ef l««/r. fi-itin-i their way iRto lltf^ratiire and art. 

tho onphasiig was r.l£!e«(«: on t vic%tion of personal 

toolings as weii r>r-i-\ lov; of thr fj^nctftil 

and picturesque* Vvjivi^ty ouaa iii¥iu.>iwy u^ere c^j'tfc K«iyriO!,.&0 
This new fr^^ of rx.ression car«<i 3.ittxe for orj-;j.'nic 
unlty^ ^'^'- "itKffaa, !"';■ '^-^•r'-»r«ffli« "'*iKi--r.>,int .-n-^>^ h^O/^?:fe 
wero for/',o«.teis «* ir* ge««r*t.i. j»<;c«*&*; xV,-uit/, utis table 

8.n4 ijr*M*»fin*?d« Styl«» b«e«w,<B hij^'hly orn«fa»nt«il and arti- 

fifc*,*!. -'-' • --^esrye '"/>-h<4hj.c 

tondancioe oi' oxcesft prevaiiifed in tht's uso of fci.ji</i>r«ite 
«nd strained metaphora, fiil«« antithe«is, invoivo^ 

V 1 " '■ 

,♦■■ .'t-w 


?»;, n.^fnentition for Its ovn S3k« wari th« reitue. 

departure frosi earlier cX4^8@lc&I ti aditions of clarity, , dcrv-inm, jnon th?=: teni«»ncir Iti l.iek of re r^traint 
ARCt propriety grt^w iiito &oait*as& an<* rci;;ti3i8tic ei'lects oi 
sound and rhythm* 

rather tkimt ideat, on rfi*ii.oi;''lc rei.<ijt*er tfiwu iiispiratioft, 
heciiSiP. dowinwirit, it was not to be the last. The per:duiu» 
swing tK'-j'.'j.'. k such extreKiiea during, the Roman period 
and again during the medieval age. Each tim« th« esiphaais 
on form ?»r>p9aredj len;^ nr*4 Involved rhetor1<»Al prescriptions 
appif-itrcc wirjo, -..uu. ao'^ji, ^ ?'-i".rji. -■i-;,^;;'. , fantaatie 

skill and artistry in th« varied used ox devices beeamft 
the focal -loint-. anrf rcc«iv®d the emphasis of aroidtic 

DurirjfT the late (Jresk oeriod the texte of Aristotl*>,-^ t-«!:n*r«-v11v \jrj-.<nov.Tn an'* nev; critical effort?* cfcvf?lf->r>pf?. 
i*ew tiieoritri. vi^w- rora>iUa!ieci oy gr/:. ^ - .x'i&ns -^tn; piiiioxQ^j.ate 
rathftr than by t^iilosonhers. The new tr«&tra«nts did not 
concern themeclvsjR wit.f. thp Lrsor -^rtlrtic and r-hilosonhic 
problema of literabur* «iia *irt ..:fcrier*siiy« iXi... ttcririxcd.l 
ftflpect was ftiKphaaiatid. forsis beciswie static since tbe 
anelent asodels were ' ><^^t'-M-- r<n.i -\f<, r'-id. lis 

l«d, of eotxrse, to th« «?jtai>ii&h«fcnt oi" Ix'^^-at-Liry ger.; -• . 

■Riis a^:e i« important, therefore, not so ' 

■'i ivV.; ■■^■'■'•-^''.f^ 'vv ■«,- : 

,ii■is^^;■. ::■■ ^^ -'■'!;;/ ''"r 

"•■ .'^t: 

.5 6 

an aK« of oriflni*! contribution or advan««m««t alon^ rhet- 
iricax iiaea» but rjr,.s«' ;7vc.,v^v. of Its infiuenc*- ^'' '!u'?- 

c««filn^ a lies • 

In rsop'tic tneorv in ©articular 1ft thf; rhetorical 
iBflu«nc« ; » ^ ri?=v* poeti. . u-s '>£¥-^.-i>.;>.-*;j i*h08« three- 

part orRsnlft&tion isfa» both pr&ctical and oche/a»tic» The 
first part wss o''"'-" '^'f'l''-- c -red the stJb.^e'Ct of r-oetry 

as a ^ol»J the »<fccoi»« ifc'«& £oeaa wnicn receivec tiit: i,r-:;.t- 
e»t attention and d«&lt with Btattere of form; the third 
...^.^t A.^ -'f'^bleais cono€';''rAri- the r>o£t himself tind 

w*B callea ,3 -'"r.^; '-ecorid p.*rt «oi3 lutei- .iiviaea into 

s^3br«ctiona a/;-AiTi iilustrftting tfee eiiipiri^sis on fona and 
tim? reflecting? th«. ri-ietorical infiuenc®. This new trend 
in poetic theory i ificant In its iftfiuexiC* upoi. i.«tcr 

manuals of instr'sct^on for it wa« to supply tii«f basis of 
the moRt ii0por^..uit wrx^^-i :. «i. Rome."^'^^ ThoiM;h th« problem 
of art versus nature was slao dismissed during this period, 
It tif^&mn Rvl^cnt th«;it nVsr?? f»tr«ss W8» rvlae«»d on the .%rl.«- 
totelian iaea, of to- >. ea lor i* '^tsv^-At-u^r. of jirt an<i the 
need frjr technical traininfj, since the stress on Hellenistic 

if;n©red is seen by the s»tion of auch material under 

three hwadin"-*** H.) t'-i^n which >?as vrobuhlt., (?) t .ieh 

wes absurd or r,4»>uiou&, ana C>| x.«««.»i wt-iicn v'id'. >. •: '^- -*« 


rti55x-.i-aci.ri.;An poe&ry tawi^f i. . - ^t i. ;■, and f;« .< 
writ<?jr« us«d the terms r,. ^»^<i l*L*f.«.«^^^ 

evldcaces of V.i,« ri4tisl.or-iCckl «s.TBpaasi» ori r.oetic taeory. 
They are evidences which illuatr<3t« th&t in«r>lr«tl(>n and 

vision V : '^ \.rr,.^y.^^.y .i-,.'. -.^^^{^ C<)«ip©e?t- .(TVtiiM i^*,! 

»«'' 1 opted iaiti pro©p*red, fieraclfeodorus thou|:ht f'&rm 

or styl«& tkm ^ss^nGe of p»«try. Androfyen !•?.«•« !»S'*i<* that a 

Erato £^tVi(^nee held that the aia of tvery true po«t was to 
**dlvert" hi" '^'jdien^e, not t-- instruct them. The 

poet's tai:, jct-ias, 15 rxa'c co saiy vnat no on® tjisfe «&y», 

but rather to apeak as no others ean asid to work out for 
themsfelves s clear tittpr^-ire©, jsAiklnf \x'^& of rhvi-.hmRj the 
soaT, - tiie ;iatipy sequericeis Of the tauses. Jionysius of 

Halicamasaus was later to make th« harsionious ^s^rangomf^ifiit 
©f wor;'?« on& of his fjii'i^?.'-'rti»r;t »'' thf>'Wf*, 

A.-.e gri<i«»itarl3«» were i>roi*utct!S of thle ^lexandriaa 
>.tS« and resulted from the need to anslvse tb*' b«lV gf 

lii/ferMfy critics i« a r«:>r.:>i*»l s©n»e» is poiut 

literary critici-si?! w*& sporadic, 'lis® «A?»iiffigt ^ra ■ 
ext^^int i" '■" '.iiofi>«....M£ fhrax («. 1''-' .•..,;'■' ^ju .ntyi^ii 
at interpretation of litf^ratur^ in th' st sMas«. Ine 

Vi^^rious part© Ineladc-d; (1) dccitr«it€ readia,, aloudj (?) 

» '.• . 


:f V 



iiiterT>r«tatloR of figures of speech, (3) cxplsntition of 

o1»»e>lete vfofds and custorjSy {£») «tyr;r>l-:5 7v. (5) ^,tT.^^v c-f 
"'*■■■: --^ctti foe: \ io) crii;^ try -rfaicn ^&^ 

th« B aad noteiest function of all. The gramaer dealt 

iftXso with .■accentuation, -uiictriatlon fin-! o.r$rtA '^f -^-i^i-^ch. 
Irjurin^ x,nls period tfte A"'rtfet;oric«l iiitv.rijst is to 
be obaerved in the deir«lop?!ient of pontic th«ory and of 

i^mic^lly. .\B ®xod2-isiv« doctrine w*s cr«citfte whicii ^mi&raced 
all tropes and figiir«t». Hellenlstie poetics had ©iserged 
diominatef'f b "-hftoric^l (stylistic) influences and'^eatined 

to exert a profound upon jaoat of the later in- 

3tru<Jtlon mynuj-la, 

Jhf ■■■■'■ then contributed »uch \,^ \,uy « jvtioxiih- 

m^aa% of a ayste'Sjatic rh«5toric whicii in its origin was a 

practical political ar>^ 5ftcia.l activity. It pemeated 

all huaon activ^ui,) v^rpt^sxcn, Froj« l%«.n and orytoz*y 

it spread to all artistic expression, «>o«tic8 in psrticul ir. 

Mrfadv yff note the eres af comrsjonf.litv in the Tiitter of 

3v.' •■ < .: ^ -y po'-'uryj v,!:;.3.a-j iwa ©ni'ic^iua tne eiifcctivenesa 

of the orators, had r<»eo that are& *^iich contained 

the- t<>chnlcTU€"=; knovm tn «>r^hf-.r.ce 'ill fors? rsf \^t.ivr^irv f^x- 

p.r*-s.' :li>n timn w<-.s cuicK r.c;. RjaLiir ^i^«l awciiic./^ r&xik« of ti'jfc 

rhetorical tide, 

emerged, and a^itvel'^^pfew aui-^Lu^, i,ii!i» ^is &r ureek th.oU(r,nt w<a6 the 


c«»dlfle*tion of th«»# d«ir5ee!? whieh ,. Ividn^'as audi 

nr^ircr t-o sicnrRE^t^ri . It wr.s t.hroUf-b, th^ arc - 

isbii^tdlAte to t.h# feeirij^, of the h«i«tr«r» Fop the an^ietnte thla 

1 M 


sett; -rfca a ciyn-Asnic ptcffewr* of 8«n«uoua <S«t&il c<^ ;>■ 

ai«t«r''^lly« ^-^^ ■•^t^r'tf th<* instr^t**"^^ on*«j thcK« >?tth uclq«e 

scnsivxvii:, d\«j*r«iit-sa ox itn<(i Ueauwixu/ . yy «>;i-«i Art a 

»imn9 ^BWMt*} t««y w«r« the trw« |>o«t"i»» They accK»d &&ov« 

stifl h«-v'^n'? tts rpstrlrtiov &hesry and presscrlKtion. 

by the very pow«*r of t!««»ir rltion suborcJi»&t«sd. T»'^*y pro- 

■!r.(*ti?.-! 5n .1v*" -it" t-fi-rnv- -'Inirf-al nv-r^vpvr^fer.t of the ■•A'orld 

ard« If th.«tr •xwrisflBion ^&n to eonforta lu asay r«4l way lt> ' 

slgnlficynt by th*^ ^trwrifw ?i©wi»p ef th« «trti«t'»s noetic Yislon* 

his hAbltUAl «»0tlc«i»i »n'i inteiiftot iactiow t9 ili* and 

living, Thip overall plet^r* »f fele art co»fc«ifi» tht evldeRC* 

of a gjreut i.^«a:/inft~ pez- ■ion.^j.ifcy. 

KCmd\ rtiii-TORIC 

Rhetoric was fundamental to Roman education. In 
criticism, vrhether it was the work of the orator, the 
historian, or the poet, the art of rhetoric formed the 
basis » Once the genie was released, once the magic 
pokier of persuasion by certain techniques was known, 
the floodgate was forced, and ve witness the swelling 
river of rhetorical education in the many carefully 
wrought theoretical prescriptions. Its techniques are 
seen in the works of criticism as well as in the artistic 
flowering of the creative artist, whether in prose or 



Pergamon, the home of two of the most famous 
ancient libraries, was the birthplace of the rhetorician, 
Apollodorus, He left his native city for Rome to be the 
teacher of the boy, Octavian. Here he founded a school 
of rhetoric a By now Rome was the center of the Mediter- 
ranean world. Corinth and Carthage had fallen; i4ace- 
donia became a Roman province. It needed only the sub- 
sequent capture of Egypt and Alexandria to make Roaie the 
absolute mistress of the entire Graeco-Roman world. 

The Romans had first learned of Greek culture 
through the Hellenic colonization in Italy. They v^ere 
faciiliar with ancient Greek cirt and had already borrowed 
much froiii the early epics and tragedies. Later vjith the 
supreiiiacy of 




Hem« its citis«;ns t>eem^f%@ toibu^d v-tiUi ileLlenie eultur«* 
Gr«eH art H^'*'-^ ■■■■'<'■'"- -'s <,il<J Grefi'k arti >» and -.<«'--'» .-~,.^ 
4«trivdw,elnig a oaifewro KJltich waa to per --rj ae^eii 

of ioman Xif©« <?-)f^e!^ seh'^.l' ich sss Acci««, Lu©iXlti» 

and iJ^ii.?^ were .±iic?i.j^;; &xie t j^uiixa^© 

H«ll«niG cultur©} te® iworkt ©JT fars"o, %'ik% pxupiX ©t itilo, 

tA^ i'irs^ A»vit.3>ji ^riti^sr %^ i>sr-- ■:««r--i wor^* oa tn« 

H'fettrai »i*ts» It tma divld®^ iuto «iii® parts $ tl) g:ra«i» 
ti^^s, (6) «tatirois«fisy, (,. -is, 1^1 ®i®di«ifH' . , (9) 

a»«4 souring fcjte j©v©»s t«e 

ricbes ©f C»re«i£ X«i'i*rfiljii» Cie-i' *w. visit©*? 

'io sti!*:?y rt-itetorie* ta fti^ow ^?53t of 

^ fin e;<t)er >e>tcG 

the ariCiertt wyiter^^wf-^lcS* «oftbi:4.«>ut©a CQirtaAaerauiy to 

the lflij>ort>&3ftee of his role in %hm rwirlval of tl%,0 elaaeical^iifAnn difTiy--- .r«ee» It i?. t.?^i>«'"ttt. t.h-'.t, 

oi * '^Vofs etvori' ir.r<or- m* of I{»li©fi4eti© 

j>fjii . . v «*rt ar**,- lit &•**«,& u*"'*?' iss-ai^l* i*ad «i»>«iia»&i*» 

■ i,.'-.;: .: :■ ..:,'., 


%h% glory of Oreect^, ,.;__ •.....-,--_ th« cent',.. _, -•-',■: .v- 

«««t a,ttd w,»« d«sfelnef4 t© tra-nsaiit /»er culture fco later 

rhetorical tradition «aa C. , . . 
thoroughly ii^bued witiii Cr«; 

fliaa,^ III© s!'.rm»t r 

art* ©f rhetoric sjada Gict 
fftfitt^t^si af classical tii«;ai*i .. 


• - ^ ^ - 

:r of th 

'feflan any ott»«4r 

? hiia throug.h[<5iat tl**© 
■ "ly« of ut.w ill; — 
•i« isri?fiary trans* 
. In dlfflct'lt to firid 
•■'■"■ ■ .: retjtt 

''?rip6s of his wr ■ wer& th* proud 

rca'iss.of jSBoriastijry m^i^ urd v©r«i&y 

.ird, 4^:>ha of iaiisfeury, Vinasnt of 

the name of Cie«rd«'' 

/<«■ '-■rticular in*-'- '*^^«",dr*v 

In th«3e -^ort^a ar^ reflect«<i tn« main aQCtrin<sd of ritAtOt 
laocratest tk-; !e««s, arle.totl» aad thftor^brastus. 

Tho.- 'o ma/Ke >?o dir«»ct rfef<sr* 




.: 'i'l'.irxis , Cierbart j 


of th 

'*. IN 

:■•' '-S-Xfe 

r . 


ence to Cicero's v/orks, he does mention him by name* 
No doubt, his ideas were available tiirougii raany writers 
Mho drew from him. He did know the Dreaia , of SciPio which 
forms the basis of yhe Parliaiaent of Fowls * It is also 
aentioned in the tale of the Nun's Priest • 7 Both Dante 
and Petrarch knew hira wellj their influence on Chaucer is 
common knowledge* Both transmitted the synthesis of 
Greek and Roman cultiire to medieval Europe* 

Cicero's most important contribution was concerned 
with oratory wiiich he felt was the supreme literary type 
since it was a dynamic force in public life. He be- 
came the greatest orator of his tiaie, a living example of 
his methods and theories* His aarliesfc work, De Invent i one . 
was based on the anonymous Ehetorica ad Herennium ; though 
popular in the Middle Ages, it was an immature work* His 
next work on oratory came some thirty-five years later 
and exhibited the rich experience of an active public 
life. The main body of his craft was contained in De 
Or a tore * Another, the Brutus * was a history of oratory in 
dialogue form* 

Like Jsocrates, Cicero tried to broaden the field 
of rhetoric to make it a system of culture. Though his 
view was philosophic, he was a practical man of affairs 
and was concerned with the problem of effective utterance* 
Style, taerefore, assumes an important place in his works* 

■> i:.^ 

# . '^ i V« ■ '•■ / . i *^ 

3tyie Is t « t^ivuu-essioR of «»er»onality and ~' "^ 

dlsej. t»laln, iTit^^lff ^fri'.^ rr.-^n^, :■ to 

•ffect uu^i ihrftefoia pur --rcs^, to 

Cicero f»lt *,h?it thp r -©fiteat fAnl .flir*^ ■>£*;«?. j>« 

was t • \5,*y i,«ajf;uage, t»A« i^i = 

a8«d by oo.ii,'* .^t c<t. . -./a >a detail-; .1- 

.;*« rhet'iric, -^nd ir - 3.^^©© jCor ail Boman 

erlti^ n tr^atlnj:* rM»«try and lltcr»ti»r rallj Snm 

Of Inter ia Cicero's tnaary of ca»*edy« 

Ho ref^^ri.**^ ii^ o^^-^f^^h- 1 Imitatio vitae. aci^culum c|<m^- 

•-ristotl- => "idtotlo h9> spo/re of the isifinite var- 

iety of hir /jeoe-^'Sity nf d'-jt^.r-tii-s «o nh.-t hu^srtr 


iloes. no:. buffoonery. 

In ^rMMP h« fwiiowec/ f'irisstotlo^s tr it of 



f^lTo* life to Ivi . ,k*et8. th«f^ ?»• 

ct of 1th*-: «.i<?v^lopii«ot of X ,43 worn 

■and f/i<ted. \*5v «*r« «c?^t*?<f<--^ by the fM^ta- 

:'ii' :■* ^' 

.-■ ') 

8«n«itivlt to diseerR i--5»*^' latent ■ 

blaneea in tbint,3«*^' 

Cicero inst!*t©f! thg.ti' 9X% «dtiou,l<S h% «ubtl© . , - 

arming; it raiv ,:..*-', ajj-^a ua». -^^-3|i ooveiait ae 

d»lectet « 1r tnia a® in the g^nerAl tenor of his literary 
vi«ws he luttS th%? fir«!t; i!«i?ort.nnt rhotfjrtcian t"? restate the 

The age of CiCf&ro i>?itnv?»sei6 sn irB?>iiLL3« an«f revival 
of ,, -1;.'4^«4-«;^l tr'a/llMar; Ir? £. . , it wa?5 ix litirrar,, 
artistic ^e&ivi: :le.Vi p«ijrisii4;i«a ii* .uaay ways tn^it oC 

ar«€C® befor« her politieid dec:- . The succeadiai; age 
co?»tln«ed to n-^'^ish und«r Hellenic infi.u«ftc«, .u-^ 
Aur.ufitan ^^e saw th« splencJid artistic laoausbents ai' 
Vir'»J,I, H-^r^ce =^n<» fJVi?^, wltf'" ■ i source 


("r -of art asad r*»^try nr- - of Binf,ini»« 

the pTfjaa csiatd?!?; oi' ^^ • --i-^ v.ij.oroi«s as:<»us, w,ia j-jy- 

otta sirii^lni;; of mitional ororre^a «»d glorious Hcco?<:i>lish-» 
CMtnte. •<^''--' ^^'"^ bt-'fi-r. ■:? :.'-r'-sr« f-irs and eoT'^fiicts 

had eo&s«d aa^ Ut^i ««»ti..>ii*l av„^rt s^^u: ;. ^ ^.-^presaioft mi lit* 
•ratar* and art. Virgil imit3te«5 Hosier, and in t?:*'neral 
ci--> .-..*.->..-.*. '.'--•■'==''" '-"••"^*^ "t-vived» Cicero --^f^^- t;^...n 

any oth^r p^rsoaality forcefully tiirisct-feu t^ie 

swift coar»© of th© persistent tide of classical culture. 



In the history of rhetoric Horace stands us 
another strong link between ancient classical culture 
and the acliievementw of the i^iddle Ages. "5.y doctrine 
is contained in his .^atires and £ pi titles , but of great- 
est isnport is his formal treatise, Ars Poetica * The 
title itvseif is significant in pointing a doiiiinant liter- 
ary form. He presented a strong defense of satire as 

a vehicle for reform. The true satirist was a 

correctionist rathwr than a tnreat to Lite coniiaunity. 

"A jest is often more telling than the keenest of 

arguments." ile advocated good natured humor in ex- 
posing, errors and abuses. Satire cieiaanded the language of 
everyday speech, since it dealt v;ith the actions and tnemes 
of everyday life. Like Aristotle, Horace ur>~ed brevity 
of utterance and variety of tone, all within the bounds 
ot decorum. 

It is in the Episties that he advises Lollius i^laximus 

to read Homer, it is this Lollius whoni critics have 

identified with Chaucer's "inyn auctor Lollius". 

The position of Horace in the history of rhetoric 

is sip:nificant both as a popular source for uiedieval 

vfriters, and for the traditional classical doctrine he 

preserves. He calls his treattnent of literary technique 

ars (oetica^ and it in- organized according to a threefold 


f'' , -V' V 



division! i^.: . . ■ ' M^^» **«^ S2M&* '^^' 

Th* op«niag and ending of ni» work are sign if leant 

for thftir c^rf^fisl rem^trks or unity and dftcorusa. B<.; echo«*9 
tne ur , ui. -^aui; co^muon reiail&y is the uit-i-- '■-■ 

atandard of art vchen '. ?s that poets look to daily 

life anf! hfebits for thv-i..- ...,^ > supports the doctrine 

of ins^Jlration aaci uu'ji^fct) 't-ii*. cre-rition or a new readlty by a 
freo play of faacy, of reality and laagination. 

^r^tensfts of l*''^- .:,/-.?•/? -.r, :,-•,• 'irtlst^*' -ower thro'Ugh start* 
llr.- -ntrieitits ar 'oily fxenouricfed. 

Horace echoes the rtiotorleal theorists In a nractl- 
eai definition of the function of poetry 5 he su^^e^jts iAiao 
lt8 wore pwrely aesthetic values. Both aspects of poetry, 
however, serve? soci^-tVs -.^trv civillges -nan, develops 

his soul ann ur;,«-'.' -•• < airec&s aim to wac iui.AJtjLii>ent of 
his hl.^ie^t cspaeities.' Great art 1» ennobling In th« 

Thfc €terriieini' tn^-.i.^':- in ^chaad it, ..;vr;-4C«| to 

be coaismoHsorated la pootry brinm i®Jsortality» In th« final 
analysis, ■'■, it was up t-''* ^'''c ■'^■r- -clde who was 

to %«hi«v jrtallty, who woui.: b<» itur^uitoua, and who 

would fade Into obllwlort. reflects this classical 

thciae '" '■'^'^ Ironie >■■>.■;• v.: .-. -. .^..fe . 

<\ ear^ful knovled -e of craft i- n6«fied t© project 
in a 3ublliei« wa»y the truth of inopir^^tlon «nd Issa^^inativi? 


power, H&tace «ais aware of ti^fc coist«sraporary deficiencies 

of mr% whic ?i« 9iair?i cent«^re.4 around ;iph.Hsl«» 

Oii ...^.r- ■'1''' •*re©s5St« /77 ■*■*:•■ . 1 {■«,-.i-.;^ '«ed, ^ins! Iti-r^ e.-^-'- 

iKa;^hasis o« p?0¥;tic vision or innptrmtiou* His re'rerfences 
ar» to i^®r classics*! ■*<>h«1s rather than the *'lf'-' Un 

school* The Cv. :"c.i': as.! ii-ss^'Jv>ai Oi . jUKiriuu -iC "t'^ 

aad their methods ©f narration played n«svac with ic 

unity, an-S Hov ... ;;» re-sfitabiish its fur; , .i 

ssit^>'» " ■■' ■ " ..'•.j.a=:.^ss lor ©itj/'aiicc io« to artii'icial- 
ity, int^rent in det^i . c&nsors i'or which was 

t*^ »"'»-•- *"|g *'^'?'' '^'?''il« A^*^^- '^n-^vuacesi the 

saariiie;. licity ais'i unity *tf.r TTi*fi;-..x8JC« ^od iraridty 

of d«t«il. 

Iit©ratMr€' i» Che re«is . correct rasis % ^ . ,^ 
recte aagere egt et princjg-- - ic 

Ifiaigtj" ■* ■ ■ . "niversal trutli producf'* ij wx^^^iow vv;. ig;^ ia 
tH«f source ef all ^ art. 

.• t too, vJis&ucer ■mi9h± --;?<: f ou?; - l«jr«e'^i£te 
support ior uis usfc o) . ^i^svou alccioii ^& uu -uc in j><>r.t.e*s 
u@«'of the vulgar toasgue. tei<l» cc- 

Horaces ri'-gar-'i * -i*^ -.^•■t-- n1f.1m.-it.ip f,rAt.t-.TA nn r.i' -1. tr<- - 

diction* ih: ,f,<0 ai' j^r^^try sfeoaia ii«>t o« i»«.. 

to eonv«»atioin <!sr*. iR al 

changing aik. v,... authority w.^ 

:. wi;)lehi coa:j'. ''Ary usa^.t .. k«e OMunsi-'v©-^, ii&vi^aet. 


t- -' ->- -v-...^^ ^^. . ifcfeic^^ Azic- art 

k^f cnX/ a !.■*;'■» iiffcifti^a rite* ^^cmpttiy^'ly «»Ui*v* vi««ir C'i*.'- 
In^: "old tiF5injt;8 i. .. •■ , It ist fejj* .r»®«ii. oi" vision ^ccurfet«« 


spit* ©f t.H** iiij,)r-»»)?jth «fic Autti^rlty <3"i* ^M «?»«»»♦« «t- 

iheir «wn : . l« reci .c«a It© 


%h% p= — :- ■ ■ '"reshnesf which sav^xn^ -is'-' -.-^^ "-■ --mit 
give to woriis and projects >r diction which 

/J T^Ti. fulir {.US of Halioflim.- 

an<i wnicn ^ xsjues wti«tuc<jr Arid t.'-e 

poet frofc'i all other writers. 

v^y onl Arfeife&3 ris^ perceptive!/ c^.. ir «<m« 

temporariej^ in achifev«"?a«nt. Thf) suj>erior art-i^t is, afeove 
all, orii,*.iuai, "■■•«* '-f ......^4«fr ,.. 1., a,v*j..i 

ing 'old things cew"» it; is tn« r of viaion accurate- 

ly »»fsta.irt«d by t*?ehnieal r^owftf. The ^r;^ pQCtl.ea txi latr>r 
ti:^nfc5 w:;- ' ^" '" : i.*in5» Sviirc^ oi si--»siGai ttoctrine on 
litersry ?&,*fcter; . m^9 In ao3»mon usai::^ during the hiddle 

Ae-es, tbourh it rcaah^d ita seriith of Influcntlrl ^^ytrtwT 
during Gais =.€ii«aS5ai"iC€. 

Llk-r v.-to-Kfo )i{)r-— '■■- '' ■- 'iSt^blish correct 

•tc in oratory and prose stylo*^ I« 

8i»ite of thfj 3t;ron,«^th afs4 auth?>ritT ttf Cicero's pronounce- 
ment, uae ola caftt.r(r/vei?y oi wsi-trixsia ver 
still r^iiye; it is alive today* Wh«da inspiration, <tnd 

yifci.] t»-* 6ttpe.i"i"it:i«*i intwr«66l iu i'<ar 0£Xt4«,.ii*i-ii, raj- 

their own »fak«. .krt is r» to a disolay of ingenuity and 


Oratory still fonaed the basis of education, bui a 
new typo of speaking was in vogue. Declamation had at 
first been a sort of practical exercise, but now it be- 
came an exliibition of personal ability, skill in memory, 
delivery, personal persuasive power. 

Dionysiua hoped to re-established classical standards 
and methods .-^ He illustrated the tendency of rhetoric 
to concern itself with laatters of prose style. His models 

were taken solely froin early Greek writers.-^ Imitation 

for him consisted primarily in the copying of models •'^•^ 

In spite of being an Atticist he put great emphasis 

IHI skill and advocated constant and careful reading and 

practice. Though he abominated excesses and ornamentation, 

still he laid great stress upon training. However much 

he required restraint, the very titles of his v/orks 

illustrate the trend toward skillful use of techniques. -^^ 

He did not consider this theory for oratory only; 

The three things most helpful for political 
oratory and for all arts and sciences are a 
gifted nature, accurate study and laborious 
practice. >5^ 

He excused himself from dealing with larger theoretical 
matters by saying that matters of style were more congen- 
ial to young pupils than the leng-thy tracts on subject 
which had dominated the schools. 

His theoretical remarks were concerned in the main 


7' .w;. 

Ji, '■'• '; 

,' i/V 


■■*•.;■ ' 


;-<^ ^^-- > :\..-<^\ . 


with the arrangement of words; this is not a matter 
mechanical, tut individual and personal,-' Here, of course, 
he echoed the earlier precepts of Plato .md Cicero that 
style was a reflection of the artist's character. His 
doctrine of three tj^jes of diction, the elevated, the plain 
and the a/xed, continued the Theophra«tati distinctions. 
Though he advocated ourity of language, and conciseness 
of expression, vividness, grace, loftiness and so forth, 

it was propriety which he up he. Id as the fundamental 

literary virtue. 

It is not sufficient to \vxite grammatically and 

logically. Style must be heightened by the artistic 

arrangement of words. Once the possibilities of rhythms 

and meter had been explored, the poetic treatises borrowed 

and developed the rhetorical emphasis on arrangement,'' 

The superior poet, according to Dionysius, is the one who 

achieves the greater skill in the arrangement of words, " 

His detailed discussion of euphony, rhythm and. variety 

offers much to interest ?K>ets as well as -vvriters of prose. 

Sentence movement, then, is luor® important than 

40 T 
diction. It is this which gives power because it has 

its own special charm. Sentence inovement is the fund- 
amental source of the beauty of style. Even force 
issues from sentence order, froav the moveiaent ^ result- 
ing from particular combinations of words rather than 
frora the word in isolafcion. He concluded that both choice 
of words and composition combine 


pri;.iiiriJljr' in Wife wriu«ir*a ii.*i;i«u«u, i'«*ici*y'; ■ ; 

-:: Uit: , .ato the way* of nature. This insi^;ht 

is trais0lat«>'^ '<'t,A Xaja^uag* by u m'^-t,. .^r !•«,.«, 

terTiis of lii;j«^, sound, color, im%i<.' » . :-iion 

beightens tbe expressioa and a4dft swbtlf^ f!u-?snc«?« <>f aattao- 

iar '"■■.• ,.'•/' «4iyt}ie and c*4*ir4.v«» . ,..-v,.ty.-. ..-.acii 


tltfi« on Ut^ asit^tser of rhythm statti. tj it Is ©rg^mlc 

.,:.' le thff key t-r> th© artist's origiric-Jil vlf?ion. Hf- w^.o 

id. y«X.tiB' '^'■^'h his ualqu*.'^ vi^iioa by Jirriaii;^- 
e constituent e s of atyl* so a» to picture 

illustr ites the natural affinity which exists bett^e^n 
rJi^toric ' » ' ily similar 

b'-if-it? /m ri^tt^tlft"* :- . ^ i« ai«Cu«sion8 

of 0tyl© lnsi«?t!? on mxiiimnlf^^ %!?hl<!h i3©®l «ith 

Illustrate the t«rm "llf©'- itself. He aever fort,ete th v,t 

life Is action, t^!U"^ th'* natural, the 3r>t, 

Qjcm&t car© i0 iiiig v^'itt- 

eiple of decciru'2 uoon which <J. J. other pffocts. In 

t'-.isy tjlozij^ £iiu& ' en.i c;JLasaiu4.x livx^Um, ■■•■ 

criticise! ast well as In literary thfttsry he is conc^raeiS 


subject matter. Unity of matter and logic of expression 
are not discussed. 

His doctrine is throughout subject to his theory 
of imitation,, and his emphasis of the classical models 
illustrates his theory, which is highly derivative. Though 
obvious debt to Aristotle ^ Theophrastus and Isocrates^^ 
Is reflected in his works, he reveals none of their 
philosophic view which urged remarks on the theory of 
art generally, 

Dionysius undoubtedly gives the most extensive and 
detailed treatment of the nature and artistic possibilities 
of words and the grace, beauty and power of movement which 
can be achieved by arrangement and setting, as well as 
the subtle powers of melody and rhythm. 

The ultimate criterion of literary value is "good 
taste". His emphasis on technique is reflected also 
in his critical judgraent which consists primarily in a 
mechanical application of forriiulae. Though he seems to 
depart from the somewhat pedantic treatises of contempor- 
ary rhetoricians by limiting himself to one aspect of 
style and to a systematic critical analysis of only the 
^ttic v<riterRj actually he differs from them only in 
his str/ct doctrine of imitation. His classicism takes 
the fomt of a system of rules for judging the merit of 
writers. Like Horace, he deals with purely fomal 
matters, the technical aspects of good vrriting. 


Thft fii-st century A,D. nline In 


the hiph ychi»'-vf."it;*nts of luruj^t.^n art, ,, it, v.- ^ 

.had j?€- . i &s) fctoe actional spirit »oltef»e<i, and s-ucc'. 
^ i " ,-,n" -. This liiBals whi <?h firet-? 

.rta ^i^ i«sp.i*-*fca tvi^ir ti'Iorts T^^er* lost sa-l^ uh# 
sifting, of philot3<)phies and r«lif,ton3, ?jlLs« idsas, suney- 

ifif for^K which oiTftndsd decomm and ti;'- ■ , £ih€toric was 
substiiiut- lr-itif?»n. txcers ' ^"'^ no bound. 

iiUUH^i* m-f^wjl'^ jQiHitsu, aie ui. .t'.^:ii..3i;i 4;av-i^;<*tl0Ill 

«»3 it did th» Orefek, realistic political and judicial 

s«^,1®«t*! ■■••'ott^n ■:».«? the Suasoriao an-.? th« Scyatroveraiae 

beemi& Q;ix.iLLOLu^z oi i^spi ':' an^^ .4.&J.C situations* 

Thtfdws were ch it ae-amesa to realityt ^^ 

for th.'-lr ri^;i ^ sPlnA-jtiT.-* t-'ir>lll, n^turnTly, atyl® 

aou!).:.<«t a ^;iXttiiX' aj;t.-. ;. fsruktioi-* v«.«Uc^i wouiu »£Tt&s%, and 

st^rtlfe, disnlayinr .ad-v^nta. f the veraatility of the 

declai'n«r* ^'-•■^ '=^=*-"*'Ct, 

by g:ross exc«i«3 in aiction ano rri«torie«ii «ie*ices» Uor 
wwre declarant Ions eonfiinacjl only t sHibllc re- 

citations bt'C^ -t •■.■■' *ocue, «ua4 audifetv- - 

inter«:3t«o in lofty Mtd profound ideas aa in th« char>n and 


aubticty of words anri flnwes. 

The aiO' ''e4ij..in4i C3-ai^en"&j.ri^ aa uu . f 

affected and <;■:■ -cyl* in literstAU'e is found in 

.- r 

of tJife perlo<i, for he deals with raor* tn«n a huncired 

rhetors and their style. 'Of intcrst^t are hir k*? on 

Areiiius Fuseua, wno was tiic ini^trucvor qx uvia, t.*** writ- 
er Ch«iuc»r kR' o :. earn that he bfcionged to th« 

•.sifttif^ «?»hr»Al aifi4 t^hat his »tylv or«tete and florid, 

ieii^Ca's ^HL, ^ .'oversiae ^r« an encyclopedia 

not OJBly of oratora but of the 3Ubjeet» used by the cl«el«m- 


atory artists, IViCs*^ .vorka --p—- often t^i.^ .^ource for 

aany later literary eiTorts," 

the folder cvlled and Oicere the 

greatest vosbisu writers. '.f uwfe,«utiJE-; ..-. :■•-: f'^ 

)»fiic(k e^terged ad a reault oi' the declaiio^rs ^Uid c&tisic 
it taadn©S5< to distort '..^lain >>rltij5r by ur^n,'* 

.j.'it.n artistic a«svices> ire a©c*a, iti auouAu o^ v.i&i'; Cii^fe 
greatest care and subtlety. Taey viii ctive only 

urgftu « fituiiy iy* ti-^ 't v.Titfert» 4»r Uife pi»»t» 

work, of Seneca der is an iadictcsent of 

the corruption, v. ^«w. ,v^. % ifollowln^: t* . ugustaji 

periC' i. Persiua re&o ik ai<uil.. ■ ..t of poetry In 

.ni? _^ ^ The saf-r?** ings ■yp-- f>'"et«'nt lous h?5hlt.s 

tut abvAses ■■'ffcct&6io«» oi" far-.: uiireal slii*- 

jfect*?, bojabastic .iUid florid styl«a. ■ue literary abuf^es 


whieh he also vr&ats ic d<jt;aii. 

It was not until the latter half of th«* flr«t 
c«iitufv, i particularly (liter 'tlM death o;. ..^i ■,> m.x-fj i.K>>.*u- 
Icail audi ^oelal eonfusian wrougjht liavoc with «fdue«tion, 

that rp'St.ored pf'se* f^xi^ lyc^'^x" again v .rtunitiea 

iCJjT xear«in4i» iue 5t.4S.u<i vfiiicil had ab«i:ao5itici eauci; ■ - 
again enthusia«*tlcally au?^ported .it,. Tfee first »t".te* 

saiSTj.M; ', , ^-^ ^ ..,:i?! «if tb« 

sciiooi was; ...uliitiilai: . iutiaer «««.« «t te*»ciKT of rii.#t- 

oric* l^is influence was £treat and lastlu^} be was with* 

-Ut witfA tb^ taixfiy problenjs whidi a. - uit»a rroia 

the d«cltn« «f lit ttioc: a decline 

had becoiae so intoxiciitfea with tfts po6sibiliti«8 aade 

avai> «fcl«* by t-Hr c^y^fullr wrtmp'ht WJ^tetsji fjf f^ietorl*!?, 

of art pl^%' its <c;iraep, that it was bilndftd to 

.;■< -rolielty of tl. 'td artl«tic restraint were lost its 

<"'•"-- «wift bri 111^ '■?**'•' ''^^ -*'' •U.T.y-.f!; ;4ffi r'wldlp "/-n..-:^^, 

Jtatius, Martial m^<k tiiasty oU>«re. '■'•' .. a^ritjs ei' rw^-i^itic 
-:4nd hi^ly I't- -v1v« nic. ^.-ere fl. before «n 


J . 

^^/f*. '> , 


changing scope of rhetorical colors. 


Since such writers were much used by later artists, 
it might be profitable to analyse the mode of one of 


them, Ovid exhibited an uncorrimon love^&nd preoccupation 


with style. In poetic concept and lasting structural 

superiority he cannot be placed vvith Virgil or Dante, 
but he had that which caught the eye and the imagination, 

because it was picturesque, however superficial. His 

great power was essentially stylistic. 

Grid's stylp in fiinHamentally rhetorical. It 
is not difficult to see why he became a popular source 
for ir.edieval writers. Besides providing them with unlim- 
ited m«G..i.*ial, he demonstrated how to use it effectively. 

The influence of Ovid on the Middle Ages is 
common knowledge,-^ Many scholars have assumed that 
the basic 



reason. vfnB that h« proved to t- a.^'ne of rich nmd 

easily .=.*.;; .jtv J. V ..>.■■ ■- , ■~^-'- ^-h'-"^ -^f e:>;.< r-..^ •- ':^- * «^» 
ever, i% fs^ : nific^at is iae ifesaon ae 

ta«i!':*">t,j how to fla«h fi r^oid ^enuence of brightly illussici» 

to release th« ir -Ion smd ffeeiini; which itact been rather 

rigidly r^strairse'S by --^ seaiou*^' church, ^^hiciii vith kind 
atrictness e,.-. ■-^i.-ii ^.~a tft© liiSiiv^RiiiCufice ana wcaitaifess of 
;3fiin, urging him to guxrci the divioitiy within hi« fron aa 

ae.s.:5iult-. rm %>.€' «?-r.naR, Hvid s' .O'^T-d t^..- . j^j it was 


a raciie, derxeual, ^dju^ri sa^f^rliaicU. w«k>, ^ r^«i\^oria«iI v^ity* 

He elevated th« conamoa and b^sic huia«in er'iotions to tirte 
doubtful aiBdnctitv Ar»a»©ua. Before, however, the 

doubt had foraedf r-s there was time for jut?cvm€at, he 

n.aehwd an-"»th'- - hi? avjdieisce. Th»y saw 

, or realise t id seen, iney found a certain 

nobility f'iven to carelfss esa^e ?.«'' smimxom <^.ell;;it. tlae 

formxila was roigic; iua« i.v- atmi^j^u, t»-i.&a liuiiuiik A05i,;jj.iifci 
well ae divine. 

In an a.:^e vrhcn « stric -odo direct*?*^ to- 

ward skuateritiy Muk a^sil'-dai.linx, liftii ur ■ ..•i-e.i.ii.iiAy 

1 ^ of hi» Ian '.eeape er $d isiore than 

5(6 /.*-«■. V .-?*!.'i ? . hf ■ irr- Inrr- Wi; rful« .'-''irir.-.sts^d 

a ^ay, -^itiu wi'to way ».'a3 aXl&a^^>'* Utia^i:' &a^ ijajf- i^ui:^^^ ox' 
syr.ihoX one coiiU «ork freely and with ir^nptuilty* ^e tst- 


port;aat ■^■"^r'V/' ■ *<-> '■^.v -^i. vs-herj .■ins=>t-r.T*-» w -^ df^f-i^'Xv 

li i{i«r th« giaard ©f reilgioue jral intention, and 

when thi3 H iiLa]l3i«t|£ ^9Ui»«r£'ieial rh«^orical beauty w<*w « 
»eaas to sincer® projection of fundsu&^ntal human isftuea* 

■•?ffliim,„^f ,A,f^ ,m^» i^' sf-e-s, \p r.r#tent-im?,s In this 

subtle builaln^" of & cod«t und^if vsitiich tn® huttan a«art 
could --strav &i:; will. Its ls'«fs or ■. „•«» its sanctions. 

ralJaCAoas an;^ sup®ri'l£;i.;^A i"ui.i&s ?,riey were, no ^ii.^x.x.i^c • One 
did not QUi'Stion the ruX«^$| an« a^sum^d tb«y w&re sound 

In rtif f rn-.^ n^ i- - ,j: r*-! i.- '-.v: i^iisi i** t'.h«*> ■t^'ftri^ r^'^il&aa I't. t.ook one 

zn% of rul«» '40 ieii¥<ii.iii<»t« ano<»u&r* iw w«t« f«n «ig4s w*i«^n 
rhetoric, r>octic, fv^n aoruls v^re r% to a ©yateai of 

rules. ::ii..v.v. codlfi'-'i '■■-- ^--cept«b.l«*« Greater 

autrienticity tvae &e>ii<&ved as ritfcUti was ad- « Did not 

ptiraC^' ' .'iilrUVJ HtMftHi? '.jv -if-'i-' lAi* ■:. JiUV- At*.:/ s<^;!.jr ..4£<J 

unconsciously gather tho3« ideas, soci«kl hiibits and re» 
iirloup rItuU v.hlrh ^-ili tend to*fard it? fruit lofu It 

will ■'ruJ.l;;;:.aiiAS ■ ii.ii 'vstiiy ■&'■, : -i;.u^ii4, -iiid 

not kfxow It is doine so, fe-' ■."t«rr ta& ratioii&iisBation 
\i.,^ iftAsiRrt l^ir-e fii-i the hcrl 7ori ,i or cult vhich 

coul'-: L ^j,«iln UikW i3«iiCtioa a^' & .oofiU. co4ii» jt'^iXv^ 

dullc :. •■■.feAt and %:\<( easy pXeniSure of the se: . r«iil 

or VlCS!irlOi''r^ c, ■ />•">•;,.«>' ('•j.-i,'.t'.aT'!'I«3 •■^.m^i;*! niitl'^' fJiW' 


toy th- — thority qi art. 

Dftun the rfeaetlon to this perversion of art 
t©0 strletilv a.nd obviaTaf:l-<- ainrali «it,!f* -r.d ^^^••■i«'Bqvli^tXy had 
iittl« real t^e^rsuaaive r>ov^&r. Qjcie^ vhfc- wia* h*-.- - 
tasted th« glass wotild be drciln«d «nd vet aaother t>©ur«d. 

/5 :iiaac*r«s way; h« persuaded on human grounds. Mb 
geaiua is s««n i» tM^ elArity of. vti»slon ^Jid. hi? abilltr 
t« project It %=it,h .:- .,^.;>t4e precxyivMi .liiiu cerc^aiaty. -.lis 
developaent of isaterial is utterly disarai '« drauaatlaes 

life as It Is. throurh character-, sho^xin?- r.otlv?:.^ aji^l 
intftntiofts us «i&4i. ■•*= £fxi,.eriC.i^s oi circuiiisfciiaeia. 

Judpaent. i« isad« Inevitable, clear, final. Though the 
Xrotlus Is ii x^^p-at; ?torv, ^haricPir ral^^.l .^.t*;* w-Tfn cerw^ii.- 
ty the judr.'^-enr, qi nis >iv..,iiea<i« »t«0p<id iu '^^M-iauian 
morals. Hov, could th«y •'see* it ©th^ri^lae? Thujs Chaucer 
felt m r*«^^rt t.n rr- . ,. ,, ,h«*»£;i. i^^^.- ■ , 

'fe.Alned no c,u«stion .as t.-:> the rlg^iiiness or wrout.ness of 
Crl»eyrj«»» actl-fis. '::i queer's ger.lus ter^Uf-ht r^ither an 
urKferstsr'^'"- syttsw^*'-- >^-v , .«,; ., ,v -Iq^,, juu^ient, out 
enhanced it with charity. 

Similarly, «*>*?»re»9 Falst&ff is r^ortrsvsd. The 

audience lov^d thi^s ■.j^c'sxim^ing i.^uaai.e oi !£.^^&: 
chars Inr per sonif ion of vice, but Assutr^ti 
his f:: Ir.sal. In the final, shovdovn, wher* he 

„ ,,.,•. *„.. 4 

:.. a, 


■ ' "':\<: 

i* ,. , 1- ■; ,, i I 1 


brott:*ht i'^ clos® T^roxirsilty f^ nntelUtT swf tru® honor 

In tnc person si th« aew young Kiij.g» t^icy c->uiu not, cut 
1u;]ge clearly • Htey loved him still « but they I^v«d 

< iCCT plcturea life ss it was 

1 Is wltia lt« aabtle silxtur* of light ^.M shad«, coo- 
siderl-^ ■''■'"• -isy^ologic^l «~'VRpllcutlOi-i8 of huay**'^ r.:fMr» 
as well asft tht f^yaical find (spiritual. A vlelcn tto<*t is 
clear can r*'9rtr«y th« «^ha<l<»t^s with accuracy, this clarity 
of visiot, *,.'. u»ir- .T>'i.i. ut; v.. a great anderstandinr '>'^ -umcin 
nature and consequently aerelops preat cor.pasdiori* rfp is 
hintsclf -."l.thin hi? vi^lcr! «« r.'hff m^<*lenc€ vi<»w- thf'»n!^elveg 

audience, for the ne&r«r to s<»lf the f«ore vital, iisjaedilsyte 
ars.i T-sntlr." the> imnnct of an urti«t*9 work. Thin habit of 
vislOiT iG fuaca-at^ntix to ui-auc<ir*8 r^rrax;ive ^^fcccnique. 

lAy point i» that a writer like Ovid wa® a great 
temptation. •'' is nam«d hy Isidore of Seville la Dg 

a£ as ?;he pagan «utbor *dio 18 laost to b& avoided, 
t Ovid stiudied in the sciiools of decla^at^lo . 
Thoujf.h Ouirkt„lllan reeo«a««nds tfiat" »uch • ■^■■■•^".■;-'.--^ w -. an 
excellent means, v#e kco:. th&t it often k/ecmmns «Ui end in 
ltft#lf icvftlor^'in ^ -^ --i*5?lr«j to sxhibit virtuosity. 
can aaay 'jm: liic". v^r'tuosity o* vtU. ■. r.- . •u.iviuor 

of greet skill, rnetorlcal skill. He was ohs »aort~ 
story writer of his dayj ho was »ei4offl read compJdf^^, «v«n 
in a aiftKl' .;-.'■■'.. 

■ :.J I- 


Ovid's contemporaries enjoyed his flashy brilliance. 
Medieval writers also found him a storehouse of rich 
wares; they read with an eye to his usefulness, and 
for a certain immediate pleasure, not for lasting beauty 
and aesthetic achievement. His beauty is episodic, 
startling. He does not create 5 he shapes and colors. 
This is what happened generally during the Middle Ages 
as is shown by the organization of the poetic prescrip- 
tions and evidenced from the emphasis given to style 
and amjjlificatiQ . 

«r'e see the natural happening. 
Pragmatic demands of society pervert the sensitivity and 
wisdom of the pseudo-poet, using v^hat will serve its 
needs. Lasting beauty is swept aside by a scientific 
brightness. The poetic genius is he >^o sr^Tings forth, 
a product of such a society and yet strong enough, force- 
ful enough, wise enough 3 skillful enough tc influence that 
society by projecting anew, and in its oym tersjs, the 
real beauty -sdiich Flato says is desired by all. This 
pattern repeats itself and in repetition becoaes immensely 
complicated. The sophistry of classical times, the rhet- 
orical superficiality of the Middle Ages, the epigram- 
matic iSth century, the psychological jargon of new 
criticism ail exhibit a deviation from poetic vision or 
intellectual awareness, and place undue emphasis on technique, 
symbol, rhetoric. The Middle 4ge8j somewhat wesiry of 
lessons, as was the ISth century weary of 17th century 

Jl* ■' 

.^( ,■'• 

.' ■':;',, .'• .''>'' 

religiosity, and as the uoderns are tired of roraanticisra 
and Victorian sentiment » relaxed in gay flights of fancy, 
in the imaginative v'orld of allegory, free from the uneasy 
pressure of the didactic catalogues o" the seven deadly 
sins. Ovid provoked no thought; he was understood without 
effort; he required no judgment. Like the moderns he made 
a science of beauty. The sophists did likewise, and all 
writers have whose emphasis was strictly rhetorical. 

It is the habit of great artists to discover beauty 
and imaginatively project its realiijy and significance 
in realistic terms. The lack of r»oetic vision survives 
by manufacturing beauty. Rhetoric is a way to pave many 
roads. Each age of deviation seems to find a way to stray 
with impunity. The Middle Ages used allegory, and the 
code of co'ortly love, the iSth century, brilliant satire, 
the moderns, psychological time, comforting religious vagar- 
ies, verbal obscurity. Each has capitalized on the basic 
consistency of lift — snovement, Ovid told a tele well. 
He was direct, colorful, fluent. His movement was achieved 
through rhetoric, .aiegory also succeeded by an effective 
use of rhetoric. The facility of the eoigram and the 
dynamic concept of psychological time and emotionalized 
thought are sirailarly vitalized by rhetorical means, 

Ovid is, then a brilliant first example of rhetorical 
skill. He demonstrated a way vrhich was to influence 
literature for centuries. 

;.y;- 'IV 

V 1 ^ '•■ ','' 


4 w«pr*» ^ob«Fr )?f?prOi^eh w«» taken by Gwintllis!!, 
His :-oi5.a iui?.' i'v was aireci;* c^eneca ,.dic':-ed 

rfi«torJc on moral gro\m<i'. tllian saw 1. -at value 

as «5,n in. ?i* rumfprtt of erfwcfition ,-md r.sctl It, r^f? .-i tv.-. rd 

Th€ last half of tfea flr»t century saw, th«n, the 

train Jin.K' oi' t^u© or«ttoz--st«ti*8mi*« in \,he <}.re§k seas*? oi" th« 
word. The rebirth of eultur* la literature i«! rfrflreted by 

€«ieyciop«dic j^j; ia of '.uintillan *^o was 


^esvtlv 1r,fiiienc*d by Blonyslus. Anothis-r sirnif leant 

doGi^«t:u\, ic5 tin:-; ^/^;iJi,i?^;ji^;: ^ <jn _ vrat'9')rg' a tUau^xiU sj> -'Kit 
critic8 to haim be»n written fey faaltu»» It anAlatalus that 
literature should be ''udrcd ®p sr <jxnreasion of natlo^-ial 

life, not ni^r^iy as a autter o' ■ "^ 9s,^''.-^..^.../i,ioriril .«©&ns. 
Its tii&in value nes /v> v^i -1.'.*; .--^-"t of cont*«J?orary culture 

coTinarftd, Tiie virtufe^ of &.iie cincient oroitoro ooi»tir«»l&ed 

with the toiy ■ -eeae. decadrtnoe of .-rv ia 

clln* ■( fro^-i i\v.ult>y educ?*tlofi Ik tht: .rtlci^-iitlee 

of «*«e'?AKii..;-»tion, or vhetht-r a.n «n«t-fflfel© 5avp-rnm»»nt, .-ion- 

for decline v^i cuizuiu, -tae iacc remains that rhet» 

oric r«lfned supreaie* ' It directed the point of view. 

■ulntlllan w-t.?? s ftrpat lifht in th«5 >n'».t.''ir»»' ,-»?' 
rhet'ji'ic ajia poetic* jiia expferi«%nc€ as a te-:*ch.."r ©f 
rfe«^torlc and as a public rhetor j;ar« hia a philosophic 
view of Iunrtir:frg^ m,. ^« life ^as s-^emt in th« ser- 
vice or rai«taric. Mis work 1 -aized under three 
a?ain h^?adini::8: it-J£ia» ^a artifice , and 4® opere . It 
fillfrf t.-... ^..,n^-or<.^o^.v.,.. ..^.c:A f^^. . guide which would 

maktj elsctr the auti-tority ox th« past. His earlier 
work, now lost, reveals hl«^ .9v-ren^»R« of ch^otle 
coQte'aporai- , fttsstrou;:: -kc c;j:iaemr!xnj^ t.iie 

stylistic artificiiilities and eicces'5«s of the tiai© are 
found in his w?;r<:^, 

Thougu AiU'iuenced .'r^iiiuy &y Cicero, he does 
not r«6t his doctrin® on aaci«nt authority but on nature, 

rathef Uiar» rlft,id ^Uiiu i-pfeeiiic ralea. mH art, h« 
states, has itr rjuthority in nature. 

T?1.A uvw...;rf., r^^-. ...i^.r ^v, »,t"T- inter.;.!, v:^ .i^s^t;. 
Styl* should uit ©jasfcd on th :ch of everyviay life, 

.»gr.t.Q . V)..a;T.aris, for tH# ;. of 2>rdini={ry life contains 

words best des^^i'. «T!..- vm «v.^*_.v:;-. i. nutK-^i,^ w-sj-x^j* "" juch 
language covill te ed to artistic power by th« prop«r 

use of ti bXf^ <fev1.8e» of stylf , choice of words, 

of fifTurea, „*-. "-.i. ,.■•■: i-ivv- .f.rran.-'.e -.uir.ii. 


lnt«'-:rf»r-tlr^' , also, rtr»e his ni' thfr drvic© 

Kihr Iftveloped int© u clirRAX. I'ai tce i^:,re«.sf 5,nto 

a fviit«ia«i«^"t-*l •t'l.nclple which««te .^-.i '.r^ bedy 

of rhetoriciii utstvices* Indeed, up-on tuia «iii«si.«! conctpt 
rests the general or|:ani?satioir) of nwdl^val ?>oetic« 

and f1 , Ko mskt^s a cIOMr <iistinction between them. 

H«« ^ivir^es fl^;ur«» Into figures nf ^r»©ech and fi^ureis 
Oi i:inQu,nt« fctJiXii >«?•; ixi;U or; ..ii--atiQii v«:iica iniXUt-nced 

th« poetic of th** middle iif',es. 

'■'Iffit.'ir'hcr 1:5 c,-:^lled the E'j.niceisa© arnajaciiit of ptx.^le,'^ 
31nc« flgur«&^ ^ijr4» not tixini w<«ys or exDi'esi»iaa, ■^u^.-itiil.'m 
vratnns against" a t«o m«ehaRics; and sreservatlon of 

.-!«>*? /-f?- ttfl'^' .. ft .->!»»#!>■; -4« f? ..€»rit of wordEj 

he rfe«»<iily ».o«inowieu^'fc« oi» aebt to .-^ridi&otlfc, Cicero, 
Horace, Diony»lw*i fm4 '♦t^n^-lims'** 

In i /.. j-..'- .t»,t-Ji«Aj >-*.. „^cis"^ ^-^'^ Illu3tr«ite8 

the tendency ". ly the doctrine of style to poetry as 

well ms to pros* vrttlnf;, His critical Jud^'^aeRtSs there- 
fore, C0i*ci ■ ^L-trMtiAi-' wiioiij, vi ■», lus .-^s-yu uji.Oi^— 

leal as well as ItR rH»tionai HSi>eet£* 

'oiintlllfiun conntitntPA on« of th« main avanues 
of clsiisaicai uoc'crxnt in cue i^.laaxa Agta. niii coicoxc^e 
work draws frora Ariatotl irastus, aiorr 

Capri"! 1u«Se '^ft^-^apo. Clc»ro» "LoRglnu^*' , fif^nftv.! ^nr? -^tJ.;.,-**^ 
an"- cO'Cilea an eneyelopedia of Ore^a. ■i*nd fioaittif* vactrinfe. 

Hi* vlftw was wide J his treatment, c hensive. 

»iut,. . J tsxt --■ "" "^^utio Y - v^ll&blfc to ifiedleval 


wi'ltera, and in i*i.i6 <* cofflpI«te co;>y was diacovered. 

His Influence vras felt t lOUt Europe aad Hnglauad* 

Tacitus » like wuintiliaii, w&a concerned with 
jTvi'jirr t.h?* cl-.«i^;ic:il tradition ^J' Cir^^r'^ '.;lr.h frill 
.. .- >.'.., <^. t^'ic^t* a.octriyi£ss ar*^ ^^iet^oCa i&u&w '^^kS.-y <t,xXi,h the 
ti3J«3 a»ci adluat to th# needs of every age, to the in» 
now^ition -,-^ "''■' • • • ^..... :,^. soelal atari-^ ■■'•"' ^■ 

tastGB, Th« eittborttfefe rawtoricfe ires of Ci«feroiiii*ft 

style, th» careful detail, the studied bdlimee and 
eloquence were proper "-' ^^ *^':^ ?Rrly writ- 

T%i,citwft iisitatfei? Cicero with g,r«at abiiitjf, but the 
new are detsanrtet^ dir-ectrs^^s??, :>'*eci?:4f^R» t ■ ss, ^md 

set in hl« ret .ion of taws^ devices v/hich focKiJ5iv:5 

it.t,*- r^-'it. bv v-urir-f^- an ■ c-'lr^r, '^,'arp;**til b.;J jnne -mr* es- 

vivi'itiesrt and fitniisa* 

Tho '.p hi;-! Djrobably ti'i&t u?5?ffletrlus 

(•8«r*w« »m» «»*t t^h» 'f _rif__ , his* 

tTife iate of composition is uncertain* F©r u», hovfevti^ 
Its iffloortanee iir;re in it» doctrinfe asia on literary 

styu ., T, H«r« ia a work on llt«rary theory Wi.^«c 

:nii5«ition aeswigaates typda of stiyl®, an ejoanhaaifi sAiich 
to rcsajfeiii d'Sfaiiiimt throu^out the - ■ r. „,nd 


Artistic «tyle, accortiirig to D^taetriusj is in- 
dlvidui»3 ;>nd ronair^? skill ir \t of , cboica 

ox r.ieTirjrxcaj. aeviC'?-;;^.* .tv i"&;ixe;CLS wife iiitciiectu&x feXia 
emotional habits of th® vi?riter, CJood afcylft v&rifts «rith 
t^-^' forr. r^nd ths Idear: Cixtsresped, fLirr/^tivs- fnr lr;,e{r..3nc«, 

a^tur.iiiy requ xirereM. style tU^r* a,xa..lO}„a*« ■ih<fe 

best writing ia a. coxftblnation of the four styles. Phia 

fi|i iini ti«vio»s wiii atchifcVfe for tit« various kiii4» oi* 


history of art, the pf rticipation oi the audience. Uc% 

■Yt^-jinr shotilil bip- j^taterf; It i» b«»tter tc •«er«ly sur,p®»t 

part of th* nearer or r«. 

'^efsietrius sees?,? aware of th?' c~nt,e?K"5orJrv abuses 
of style i'or r.; e.ii; aasii^cs t.'irouj'raouu •.>.0'^ ■taace ox 

dfteoruit. Th« i$tyle cnuat fit th* thefii&. e is 


the criterion. Cicero and Horace first projected this 
idea that xvorcls and figures best serve an artistic 
purpose when they are rendered iciMediately clear because 
of common usage. 

The author ox On the Sublime reflects, also, the 
need ox tne time to correct the abases which an excessi\^e 
and improper use of rhetoric brought to literature. This 
treatment of the general subject of style reflects the 
direction in which rhetoric v/as developing at that time. 

The title itself is aignificant as is the general 
organization of material. Sublimity might be interpreted 
as artistic. The author, at any rate, has as his purpose 
to show hovj a heigiitened and enchanting style could be 
skillfully achieved. He has in mind artistic distinction 
in its widest sense. This purpose is further clarified 
by aeveloping the five sources of distinctive styles 
(1) intellectual power of conception is the first source 
of sublimity; (2) the power of emotion is the next sour'ce; 
(3) the use of figures which proceed from emotion and 
fires it is the next source j (4) beautiful and noble 
diction is the fourth source; (5) sentence movement is 
the fifth; this rests, of course on three and four. 

What gives wings to an artist and makes him enchant 
his hearers is intellectual vigor made real by sympathy 
and emotional power and transmitted to form by 

v*. ^J 



accurate i&ad •ni^iXil'ul us« of th« «vailabl® artistic dcs- 
vice3» In bis discussioRs of Tig-ur^s «uid dlculoa, coru-* 
r^oslt/lon in • eneral, th« a^ithor is careful to ; IfBar 

ttod «jaotion» T^fe Tifth »ourc« of aubliae styles .HOvt:)i;ieiit, 
urnorts the dynEBiie naturo of auoerior :.;rt« 

province of "poetic" *wH€l lfo» raiatioa to rhetoric • /a*ti»tlc 

®«s art. Lik« Hora.c« he fe«liev«.® that truit sublimity can 

The fir»t source or '^ubiiBiity is vision, 

or lnt.*n.*<!ti«Sil ri<ywf»r| 9rtJ?«tlc •sc''il*'V<?^?eRt refaiits v>ih«ii 

ia btised on th« concept tii«t i^tgirA&tioKX pi&ys ma import^mt 

0art in artistic schirvet^ect ir. »tyl«« Mo«t of the i.liu.«5» 
■(ir-itioris are x,&)(,^u i'roia ta* poets, .'oet-r^- iacutefca iii« 
in its etoat . r^ctivft vision is 

»Ufci';«-5w£> iaovfe/itfe'Tit • ■ t<-;A x'-t^«ii.3.i;y. ' o%tr> x.xiTtoyi^ 

imaginative vision, toe try, aceordins tc .aor of 


On th€ S^^Ui^ttfe, -- ^ 

:5;:> vfi!. 

"iutelissity of atyl« is aiA^i«» a**^ i»tfc#i-s8ive, «ifa ia |,;<*«t;ry 
or in th«i orjitioflK « fc^js,"' >.itoric. <jn tfi*? c 

llAnd, feO.^.^<- Su.- -J it -■'■■' .v„.i.:.if . • 

•:.,-< ),. , ■ . 'V 


This thesis is further emphasized in the discussion 
of dictior. Images are "bodyings-forth". The author 
explains that when moved by enthusiasm and passion, one 
sees the things of v*iich he speaks and puts theni under the 
eyes of his hesrers. He contrasts the meaning of imagery 
for the orator and imagery for the poet. For the poet 
it is suggestion, for the orator, precision. However, 
the important notion is that both use imagery as an appeal 
to emotion, the dynamic whole. Imagination in diction is 
a sympathetic insifjit, an habitual i^-ay of thinking visually. 
This is essentially poetic in nature, but is eriinently 
useful tc the rhetorician, whether in poetry or in oratory, 
the habit of vivid and precise imagery gives life to dry 
facts. jHgain the rhetorical trend is observed by the 
author of On the Sublime in the distinction betvjeen rhet- 
oric and poetic; he is careful to define poetic as imag- 
inative vision. Still, he devotes alinost one third of his 
work to a discussion of figures emphasiaing their power 
to give sublimit 3'' to style. This does not in any way 
contrsdict his assigning intellectual power as the first 
source of distinctive style. Rather, he evriphasiises the 
fundariental iniDortance of the figures oi' rhetoric as the 
np-.-ng by which the vision is projected in artistic fomi. 
He points to a new concept of figures, not as mere mechan- 
ical devices, but as the natural way of giving power to 
language by making it alive, responsible in a sense 

.-.-, . 


■',■*; ■"'■% 

:"., t. i> 

, .if 

»' '' r. , ( 


and responiiive to the er.iotion and imagination of man. 
He refers to the habit of associating fi^-ures with art- 
ifice; this is because they are not properly hc^ndled. 
Artistic effectiveness is achieved when it is unobtrusive. 
On the Sublime is the first treatise to shov/ the natural 
development of figures and their psychological basis in 
detailed form. 

Personality is responsible for ^:reatne9s of liter- 
ature. To is t-y^e rp.sult of the total spirit, made noble 
by superior intellectual po\\'er imaginatively heightened; 
this is made eaotionally nftrauasive by the skillful use 
of those artistic devices which constitute the artistic 
forra. The truth of this notion is forcefully e^^ir^hasiaed 
when we think of the achievements of artists like Homer, 
Virgil, Dante, Chaucer. 

Literature is not merely a craft but a thing of 
the spirit. Literary greatness, therefore, i.f^- not mere 
technical skill. It res^jJ.ts from gifts of insight and 
imagination and feeling, knowledge of the lofty and the 
beautiful, inspired wonder of tne soul and the power of 
communicating sij^nificant ideas and feelings to others. 
In setting forth vision, intimations of iinmortality, unity 
and suggestion, the author of On the Sublime alone re- 
captured the spirit of ancient art by an analysis of 
its unchanging principles. 

X ••■-' V 


and responisive to the emotion and imagination of man. 
He refers to the habit of associating fi£-ures with art- 
ifice; this is because they are not properly handled. 
Artistic effectiveness is cichieved when it is unobtrusive. 
On the Subliiue is the first treatise to shov/ the natural 
development of figures and their psychologica.l basis in 
detailed form. 

Personality is responsible for ^^reatne.^s of liter- 
ature. ^.. IS the rF:Sult of the total spirit, made noble 
by superior intellectual powder imag.inatively heightened; 
this is made emotionally nftrauasive by th^ •skillftil use 
of those artistic devices which constitute the artistic 
fora. The truth of this notion is forcefully e'nT:;hasi2ied 
when we think of the achievements of artists like Homer, 
Virgil, Dante, Chaucer. 

Literature is not merely a craft but i thing of 
the spirit. Literary greatness, therefore, i.^^ not mere 
technical skill. It res^alts from gifts of insight and 
imagination and feeling, kuovledge of the lofty and the 
beautiful, inspired wonder of tne soul and the power of 
communicating significant ideas and feelings tc others. 
In setting forth vision, intimations of iiOTiortality, unity 
and suggestion, the author of On the Sublime alone re- 
captured the spirit of ancient art by an analysis of 
its unchanging principles. 


tliis fife *<SiJ» ii.J4«* i$irfe%t«tite 0>: *ie'4.ioiS, >ui*ae5;«rs 

of fairtc:-' :8 riUfrr^jse is «aotionai . jO 


. ■ ■-;..! ^ 

'■'1th wh« ime cf fxtt.l^yr; f.t'vnri"; a ' tr 

harsh and the crude j !«; ia « wsy t«t p>^r^d*7 til- <. versa! 


itrn^-in v-f'^n/'. 

t: ; irvnt; i ;••! ^ i sr-i nr %{\ r -sen ;i i h ' / 4 t v •t •y.^i--f » 

or vivifyiaF th« moral <,.<*&¥ i . 

(if*iyf,rin^ cone*****, >*« ©f art., v;Vi,1.eVi, f: 

I,:; ■ J-.;.V4A A5«^;, ,•'*!»'.;. 1>;si'.,)v;; fsr".<.iiij » 

uolirti with c- 

ci^ %r vU'tiH*. 'tf all *!i»e^.t *rti If en • 

Itler'- 't to ■ •• 


Perhaps the gr«£it«8t sir- 1© force in the develop- 
ment ©f expression In all torata was the art of rtietarice 
Though it wae wost faithfully bora and nurtured und^r ora- 
tory, it influenced end, indeed, became basic to all ferns 

of enpression, Cicero teiio us that or^itory was the supreme 

art that could opan. the way to all other arts. eAoQaam^iA 

applied to all of literature, poetry no l»ss than proae. 

Anyone wishinfe to express hiiastJif , to set forth his theory 
or eystea t^eth<^tr in the re^ilra of ?*iilo»o?>hy or science, 
:nu3t turn to tue persu.jiaiv. -A^cuiiiquea oi *-u<r.-uoric if ae 
vfished to secure attention by pressentinj^ his ide«ts in a 
for» of laniguage clear and apt. 

Rhetoric aaae unique ttm co^'UVipic ce, rb'*v.t'i'<:d 
vivid the colorless, f,«ve dimity to the frivolous, in 
poetry ■>» well as oratory, it played an iartorti^nt nsirt. The 
art of po«try included careful prescriptioti an ai'ran^>«;tteiit , 
choice of words, nature of rhythms, eofl&position, figures of 
speech, haraiony; all were adaptable to th^ y^tist'a aientiil 
horizons iknd varied eaiotion^tl powor, ifc is truc^ that poetry 
was never completely bound by tiie narrow forraalistic stricturj»5 

of rhetoric in o.»v ^^-^t^, ■^^;^tree that «r-<-^'^' -nd prose lit- 
erature VA9 bound* However, in the deveiopjiusnt of preacrij?-' 


4i ^.r-f^-l 


tions of style particularly, poetry had a close affinity 
to rhetoric."^ Indeed, the Sophists were pilloried for 
borrov\'in,c the language and ornaiaent oi' the poetb. This 
v/as a breach of the doctrine of decorum, which was -^ 
fundamentally directive in rhetorical theory. The entire 
history of classical criticisra shovrs preoccupation with 
the differences bexiween prose and poetry. 

Though at times these differences were discussed 
along lines of varying iaiaginative power and insoiration, 
it was the formal aspects which were really under discussion. 
Certain rhjrthms, diction, and figures were assigned to 
poetry; others, to prose, Cicero eniphapized the affinity 
between the poet and the orator. He had in aaind the 
emotional siirtilarity of epldeictic oratorj*^ Rhetoricians, 
of course, took freely aiiy device or technique that would 
secure results, and as the tendency toward unrestrained 
embellishraent developed, v;e find that poetry was their main 
source. This lack of propriety in using the heightened 
metaphor or polished rhythras of poetry was severely censored. 
The r'oets had their place in the curriculum of the schools 
of rhetoric, and tihough their use to the orator was util- 
itarian, their techniques became interchanr^eable. The dif- 
ference in device v^as a matter of kind and degree as suited 
to specific occasions and pxorposes. Cicero refused to 
study the l;;a'ic poets, because they had little to offer the 
orator. However, such ooets wert.' useful to the orator 
who desired sublimity of style. 

■. t, „ 

■' -fvv 


At any rate, in general, Hire munv others, h« anAlyaed 
f>o#try froia the viewpoint ox roraal ruetoric. 

The Eoaans la ree«»iia«ndlng th« r«a4iiig of th« po«ts 
as training for tJ4$ or^ator followod cloe«ly t&« eotirs* ttr||»4 
by th« Gr«t>k8. Qttlntilian'^ ttrg«cl th« r«A<{ln^ of tb« po«ti! 
In order that the or:vtor aay learn those qualitifts i«hleix 
will gitf« ©Iftgance of language aiict tl» t»ebRlQa«9 4md powwr 
to ai^u»e th#» different kinds of emotion* Xt was #asy to 
beeofte etcreoty^ed and moiiotonous fr<J« tlie dally routi«« of 
th» law courts. A a us the po«t3 w«re «l rleU soure« for •ai- 

b«lll«ha«nts that would glTO variety, fresmness, aaa« p«r- 


8u^i*Blve r5«wF:r, yulntlllan knew well thst th^ alms of the 

orator an,i tfte ]poet w«r® different, vUi. '.c .>aiv.>ca vhis out»- 
The difference between poetry and elev&ted proee wa«, be- 
tides vision, a a&tter of style, Her« rhe int.r-.-stlnj? '?olnt 
le that gener:illy th« poets were allowed ^ ,,:r-e-,.;^i..»r range In 
aiattere of diction, r!?ythm, coi»poaltion mi«i figures of apeeoh.^^ 
Tliey knevs no boiande in the use ""* ?'V -tares of thou^t and 
wordu; their »lsilll»« were levlsh, tiaeir aetanhors, bold. 
The art of poetry was gradually dr^twn iato the ar^ere of 
forxaal rheto-iCe This Is trwe eaf^eially in r^sgar-' ' -■ ^*- 
and Is reflected In the extenelve allgnaent of such ilgur*e» 
in r.h€ -noetic of mjcccfj^ly??: »re». fhli! hebit ^f <?^*ref«l 
tiibuit.&ion of fiiK;ures was Borrov»Kw * r ->>«.'wv',rii;4fai»» 

W>i«?re crltlclsta of poetry refera to the use of flii.tire9 it Is 
tht- «nj(-1t. fif i-.h(* Trttetorielan at work. Juintllissn, for 

■ Ti<v.**ia -w 


f;r-';^ ■*'■»' ^^.t%f(:<)l'\ i^f^-i 

}fi «;• *? ;■.■ -af 0!^J. 

■ *;S( "yl'- " •' 

instance, co^aaeots on Um\'&v^» skill in th« «»« 9t figures, ^^ 

In fact, v«hen he tr««ifeii tb«r fipirea, h4!> Illustrates as free* 

If fr«Ba the poeta as fro» writer* of pro«e. 

Xt is important in this reg«r4 to note «rh«» the 
erltiee* discussion of ftcwreo in poetry is - ~n the 

ftssusptiofi that such eXemonts of their V6 het* 

orieal eAb6>llish%ettt of styles ^n^ when t' 
poetic vislor** In other wor<Ss, 4id the ^<Ett diff^ir iroa 
the or-ator in At^u:r9% er In kiiidl this {question was 4e» 
bated amonr elasslc-il theorists^ it is trae, but, lit £•»• 
cral, criticism oi po^Siry v^& m^xa^ntly ruetoi^lcal* 

It emi be aeon tliat in the eehools poetry emem 
to be coftsldered a fons^l art a« traa ri^etoric. ihe gradual 
tendency to subject the various pof^tic geiires to specific 
laws stretigthened this asimmptioifii. What ^sdght re^^.ily be 
expected happened. Anyone with skill in the vai ^^ >. .4- 
peets of rhetoric could be a |»oet» Horace tells u« that 
«v«ryo««? was attewotln? to write VF»t» frn'r, various 
syurc^isi we itrvati t,;s,- u .« -Large cro" n'" ■ :^-'^)t.ed 

strong and floi-arished* ' It «e«r«» that Cicero wrote poetry 
as did Brutus and Julius Caesar, Pliny th« Ymmrjsr, C.:*to, 
A unjust U3 Wero, inia ictany ouhers^. It in «iipp.-^reav» tiiiiii a 
great ^rt of the poor verse was produced by the orators 
or at least those wvt* kn^x w«ll the ^.rt of rh«*t2ric. 

rhetoric* They differed from th© ;■'.*- ulsters in that th«ir 

■^'iV**'-' . ts."- ' ?• ' 

V .if I i 


,'-■ i .'.,■* . 


use of rhetoric was merely to p*^;rfect and enhcince the 
formal beautv of their art. Though Virfil w^s it Poet of 
too ^reat a. st.'.iturie to be uc-iii-ivtsv- f^j riiwtoric, yet :=?'• 
know that h© had visited the rhetorical schools and 
no fl.-^uht ir,rincT\cc.c] , -nrticulariy in rf^i''^r<\ to p«rio(iiC 
structurt, oaic^ricou cl , anu ctr&oixii ct8{>ect8 Ox 
arrangement In the use of stylistic devices. It wae 

acceptesi Wa^t vhtiKt-^ric cowl*^ hR a valuable aid to the •^^oet, 

though decoru-fi warned a^ ainbt excessive use* <e u^vo 

noted ybov« the importance of Ovid a© a classic ex^iitpl* 

of tn« w ' j.u ,tce of coetry by rhetoric. 

W© know that the custoii* of public recitation also 

played its part in strengthening the influence of rhetoric 

on poetry.^ Uo r^enre esciipecl; every type of literary 

work, even dramatic «oetry find history, was recited, i-.s 

A rrnult, v;ritf'rs wishinr to save thfdr work fro.'is complete 

depravity 'oy inaiffereii^ reci.oationa resorted to the aa« 

of those fievices which had proved effective in the various 

schools of rifol-:P.ition, :jO, to achieve vividness they 

emoloyed texct-ssivy conceits ana iavio^i i-aei-oilc^j. figures. 

The yomiger Seneca, who probably intended his dramtt© to 

be recited, in I'lis excinss ;ind extruv=Af£nces shows a atrcnp 

rhetorical eiAphaeis. van co^nnionpiace tne;.it;s exhibited 

an artificial brilliance through lack of restraint. 


* ; 

'V > 

«. *^ > 

The poetf, then, were a great denrloe to Ui« 
teachers of rhetoric and to the orators. Tne dra»atle poets 
were considered uaefuX jpriautrily in the ci«velof«tent of char- 
acter, eruotianal spjeNisl and their general picture of life» 

The esrly crifciels'B of Roibct ww*?? Sflonr rhetorin^-tl lines* In 
hin eoula b^ ii?ui4'j i^^aa&rait»xoii:- omt ox x,n<ii aevicfca of 

rhetoric. ?irgil, like Monei owfn to exhibit i^reat 

r>roMe»s in the art of rhetoric. 'Ifherever vou Ions? ??} 
ancient poetic criticiffin an»2 c: r.nt tht; art oi' r?ietoric i» 

eomaton criteria. The extensive eurvey of literature by 


Quint! lian is a rhetorical analsrsle.*^ In Himer, Virgil, 

Alcaeus, luripides, Kenander, Luean and others, he finds 
lilustrations of the v^-urious kinds of oratory, the four 
levels of style, the power of Invention, propriety, ekill la 

cher^ctflr drawing, skill in .suiting; language to both ciiar- 
•acter and essotion, and In general, examples of rrrifnt ability 
to hold the u.irror up to aatus*e» It l« int*restxfi4, x,o rio^e 
that he dlemisees tho^te poete i^o do not suit his purpose, 
8uch a? Knniuj» and Lucretius, .%n4 choo?!©8 those who exhibit 
fltroiij^ rhetorical ir.fiuence. His survey is sin iitt€«Bpt to 
rel&te the various paeeaf-es of poetry to formssi rhetorical 
prescription. Varro was thlnkin? of t'le r:;r'.mi?; rhrtorical 
etylee in hia discusr.ion or lacuvix;'-, Lyciiiu* -Mia i-erronce. 
Oionyslu® selects froa pofi^ts, orators inad hi?3toriian» to .fur- 
nish exajaplC'S for the v»*»rlous fRodee of eo«ip«ssitioa.'^'^ 

v<?i 1 \. ';':'■:-■■ ./' ■!:},[■ 6' 

S. '■':')! '^-^l- n 

V r 

■ .V i • 

; .4 . 


We haYs 5ft«n that during th« Hellenistici p«rioct 
t*i€ tcficjiency to set fortii a poetic gr«w out of the pev* 
v&4ing influence o.f rli»torlc, nM that ^prescriptions for 
the art of poetry vsere prett;- imizu uq-^.jlu' sum. J'ortaal- 
is«d by the art df rhetoric* Wc know th«t .yiristotX« in 
th« Rhetoric "^ refers bis re-sdara t9 th« iPoatiO a *A« 

tMi obsenr«<l it; ti»e ZmMM,^' *"•"* **^'* ^**« ^SiJLlSS;** -^^^ ***" 
eurritig phra®«« in tlie- |fi«tc?ric « 

'''^^ Ar^ fQ0ti^ oi' Hora,c« i« another doc'aa»(S»t 
which iIlustr-rtt«E the close «4iTiikits of rhetoric aii4 pontic • 
Like Cicero h*i atdhere® to tiMii prinelple^ or the ^oXa^ja 
aeaiia H« was do^inatft-^ ^*' ''^^ iactriae of tttceoms and 

Wits concerned -v^^ith th« »^tur« oi s«tir« an<l d^medly as con- 
trasted with «j^ic s>o«try sad trsg»4y. In his discussion 
of the lan^&ge o;. !#mt-; ,>d«t at » ■ ..mj spoke ••> «o«*«i 

as proper »i^diu% for his thO'-;.,ht9, &ut tne I&v- :auat 

b« elevated and refiitecl mi4 <^ive» i^ew vivl-slnese dta4 sug* 
rieativenesa. "^ 

Horace dlistingui3h«s bstw^en %,hts technical eleoeiits 
of i&o^try and tht -.f isaai'ln&tiY* Dowr.r ;, ... I 

•i<^«at in gr«*t poetry. i\.:i.-- •.,... Qutsiiiof^ *Ari«.s»i» ox* ti^e 
differexice betv-een verae and po«try» fam wiiiancs eot^isB the 

aiagic pow"-*r- viihii^h -'.^li'^'i Atti^tfettted to tfie po«sta ■'>'-'« ^-'"^ nA4.f:?«-y'/ 

26 2d 

Plato, •■»ri»totl&~' Haiu iiicero ar« eeneeritiitii «>ith &j** 

problen of the rvnl source oif po«tic power, u^a it the 

«t;^.-'\ V>fV*' '■<-' m'> ?^!*'*^ 

.; V *. 

i'.- #i^^':,/aiAt<,. 'J^tlh>:U i^f7.-. 


f* ^s;*!-:) ;-?#J^i». fui4 jUkl «* 

-•:r».^5V^4* :*w)^' _a».-.-. 

ohwai glvari to wor4s by i»etrlcal arranrzea^int, or was It the 
eontfint, a vloion of sn uncoawnonly sensitivt and discern* 

lag aind beight«nea u^ivi ^.^'iadsd by «motion and poetic Itnag* 
ination. Clc«ro co.T^t&nt^<!s on tl}09« who consl<i«ir th« diam 
of risuslc thcf basic ^ in poetry*^ Dlofiysiws also <ii5» 

cus^i-s this I'robXesE.'^ 

W« know th&t the ancient crit*ic8 filstin^uiahed tin© 
various kinda af r^etry,^ It was accordlra- to th« dc^^*trin• 
of dscoru;2i tii<it Ci-ch : • v . •• v:iir0iUi.4.j' ..'<itfea iro-u v^i© 

others, som^jtiiaes by for. 3 by content* i.ik« 

oratory, «»ac- kln*^ h;^. .,. ciaX rulfe® af it« owe, t^->^'»^J;'^'- ^tX 
poetic pr€>seripvios:i& a>r.:v«lopea «iloU£^ strict r<t«€toric^ ii»<^8« 
Though th« broftd divisions of p©«try vuere siistliiCA^s^^cl *>y 
th« Poet*« attitude to life, oratory waa 4iv3'*«'^ *^<?cor<iing 
to th« variftd purpcsess of th* orator. .» fvinaAift«irit*ti dif* 
Terence, how«v«r, existed in the b»li«f that the orator 
was aotiv.iitei by i.«,..,«s froa the ©xtwrnal "^'- -^hysicai 
world, *rt»ll« th« poet, or at lea«t ^« gr»*test i^oetry, ^aa 
a r«!Ri:lt of th» Artist's p«r»onal «raotions *nd imiiginativi} 

ao.ldwin'' r«f«rs to tiie *asieat 4i»tiiiiction &•• 

twittn rhetoric and T;o«tl? ^'hen h« «iiyc: 

, cn« sincieRts discKi-i ■ . aiic 
d-_ .• . , . .- - : ^i oT ddlly co/funurilc J: loa, %s- 

peei£«lly of public adur&as, Te'^jjp Pifo/^y^o'. 
,^ rhetoric; or: :^ht other hand, ' 

■- --- -.glriiitivfi ^i ■ -^-i, 7v;,fy^ -rPoi^f.^J). 

are poetici., poetic. 


• ■? -J. 


Th® qu«;s%ion of th« ftx&ct nature of the poet had 
Its i*oet« lit H«U«eiie thought. Though h« w»n often cailod 
"mad", at 111 tha con»«nsus of Intelligent and skilled 
opinion ' to reeognlae th»t the poet hai^ a real kfio- ,•,.:« 

th« i*ol€ of iajaglnation In fejowle^^e )h.a& w l•^J ■ '-■-'•■ ''.■•'-•■--,. 
and its signifieance in the realas of artiatlc 9nu^AVor ie 
kTiOim* thou;-':h it vas in crv.^» an?? uside-^relODed for^i, tbsre 
•irieted a ^^u^c^k theory of .'-o-^iic ia:iUir.v--&ioft» tJiere wHre 
men whose unusual sensitivity and imagljsatlTe power eni end- 
ered rifts of keen inffi// ^tr-nrjs >rt9dfisr, ?">?» 

fren«y of the poet wf*3 not ali»f;j!.yG il=;,ntl;y a.isgii.---^t ;. i,v,;r.-^ -^ 
in Plato'^ we note that It i» his syst^e of s*hic and laeta- 
fdiyeiee wJjlch i*^^ f-r.^-r.n-n^ii}!® f^p ijia attitu-''"^ , uae 

poete, and he has mach to aay whl<^ shows his -Awareneee of 
their gifts of insl^-hte''^ 

The Eomane ■■*"" inherited t.^. : •ArAu.,ia-..--w^ ■ - jx 

rhetoric, for th« jaost part abandoned the notion of poetic 
inspiration. Of c^urst, the poet h ;-tiiln n^itural 

talents wtiidi *®t hl^a apart from ti;.' :jj.«cc, ba^ 

technique lowfted Important on the joetic landscape. The 
v&riou3 for?aal trerst^^ents of tjoc^tic suT^?>ort this view. 
They did not coraoxi. uei>- i -■■■■-■ wie iuapxr^ti-oaai a«p««t, 
hut preferred to (s41»cu«s the prohlena in another w.ii.y« ■u^.js 
^^ inge^itiai or arj[> that Cfmt,rlbut»d ?b/^?',?'. to a ff^i^'-^"^ 
Crltloisis allowed tn^it the earil&»t poets pos^^KHi^fgui 

-■■■ ■ .yri:.; H ^f-f ^-^ 

< -. i ■ 

Xy^'j "vK,-'. ■:;.«•'# 


.: -v^T:^ ^.:y*ri f! 

"geniut", but th«y lack«d ^Art^ and so had no poli»h or 

writers tjiur. *- •• u-s^^ut, A"i.iStiic i-iaihii» firgii x.;Cti.«' 

ed tlie orlglaality of ^oa«rt but he gained in technical 
finish amd artistic rxillah. 

The Ar^. ^ r ; in an laportiiSiC. i^; ■..'';. on tais 
point, Horac* ^as quick to racogniae the vaiu« of . L^ 

he e.aph.A£.ii5«Si i;!*** a^cw.^«ifc-/ oa art X.Q giv' . .■•• lt« cart- 

ful enpport/ H« in is foun«i the influence of th^ 

of "^rt** atiu "iieniua","^ thowr.:h he off«Ts asany paretllels 
between poetic and rhetoric, he carefully dl«j «hft* b«- 

twe«n the 7>oet and iarat%&r^ "• ■■mtti-jufr--^' vsj^uv- .is ir* 

the matter of fXoeutlo that th« difference rs, 

la latpr metlieyal tr^atls*-;? i^ f'^und th** rreitcst elabor- 
atiOG of styli*^-t..i .ic;ea asia a coj^iriici'uariiiy ifes^er *cru«t- 

Bient of the traditional divifsionso 

Hor-ae?? 'Ji?eusK«r? the: various virtues of stvlcj her« 
particularly one i» n^ifur* of the analogy witii i'U«toric«'^" 

Be adlTocates cioarn^iss^ and «trea»«s th« a««d for brtvity, 



most c»>?*tAirtTv In T/ n*r,«t.ion«' 

iB%eTU?j« hfe wag coiiaciouE of tfi<r! doctrine of deeorua 

to a »up«rior dekrrt ind that he di»iiM«di v«?a(»raently th« 

overu"»« o'" '^-''•.•' ■'••■*■.,' ' •. lan Oi • '•* 


eoaraoflition a&d figures Is s?.ight and asaiRlv iTinlleit. a 
treatiM'Hi; o^ Ui» i«uits ol svyle b^.o.s «iu ii..,. .-t'\, rs taat 
th« po4$t > tji« law of 4l«ei»ni» In ad'iotinf, iiii« styX« t« 
the ^cnre, to subject and in .ii^-t. i^,- ti(^.t.*1>«'-il i^f^^^ng** 

««nt« Slnc« 4rl8totl® It c^ . wU«t Ui^ v/rit«rs of 

poetic o%j«d imch of their formulation of t>h<g vairious «l«ttoiit« 
of 8t>i- v> ..^wxcic. »!% have, thon, elo&« parailol b«tw«on 
rhetoric and poetic in tiie matter of sty la and in th« aoctriao 
of 49cfxpnm It is true th^t such a doctrine wjuld undoubted- 
ly aave ut-vKiO... 5,-ii xfidopeadontiy, but the i..s.u'^ i-tit«alx»8 tfiat 
In for^^sl sy8t«ttatie troatsB^nt rhotorlc tak«s pr«ie«deBc«, 
and therofsro the influenct^ .^.nc'fit^ble* 

It uii^jit be vralx tc ii;v: .\:^L. ^vt lurtufe; &ii«?:^^ 
tvo probl««s ^Idi aro eoiaisou to rhetoric and poetic allhe« 
?Ar the ancients 4ffls->r nt th2 e-'j^sidcr'atlon i^f s.tvlii 

in r^garit to subjeci; nw^tter. ■%& tiiid principle <v - :.;■■ ■> , 
we not« that its raiiLC? was all ineluaivo, and that it is 
r.r.f...i;-.>^n ^ ijh assthotic Coiicft'^t* , ,roughout t-^f-^ ■ l=»tory of 
tkm development of rhetorical th«?ory it is i.ot«d j>«rticul«*r- 
ly that the untierlyinf- eoneopt which direct « th^a «^7«eiflc 
tM#ctt*y, whether in the broad eleaents of st^^t* ^^a*^ 
harmony with the character of th« speaker and t^« iaaturw of 
th« issue, or in, thf »?>«eific d«tttil, such af d1.ct.fon, 
rhytu.,j, u" ■?« oi . ,3 •-"■«? uttoir® for coi:*'«-v-w.u'» 

propriety* v« noted tne funda»«nt&i i^Aport^iice irlmtofcie 
placed on d«corua«*^ the abuse showered by Aristotle and 

..V Jy r, :_ .> ; J. 

V-.-^ ^*J; ^ •■ 


■ M. :- t ^ 

'^ , 

' , "i ' \ /•' All xLi 

... 'i? in (>'.'■'. -i 't'tO' 

T'. ', ,. ' -V >.l ■ ', > ••'. -■ '.t ■':* "■*•■ .. ii- ■»• • - .<* •■ 

!. .•-■'W. f 

others on tim Sophists was prx*«riiy bacaus« of «.h«( lack 
of r«fltrair!t, thftir inability to M^liitaia the golden wisan 
which Is the hasio prinel!>l« of dmeorxm* It we* f«lt tnait 
without propriety in style th^re woulii be little appeal and 
eert&inly no convietlo?i« 

Tn«: doctrine yi u#«iinm flndn its ro«>ts x« .^>i:iilo80ptiy, 
in thig ethical aikS, !i!«ti&.|>hy'Sle{al <jloetriite3, ^mcS in political 
and social d<?v«lor?ai.©nt» :4ll r'itaolv^d theEselvrais Into the 
•v«r»pres«rtt conc«Dt ol imit/ iii VJiri«ty« It is ii ■ x'x to 
their concvpt of bft^tuty, an'*- con»«qu«ntiy l»a;aic t© the deirei- 
ori'^if'nt of artistic ftxi:r^?iixlnn» 

In p.irt, tft€ iorceiul ana rapist d«v«lopjai«nt ot th« 
various law« and regulations coneer»ln^; «x:or«s8ion waa th« 
result or th« whol(e»al« violation of ii hafeit '-^f' ■«|/»'^ whlolii 
saw « basic order nn^i harmony is; huaMut lifo: iiu:t4 ueiAt^i^dftd its 
isitation in all «xpr€»aions ©f it» Th« Stcic school of 
thought wtis Mi «ixtr«£b« reaction to the excesses and ahuse« 

of sophistry. Arlatoph8i'*«9 9&tlri»e4 th« contiatent viol- 

atlo«9 of dccoruiR, thou^fh hf 4r tvirn was critiss^d In the 

ethical concept went wo fur as to bamish »»©«tffi frosi 1*13 ideal 
state. ^riFJtaT.ltj proJ<»st«d tho voXtian imrni .as basic to his 
doctrine oi" virtiu ^ mn -:%» wj»T'niaad.^,a4jriSt excrr^:-^* '^ .icero 
snd Quintlli&n follot-i^eait. 

The tfSTntatlnr. tc subnt Jt,-wZfce a aanijale of rh®torlcal 

«.iibelli«hi0«»nt was ^'r«at, ^na oft«n i^m^ yi&ii£«a. i^io ««>«>£ 
sophist ha» eo^e to be synonymous with sspty floiurish &a4 

>• I," '•' 

<v- 1 

"- •■ *J 

, ii. ■ ; « 


with th« ancients. It is e«»«itUlly oia a«»thetic onceot 
which was a consistent clement in thtir visloK af tiu. 
v©r0« ftttd u «uidin& i^arc* ia ^4i numm activity. 

For th« ancient!?, coBti*on realit)^, "thf jfej^sct of 

** » * * ■ ^-^ -ttS w,iv .>i-aiiaaru ol **rt,^' 

The doc&riiie or ci«>cor»Aa apri^aj^ i'rom tliia UAsic, thoagh aot 
clearly defined, nrinaipU of art. Artistic :,»rtr;iv;-„;i could 
be helrhtnn^.^ r^ain*.., ... vx..r« w.s tii.t i.i..^ be- 

yond v."Ucii a«i. c^jultt «0t p»s8 m4 still r6e«iY« tfe« appro- 
bation of the au<3i«nc«, .»ior was this ii^tu:au -n onduly 
rsrrov r.;- -^ Subject tofttter, j,a« ^ivitiii^ ^»a aitUAtion 

aaJ tii* <>. of ©ffiotlonal lat«naity greatly -. 9i th« 

ranj.* ©f ds^corua. Artistic :.ortrav^l r...fe ^0% pass b«yo£i«l 

--o^zida of the re^xxii>- atftii ^<i «A>i«ri«uc«d, W» know 
that th« poet was gi i^j,. iic«ns«^^ in the «se of 

devices, but h^ was knm.m to have |;aiiifc„ ,..., ...^^.^ij, i,,^,<j 
a reality uiiKj;o*.a to orainary m«a, and »o th® picture of 
hie Tision wa» heightened, Hi« wee *i pecuXi&r kncvledr*. 
of a irroat^r reality. The orator, ta.. j.u'a£># wix;.er, a«alt 
with th« reality common to all. 3ucfe llenmm was aot 
theirs except In instances in wtiioh particular ^itu^tione 
end ooeasion would allow it. 

The gr«»t ^d pei-Y«tdiag TWoteie» of Greek philos- 
OT^hy was the ayntheels of the om and ths ^aftrn/o *?-.?«, con- 
cept of unity in variety, tu« reiatiaji a*" ti.« p«i-t to tke 

■';' i ..?A> ;t 

i, '' y '1 .' 

:^.>'> -^-.liv w.;, 

>;',1 0% >^;j» . ,* 

or- - '■■ :«JfV .f^ ;> ^' 


I P 'V.lV .^.,V'!J> ';:>■ ^(. 

whole^ is haslc also to aaciervt aesthetic. Tn« 4e»Gtrln« 

©f ^.f^,n/^:r-\im Sr,-- It..?! ifAftt,* In t>iln f:;n':*a't2C:rjtal notion. The 
many text. -^oriaAi prv t^ioj* iiiusitr&ti» profusely 

th« firlatotellan prlReipl«( of a whole «ictio> ''..icN» 

wtth a ^-'"■■'«n&, mliidl« aar -^.'^o^- W« «?«« fei^?« illus- 

trated by th® careful dlvlsloa^^ trl&Jiitj t'a« orittio*!, wa« 

ttpie, th« drasta. The main elst»*mt« of be.^uty, ®eeor<iiag 


to Arl«toH«, it4 -^s wi.'<i«r, n'jTOJiftt. ., V , 4«flfiil'v™ ^Avsltatioa**^ 

'^IwttJStion" la the keynote to a«cl«*nt iriilvld.u&l «3tpr«««- 
slon, '^H'^ r«fr':sl!r''n"fl»*ntp v*Mc^ ^s?<pr*^ 4'*?noj^«?><1 ut>«ifi th« w»it«r 
or speaJcer ;5Gc»uee ox Sauia -^b: ^ ' .? \i^j,.i^ rji-iK,' 1,1;^:! 

dtlf fused view of lift into a unified, c&her^Fit, vivid . 

Tiie cioctrinft ai" decorua soon etched its way into 
the r«alffi of human conduct. Th« activitifes of daily Hv&b 

for the f;reateat; .?i<iv«®#nt In this dir^s-ctioa. Xt was In 


art and llt'^r^ture t;h« «upr«?K« vli*tu« of styl«» Without 

■propriety ■ „...;:> u.--. >.-. - .r-;«^..,.,^rt*-,'Tt. •vaietioR 

Cre- '-nt or failure w-:*^ for titfe »owt p«ri» th* re- 

rait of adh^irtsmc*' ''.l?« j>rl«<5l»?l«» 

and certainly in «xt«r3»ion* iSiristoti^ peraapa dies Rior« 
than any other to "'efln* it wh#n he »Pt forth His doctrine 
of virtue. The i^oxaen aissm wets vitu-*, vu '. ^jsophy 

and »o basic to his view of litsr-itare.^^ xceas in either 



direetion was to b« avoi4«4 at all cost* bdl=mc«, propor- 
tion, propriety^^ nu«t b« oiAlntained bet-rf**!! subject saiitt,«r 
and style, b«t»r«*fi ei&otion nmd «xpres 3lon, and ijnt the 
;Judlclou» uso of «vaildble rhetdrieal (i«vie«»« fhe influiM)«« 
of Aristotl* dJiB b« •««» el«iaLrly in th« ^Wman tr6ftti»«« on 
rhatoric. In thcswry tb«y adhere elosely to tfe« awintcraunc* 
of the <^olafea a^an,-''' 

The b4X';».nc«d a»4 Judicioua <'aidapt«ition of the 
«««Mie to th# «n<i »,,« t.h« critftfla for frcxwi stvl*- 
In ipoetry or i'?ros*s» in oratory it h&d its wAat-att r4Ag«« 
Style and delivery mvmt, bo adopted to the &uoj«>et maittor 
%.» woil ae tii« occasior -^f ♦•'•^^ ^-^..^c^-, ^ w*. ,-^.,.r-.«M-,^-- '^i* tho 
stponk^r, An('i tho chariftotor of &aii $i!uuit^nv«a r'aK'- vi'i«.u€4»r 
this has particular aeanlBg as »«« ©te«<*rv* his »mpftrior 
»«nsitivity in all a»p©cta of dacorua ii. .,.,e Canterbury Tal, e;^. 
particularly, whoro th<' taany relatioash.lp« ar«f objiervtwi 68 
th© silsrriaaif vita thr-ir host s.T»?e t« th* ahrin*- of Sockot. 

Xho neod xor auiip&iiife; style to autoject :w.tfcer 
dire'Otad the ▼trying do^oo of rhotorieal a^abeli it 

oupl.-^vf^d. This includ&d the chcic© of >v^ords# chaie« of 
figures ana te^p^A, cr. .•■•-;.-*ion, aae ef r;:ijui:a, every v.lfc-. 
»c*nt of style. The d&'gr«« of esabfilliahMc-nt w.. .trailed 

by the tvpe o^ «»t;.^1>' ti<*at .«,'5itc>.1 to fch*^ <»-sb1fect, td the 
spoaker, to tiit: audi%»ftcc«"' iiife fis*>ia."*f& Ci4fc.«*feiv6» a«stfcr» 
minod the dividinii line b«ftw«on the v.itrioue styles, -and 
eoni9«<|Uontly, the number of figttrea used iHi-' '^^''^ ^- '"''■' '''-t^d 


■;, i": 

1 Vr 

.':.', -t V .■■ ij .. -- -.,'>3 

■fir ..■».■ 

^«>/ ' i-.» . s .1 S,.; (.. 

Vi* »!•<.• 

i^ •.-.-• *. . jt ■.: i,iVf> f- 

<''■■•-, *., ' ry '-■ 

■•n •,.'!; ■^v:",,. 


was controlled by the doctrine of decorum. 

In Chaucer, observe tne degree and iiatiue of de- 
corum, for instance, employed by the v/iff of Bath as 
contrasted to that exhibited by the Clerk. Observe, 
also, the humorous attempt at propriety by the host, 
and even Chaucer's own ironic allusions to decorum. 
Within the tales can be found another series of pictures 
of decorum, V/^.rQriselda's story. And again, the various 
aspects of decorum concerning; the characteriaatioa of the 
pilgrires themselves. Here the initial picture set forth 
in the 'prologue is important. There is a careful con- 
si^itency in later developiaeut of the pilgrims both in the 
links and in the telling of the tales, i.e. the type of 
tale chosen, the manner c.nd pur'pose of deliverer, the 
rhetorical devices efapioyed by the v&i'ious tellers. 

The dispronortion between what is expressed and the 
ia?rtner of expression constituted a breach of decorum, V/e 
are reminded her? of Aristotle »s discussion of proportion 
as th® basis of metaphor. Further, we observe that such 
disproportion between the expression and thing expressed 
does violence to the general standard of art of the 
ancients, the common reality. Just as the trivial matter 
shovld T^ot be treated in a grand style, it is an equally 
great breach to handle a uubliuie subject in a mean itianner. 

It must be remembered, however, that the concept 
of Officia Oratoris is iiflportant in regard to decorum. 
Though the subject be trivial, there are certain parts in 

■^•'•'v; .;<• 


impurilty* Lu thu peroration, for Instaaee, « i'^nerii 
helf:bt«nlnf: in elof*w«riCe was to b<< -ichleved, and fto «m« h&A 

lio«ns€: to aiaplify and di;"^'"^ * -'-''■^ - ^^ ♦'alfilX hig pur- 

po»« of atlrsrtng the'auditnce hj strong, eraotiotiai «pp€«tl« 

It »»sif» th# jKrai^d stylr *rhi<:!h conf 90'?t flf>«clfle«lly to 

thv ■::'.^ (cer^t of Off i cla r.>ra<^ , ori^ „ aific? -ix. riiia^^ev Lur V'^gis* 

rhptorical devic«s livhlcfi gave fore«, ylvi<in'5<5a a»«f intensity. 

In the <txordiffl t the ]r»rlm«- ai« vais to t?l6:*&<» the Audience. 

H«r« th« speaker or vfrit<fr aa.jt of; car-iful rsot ta ©skpioy 

any th^aw or «tylistlc di«vis« that woulti »u*^«!St inn%nomrlt,y 

or in any .■nt*«r-"" '--'^-' •>■?•» •'T.jf^ir:*- nhr^ Mn!f«r»ce, Tn t,hf Rarratj^, 

or jftat<**^ent of facsa, tae ^>maial «r-tj>le i»^* j^^iaia in 


which th« Yirtu*« of el«am9ss arjd brevity w«r« essential* 
Th4i <*octriG« of dae.-vr'v'o^ i->-- .9T«'-tt«»t airtL^t.-t '- ^-inpro- 
bKtiott to th# sr>«iik.?r or writ«rr w:xo «o*Ai4 «afiploy tiie var- 
ious styip'9 *dLth etrtairt aii<-j oar*fuA 4glllty in ordar 
th«t htB purp*o«« ii»irat b*? ichicr<fd« 

Oecarufls also directed that th« style of the »|>esak- 
er cr *^rlt<»r whould b« in ^r-.r^ts^ony v?ith the d'if^-ity 'sf th« 
particular o?;cv.'sic>n. ■"'' ^..uiritxiiar u.^al point in 

r»g«rcl to figTAr«»# frt* kiiad of pi ^\& »p«ak»r 

dellvrred hir 8r>t9«ch was lik ter of decor\i»tt# 

th«8e; eircua8t«r\c«s of tlj*" i'id pliC« vuerJ:, hov.tvcr, CX39»- 
ly ti*f} with th« ittportatne* arid i^cAfity of th« issues 
wider conoldertitiovi, nn^ thflr r«lstion to the .iuUenc?, In 

::. ..^^/-t'; 

- 'k * V 

w K.' 



./ ^f:l 



.»., ,-;^.-'ij*'^t'. ^'-iJf'<*'-'i?''.w 

,.e ■ - ;!. • vf •. 

i,-.W'V*^ ^:^ V 

'i-1- V-;'' /s 

i^ i, 



T h e Canterbury Tales the ma.zt.ex- of decoruai beco^Ties an 
important means of characterization. The character of 
the wife of Bath, for iastanc*?, is intfensified by her 
gross lack of decorutri. The Prioress is careful to 
speak in c. aianner and style befitting both her station 
and the subject of hfr tale. 

It was extrerriely important that the character of 
thfc audience be considered, for tne speaker or writer 
had to adapt his style, not only to the general instinctive 
reactions of hiwnan nature, oat to the gpecific tastes and 
prejudices of the particular auaience. It was, therefore, 
fundarentally iaiportant tiiat \ihe orator or writer study 
the psychology of the auaience, that he aight be aware of 
the various mental stages which developed =;o the speech pro- 
gressed. Ke must note the various interests and occupations, 
national prejudices, age, rank, social status. Decorum 
directed that tlie style be in harmony, f-.en, with the char- 
acter of the audience and the character of the speaker 

66 q7 

as well* iityie was a reflection of the nian. It re- 
flected the dignity of his social and intellectual position; 
it reflected his age. The older a person the greater 
need for restraint and T'oderation, for seasoned judgment 
as well as a general ethic.=tl coloring which -w,x)uld suggest 
his sirscerity, high pinrpose, his love of virtue.^" Cicero 
tells of his ovrti style becoming grey with the years. ^^ 

• } 

n ; ; ...v' 

* < ' r.. -' 1 : V '" 

3.. ,. • 

■ !' ,*'■ ,>^V M. 


The poet«, and particularly th« {Jraaatle )3»o»t«, 
w«r« eonc«irn«d with rt«»c^*>rwm reej&rdi.lni? dalin.'S.vj.tien ©f char- 
acter. 'M'leirs ■v:iiMl, -irciux j}x.u.ay ana tiit^xysis oi' th» 
m&nf a»p«?cts of human life lu order t,h&t tht p«op}L« who 
trave-rse th«lr par«s o*' *tceur«tely dr.-^'WR, that k'> detail 
of action, no word, be out of 1. •• ' iufi Uifcir fir.-a.i-&Cv«r»^ 
Ib general, however, the dram^ittats devaloped conventional 
tro^B of chriraet.ffr aceordinsr tr* thi' H-nr-ci'^f.nivi-. '-tA ■'-;« 1« 
iijr«; tiiey ^ia not concern the,;fisfeiv*i& v,iti» iadivlaawi. 
idllosyneraci©*, but vdth charaeteristles tyrsiGal of fouth, 

oua oj-'parturxlty to ijubue- his !jp®«ch wifeh persuaiaiw 

by a careftiil «det>t»tior» of th^ 8«e*ch to tfee eharaeter of 


tketohes Iri tfe»ir speeches, Ari»toti® damimcts v,he studj 

0f eharaetsr as -r'art of rhntnTic^l trsinin^, in ^srdor 
Ibltftt thr wi"ii.«Li iacai,;^ accur Jite..i, ju.>&e -iaieucs -aid -.j^jAe 

his app«*l mor« persuAaiv*', and al«o that acear^t* por» 
tr^iitur?' and Introduction cf the h. olctattst :r*i.?;ht l^nd 

cucirHi isDO perisu&siorA by reiicviitfe Jioootoiiaus ^rgiiaierttutiya 
e««tioaa^ and glv* vividness and lif«- to the ffar-r .it 1 o » lo 
thin refr-r'5 dCfCOTUJn i. ir^-etei-i t^at *•>.« w^r-l:' '!!'.•■.'<<-,' ■•■.ilt 
t;.'*« ©.-.totiitft of ti^^. sp««ker«'* 

la ©ratory delivery w«« a very iKportant consid- 

J..L-': •i'i-li 'ty'^r-- 

■^.... ft (.^ 

•v ;■-,' ;, 'V 

«> ■?;^;-- -f 


r -i 

'.*< i 

■J--; )8<J-*1,J':- -v.; s*. ;-<<3 

(' :- .?': J! 

aim v»jiee» mi^ <iir«ct<i<« ti-i-^b WiS jgc»n«j;-wi. ^ijp«l«al ^ttH^dt 
of th« 3p«.*feiir 1q ftil A»g)«!C-fca fe» ixt harsioijy with tii® »fcyl« 
imd «abj#e'^ sB»tt«rr, Mia v«l©® shottl''' "h*-: -^^ ■^■-^V'*- ■■■■■:i*dial«U»4 
instri^iicmt, capaW* of exi;>r«-' tii0 $uiotia variety ^f 

^afeio * M<$ro, too, the r>Atare of th* siu«li«rnc« ^wid th« 

ehftr^euer of the a?>e«->rer as w«ll as «xi;::e-ncl«s fsf fci:a« aad 
pi^ce must b« c'-fisitt«rea a& wfsxx aa ttit . oi. en.© sp^ftcii* 

la the ll*?ht of th* ubov« discusslcm. It can l)« 
a(MMi t^hat 1;h« dr^ctrine af dfiCariBa was sbaolTitfily fiin-i-^fBpnt.i-il 

ia tiife clas;5iC4i t^ieory or »t,>ife uj-io la x;x.« taeory of ai^ 

in i'^#nerttl« Thia not* of for^iaiisa which c&ariict«ritMMl 

the ^dvoc^tes of eX&»ciic«jL t'bfc^ory 4s\ iAt.«f.r ««si;ifciiri«i3f»# 
Such for'^fiaiism oft»ft b««««« an «in4 in itt^l-f and i#«,0 par- 
tially i*(!»«o<maibl« for many ol the *'>-^-'.-.,,r-ji4-,«tt«fe3 tehieli 
t«iid»a to tise artificiality 't^l^h p«rva<l«4 iat^r w«4ieYal 
th»ori«>«* Tfaouiih th« anei««t8 h#ld rit^-ldly t'? t^he clijptrlii* 
of decorua in it .y i:c«,/iiflcatiOBs, .i^ a-j.s cu.aiej.^ tic4, 

«• iHtt havai seen, witu artistic itAd ethical u&tion$, atii 
1*,©r«fore, t-ie nr^alities ol' sincerity ^? l??t7 vr«r« 

ta«'xselv«s x«tei.=^a '.a«s aactrinei. ir ;>r tat arjciwnts, 

rhotorie w«is y«t a in»£n» to an «nd, but in the Hjedieval 
period both rhetoric ani ooctic tended tn bPcnTi« a s-jt^itlt it« 

^, 't i . 

^ . 

s .i 

.1. ^J 

•:' 4 '■'[ 


for original |»o«tic vision and wo fiiic^ old thoaoo r«vlvo<l 

and genius ai^ont* on the Terming of ecmplicsX \ OAro<» 

fullv %*rourht r>oetic r>?.ttern» Thus w*, obserTP the rre;5t 

,itt .;!:itX0i:i giveii Uc^ _„„„,u-... '***'^ .,. .2. ^^ wall ag 

< ^^tQrir>%^^ m AS we noted «*bove|the *nci«fit ^rstood 

under a.mpljll'iCfer tt **tO /-•Vf-l,'?.' ftirf.hdr* i.«rf ^t.n r1v*» i-»*ft8t.- 

•r iaport&rice" J the Kiutiife «gei la sii**t oiiij «* ««iajS)8 

by i<hi<^ '^t© oroloRfc the jsaterial*', t<> <j'>BtSnue «kji?l to 

found miway Aig.ure» ttitau^'n whicri ti>e »tr«tc«iing of fiusiteriia.1 
shoultd be »ad_«. Th«.lr T>re*teri ration s>ten**t ^•tyle snd »trle 

which we find the loagest «iid siost eo!spl«t« treatsient- To 
tiic is^iddlt^ Ares rhetoric laeanfe aainl^ & teaehln^ of atvle, 
Geeffroi a* Uinsauf aliovfs 112^ verses of lais tp^itvi^ .;-.oya '^ 
to watters of style* The givln£ of three fourthe of hie 
tr«-''tlrTS trs a di scu«»slor. of thp figures of «tTle r.hw*-? whatJ 
on autstiiXi'diAg isBpojfta.fict sty-i?/ ;.«tisjii^ae« nei^j rar rhetoric 
oad poetic. This will be «lifleue&ed is further det&il is 
eueceediui' "?•' ■■' ■ 't *• r *; , 

¥iti» %-hit atiiGiente It wa» iaiport^iat that prcrprl«tjr» 
fNgLrtleularly in the u»« of esaotioR «a^ other asnects of 
delivery, ehouHd be ob«'^"'-v«--'' fr ji.^—^t 

would be iKpresistjd with the <*utkor*s aittcerity. i^xceasts 
would iBsaaedi^tply rend<-»T both ac-z^aker «uid plea «w,«?«»«C!t» 
Vlhenever t ..j..tng» of >«<--f "•-' - «» 


x'.i ■: 


obvl-v!i5 it at -^ncf slmalpd « lack of f»lnceritv« W« ik«ii« 
tioned abova tiic 3ophl lll«t»iantfc acrioi^rs sec-^jus* 

of their groja «xc«as» Th© v«py name aophlst signifies 

from the hostility taey incurred, ...iiaii«ri.y^ tii€ .i.i.«x.ari- 

driaas were hi riticix^d* Ex««sa in diction, eoapositioa 

Bjod €¥-«c rhytba sttgfinit©^ arti^^-^^'^lity, bftcauae It of^-'^^^^'^d 

tfcp '*co3f.;:;.o» reality* whl«h B«pK3ur«d' art. 

iRoat ofte' urc' fACws-i-i "':;j..' -ii!' =^iC'.i. "'^isr 9U9?>ieion* 

Th«ir greatest !>ersu8Lsio« occ^jsrs whtin th«y cAnnot b« dis- 

tl.n;r*';is?i«»c -as rirwrep. , byt ?;rt^ ryo^rdir-^tt*'*^ t» th® 9ituf.tlon 
ana tne eraotior, li -^a«y ^src si^uciea anr; Qrv>-/-, ^v ■■.;•*. 
ttr»t«g«'"';. 1» »«3p«ctt<f« 

th«or«ticslly for the Ki*tursi, tne tifjcwine oi decnrai alsied 
at this. The gr«*tfeKt artistic »chlfireTa«nt i« suetain^d 

t« FroJtt ttift desire Tc^r the naturAl eprang their prin- 

ciple of VDriety. Th«y advocated v«ri«t7 Ic the us* of 

all clesaent" "" ^tyle. The clAwsie**? ■■•"''•^**' ■•-^T'-'5'^ipi«i€S; 

and <mlarj:'?d the firar«» and trooits in ord«r t,o austaia 

th« nat>ir"»l. by SY'jidlni*; th« nsonotony ©f ovf^rus*, tfea aa«d- 

ieval >-x-Lwi=: ;i5- gQux.iv A u"*'^^ "" ""^^ty of flfuro- *- ordar 

tfe«t t'aey alght aclii«*'« ^jraat^r srtiftic intricacy in their 

o«r»fUlly d««lgn«4 raosaie* for the aneiente, rhetoric 


l'.' . ': ' 

!^'-v>.-' v^-'- 

''**■!;. vi.i 

. *; .<-..* 

■>'. ', 

rMieiR«4, in npitm ot i%m tmemmt^m tmd abuses, t)i««r«tieallr 

ft aean? tr> ar. prtrt. In 5o«try it »«« an aid in tiae projection 
of Its for^ViAi JjoaAity &n«i tft« snhtle sliadlisga of «aofclon. 
Hh^torlc md poetic b«»©a»^ in tiae Ml«i41« Af«a «« entl in it- 
»«if &Rd, «<xc«Tst for %hc r«r« and fiu^rier artist;?, f*ffort 
*«» s^ftnt on th« «IaboratloR of pattern. 

In ca»«a tn« Rofsaa «pplic*tlo» wss tt®yi»ow«r 

than i*hat wa^ int^- -- by th® ar««k». thla i« perhaps tr«o 
«oat narticui^rly in their rigid aopiieation of the doctrino 
9f the "virtue***, a« 3<ften In Cicero, Culrtilian r4-fffi»yj 
litfcl« from his*, fhey ooua ei^i!>iait0ti&« tnn i^u^i' t^ttiin^ of thft 
gutt«billty of for« to watter.^^ la f^nsral, th# d«f#et*? 

©f 5t^a» STli^it wh*R th» virta«« «r« osrrlftd to ex - :.( ■.•.i^j 

th« lack of *roo<i judg.i.«rnt, ' The rftlatian of rhetorical 

th«ory to everyday lift is oxttl&itad by 3»n«ca th% younger 

yhen he tr^r^^fi ♦•be d«f«ct» of iiterature co tii? -■ " - - 

cadg-nc© of tfe* fcijfi#?»<, Sueh di»eai<l«tte« affuetatJ th« Xit«r«tur« 
an t*«ll ass daily life, 6of«rOt« aros» frc?s th?^ d^sir« far 
H<^, This grew from tb* monotoni- .t-.£uxtiKa iroia tn« 
rather ri^rid att4 for^allatic «so««t of rhetorleal theory. 
The «5Cten«lv» rol« of oratory in the er^ctical life s^non 
rendarod eoa«onpIaee »any manife-i&.,iioiis of rneworicai 

Th» Btost ee>n>rletft tr«at;nent« @f Ane1».nt r-'ipt. -(i-ic ai^ 
poatie art aoman, ijia yet a tt»orr:>u^ uodarstariviiri^ i* »iot 
ponslblr. without r*e<^tir»a to the Heaianiatic writars. It 

■^,:..t : t '2 j? ;■{ ./^ ? 

.ii" ■, II? ,,>',': ■ :i"',l :*.■.; -^, >:*'''" *(4 

;v. ., 

..if'.v 7'/ 

i '. . ■ / : 


r.s-, ;■.■'-■ 

', -r \:\'% -''A 

.1- I? ft-f ■» 

* V ^f '■;;>•■- '^ w' i, *:■ 5 .'- 1^'^ -^ ■ r 


ba0 b««in 9ho\m that rhetoric was a d««p and »«rv&(ilng forc» 
with rO'^ts flrirly Imbeir'ad In r>hllanf>r>hv_ In^ «th1*?K .irid 
e»«n acuapujip.ics. -las: iT«:i*-s» U\(i u^eas of Si>Qietyi it 

b#e»9i« „ of life. By it .-.treat principlr. aedj 

nobl« catta*3 w*r« w-.-«n ^y i^sti gr««t Int'titiutioi}?! --^^.'-^ theor- 
ifta were devsio ■ -. -iad isaat«iR»4, It 41r«ct«d tii« ««tur»e 
of oduCiitiaii, of art, of lif* 9Y*a* Th^ .ctt»aliy 

contribut«4 little tftat »>*,-- really new. Th«jy »x. er.tied th« 
Kcllonistic traditloa, 48kn*J tn«ir work was primarily tl-iat 
of orfaniaatior. and #iaborrttl-r,n. Thouyih fontt^T^d by ora- 
tory, b«?e&4ise Oi v. .=.« role it- pi.i\y»i xxx prac-^ical life, 
rhetoric soon began to doaloiAte all tor exnre«aioa« 

It is in the -iii«tt«r of strl«» t^.-t w* ftr?.-' the 
gTea-fcfc.Qt ifiiiuanctj .■>£ ela^jsical rheta^ric »a J6©a.UY.Al poe&lcss 
A survey of the history of the 4ev«lopa»«Bt of etyie retre.^il» 
t. .Ithrr thfii CtrfeisX?! nor i>>f^ Ri^iisanc, •"jri«!is.s8«rf :* clearly— 

a«rir.<ivi Uieory, 

The exaot nature of tlie origin ©f the fanda^antai 
olaaaificstlon «^ < -T* t. t.- <'h*' three ^^&.5or di«tlnctioBB 
need not concern u?i iifere, ' ' taou^h eeme freaeral e^'vameutji 
seeat in ortjar. By the tiijfie of Aristotle \;?« have a very coa- 
pr«h«%naive tre^tsseat oi"" v.jie attny Asneete of style. Origin- 
ally the divlsione oT «t/le, ^ ■_, j^i ■?, 

hmaiillg. airfjee »iiwt o«^ th«? n«*t,xir« of the act.i'^lty and Irt- 

powered persuasion of the orator* T hist« received 



L^t,-.---^-*? fy,^m !?*J«fe. *i fiii*w «... 

'•■■x; " ',"-■ 

r^^^, :.?-^-y^t.O.'r'^'- :i:i^■f^^• 

:>■ >:-f f 

■-:ii^f}^> ■' ^ v.*?'.'-;if ■■ 

'ijf'v^ ' ;-i '"% ■■■■■■■ ' - - 


-?■)!,;? -^c > i.\'.;.'. ■■■,?'fe,**" 


Bcathinc r«buk«8 for appealing to the: lov^r and •(sotlonal 

a)S.iJ«cta of Biafii, ■\,l© insisted that tiiR t»nteciT.m of a 



Cate --'ccsla re«t on ti'i« i«cfcc only* To oxcito tii« ©aiotions 

inas to cloui^ the Judgiaent* 

Th«i Stoie« w«r« responsible for ?-■»- r«t4iual Associ- 
ation of the plsin (faugtili^ ) style with f^ll&imphy » They dis* 
liked the ornament of rhetoric and were «)ore concerned with 
mstter than with s&anner of expression. Soon the gr^nd ( fraind" 
iloQttas ) style was almost exelusiTely associated with the 
orator, and the plain style with the quiet, lo^.ical dis* 
course of the philosoy^icfr." 

;iriAtotl<^ di«tinguiahed between the oratorie^U. 
style and that of written co:aposition« Written composition 
included poetry, hietory, and certjtift or..t.orlc<&i. exerex&es* 
These exercises were designed for pleasure; panegyricfil 
oratory v?;j.« sxceedingiy elaborate, ^ Crdt lieeir^se was 
given the ^.^oct regtarding &is use of rhetorical figures, and 
this privilege was clained also by the epideietic orator 
who made excessive use of am'^'' ^ ^'icatlon in contrast to 
the eiore sober speakers of deliberative or forensic oratory 
which demanded ele;^mess and exactness of detail* It is 
here we see the fundamental importance of the direetive 
principle of d«corua, the consideration of style in regard 
to subject -Tjutter* These broa4 divisions of style underlie 
the many ratifications of the doctrine of d^eoruffi discussed 



Aristotle «4itf th« ne«d for a v^iriotv of styles; 

it Is not until l^tcr, ijowever, tttait; tftc aoci^r.' ^ >'>'^ 
thr©'© etyle/". w«is farmeii* It Is probable that the dioctrln« 
of d«e0r«i« »*>'■« *•/?!« "a^an" vir-re'. r'r.sir»^ns»itele for the develop* 
a«nt of the ^ia^^yXe style; b^u'or^ lo»g w« h^vQ tkr«« distinct 
stylos and spoeiflc reoomctiiadations for certain types of 
speaking iuad writing ^kccording: to th*^ rfnciplo ©f decorua. 
I'houih tl5«fr« Bemts to have been son« «ix'fi«uity in defining 
tho silddle style, this was « convenient e^itecory in vhicb to 
pl ce t^iose virriters and orators who did not fit with eese 
into the specific re>i^uiresiieats of th« other two s^tyle^s. The 
distinction between the plain iia rT»nd styles, however, 
was clear. It was easy, .^Iso, to rfccofei*.ifcu vac, xaaxts 

of the«e two styles. The excess of t^c one beea^tie dry and 
thin; the other, bosbastic iir%d florid. It was the trrand 
style which could use fiilly tr*«i e>.c<eliettt r«&ou«^c«& s>l 
rhetoric with it» multifarious fif-are® smd possibilities 
of ewplificatlon. 

Chijuffh the tiir«?fc styles grew out or oratory, they 
soon were applied to poetry and prose since critics estim- 
ated the poets in teras of rhetorici^ theory. 

The plain etyl€ with its iogicel clearness was 
c«m»idered beat for Instructiori. The £&iddle style, char- 
aetorisied ao poyc*i3eiai. »?BC»oi»uutei» .ittd dbarai, Mt<i» %i$ed in 
winning over the audi«ince, or at least, r^ivin^ pleassure. 

tl'ii' •' 


T'! -&-<■ 

:>^ ] ■/ -,, 

■;^ '!'■•.■'■ "■• 


*.=?,;;.;:. ;;■... ,\!»^- ' • ,.«/.. 




The grand BtfX^ was c»asid*r«d by Cicero asid uintilian to 
bave the sioait «!xe«Ilc»nee« Thl ua«d by th« orator «^iOS« 

ta«k was to fan tho esM^tions to life. ' This view is eon- 
nidered in the light of the |x>sltion of the " Off Ida riratorts ** 
Cicero believed 0e>^iostaeiiea to be the waeter orator since 
he used all ♦ihree etylee, suiting: each to th« oee&sioc« 
Diojrv'.rla-':' •.:-id thut the aiaaie s'&j.-xa was -ca© ossto «ny 

clas3!!lfieatio«i is necessarily IL^itiag, wbA Htui^xtllian 
eeemed, to recognise this f&ct Irs th® rfs3li^atif>-n that the 
great differei;c<&£ o;,' 8i.oqu«i;c& cos^d not duL'wi&ys oe iC€!pt too 
riiTidly within »ue» boiands* 

7h» qtia.Iitie@ of & ip&4 style v^ere fo«ir« Tliese 


virtues'^ vere elearneea, correctness, omatenees a«4 


appropriateness. The Stoics added the virtue of brevity* 

Dionysiue irvsisted that deeonttn was the mo8t ioiportant of 


ell of the virtiiee of style. At tiaies certain virtues were 

asaociated entirely with a «»eeific style. Sic«ro assifmeA 
eorreetneee, clearness anu a..;,>|jropr lateness to the plain style, 
and appli<:€l. ornatencrss to the oiiddle style somewhat » ^ut 
suiilnly to tbfi rrand rtyle. 

Acco.-'- -I-?-;.-.,, to .-irir.i,. -vtl<;, correcoa'sioa i^fas tim funoa- 

mental virtue of all styles. the extent to which this 

doctriJie beld aw:j.v is reflected in the saany re ' 

th© correct ci'ioice of v-^orv. .> '■'- .^tieal construction. 

The Stoics were p^^rticularly active in thsir treatment of 

viol'-'Mf^-r*!, Th.- fflult fit -' ffinrlf <wnr^' vms fi;-.ll*?d **b.-:..rb..iri3sa'*. 


'V-->-' J f-,^;v'j.'i(' 

5> '• ■-/'-':-■ 


and "solecisms", faults of syntax or idiom occurring in 

connected speecli. At Pergaiaon the Stoics had shovna special 
interest in grarruriatical and rhetorical studies. They 
were known for the parity of their Latin. 

Froa the eaily days of tihe Atticists and Scipionic 
Circle onv.e.x^d, the strict e-dirierence to the principle of 
correctness and propriety is steadfast. 'ihe purist 
raoveiaent also attests to the importance of this doctrine. 
Gicero gives great attexition to ''Latinity" in thfc Brutus . 
He states finally that pure Latinity is t^ie tasis of 
eloquence •^^' 

In criticism of or^^tors generally, it was the 
jjiatttr of correctness and propriety that was foridaoiental 
whether in the choice of word, syntax or excess in the 
larger element s of rhetorical prescription. They disliked 
UTiUEuai words, vulg,ar v'ords, ioreign v/ords. They did not, 
for instance, like the mixture of Greek cind Latin words. 
It was conceded that archaisms ana new coinages, though 
frovmed upon by the p^m'ists, at tiuies were thought good 
for stylistic effect or necessary for technical accuracy. 

In general, however, such innovations in language were 


anathema. Only viien the lav.s of good usage were care- 
fully considered was a new v-ord allowed. 

It cari be seen that Latin was slov; to develop as 
a literary lar^guage when any attempts to enricii tiiat 
tongue by borrowings frcia "che facile Greek language were 

'■ t ■; ; ' 

W -,1 V 1/ '.'. ' j 


. ■ • "J 


(^sulntilian realised th&t the purists w«r« arrcstixig tiifc 

developisent of the JUng-uage ^nd urjcfcd & relaxation of the 

r«strlctloEt9» Hor?ic<5, alno adv^**^ s^-*''^ t^^^« u»e »'>f the rare 

viford to give new foree, ti^iiu^:^i he ii>«t« u«irtji'ul to h&n a 

stilted and a»*tifi«iai po«ti« diction. Th^ spdki^a liiQ£;uAig« 

to iii;a w*-5 the i'-.-w*»^Awiosi for the poet.'^ 

Cl^^^arneas uras; eonnidered an esi^ential to good 
styl«f. Arlstotle'^''^sn'1 l?iter Clcera^^^ ^n<* <mtntiliaii^^^ 
gave «aph&»ia in tais regj^iu a.5> uxa i^-iv>iiysAUtf , ^,'aaetrlue 
and ^^Lonflnua". 

The virtua of orr44te«6a9 Cor the Jincients was 
eynonymous wit^i atyie. -J-'uia virtufe, aowt>Y«r, ix carrt-ctiy 
iinderatood wust be observed In t'ae liviltt of the doctrine of 
de««*uai and the c^^nr '.t of the ^fricis^ Orat^oria * ^Oills the 
pl^iin and middle &t>ies had their purpoae aaa chiiria, a 

place of alstinction rnid eubilTiity for m orator oouid he 

attained only by audience enthu.sla??«i. ^^ro^s TV.>^.-mhrs,^tus 

to ^uintilian '•^ tli® concept of tiie virtue oi' or*ii*t(ft£ies» 

was devflooed througii choice of words, composition and the 

UK« oV fli'urea* 

r-rn^tuis was achieved first by the choice of worda. 

One of the best wayrs to achieve dlstfjiction in viriting i»ae 

by a carfciui aKxectxisu of the beat word, io^e worda were 

rocogniaed to have « greater styliatic value than othtra, 

end it la not difficult to »e« th« part dictior. would play 

. :■) -. ■■ ;. 1 tj 'v':;j>'V' 

I- .--.,* 7 ..^ ■ , 

1: •,'.;■■■.' >.V 

■V 'iji 

f .:.' 

in an attempt to elevate a ap««eh abov« fche ordinary 
la*»guag« «f th*- na r,i-,c« in an effort to acnlev© rrand«ur 

aad power. ..iwiougu iicensr - '• Vllowea ins po*'. ■ •'^ 

oratc»r in th® ub« of »«tapiiors, «pithet» ^»d rar« and lai- 
U8ual words, moderation w««» ^ -^ ^ 'y»-5T«>, TH^ l.-^cfc- of 

decorum by tl-** Sophists led to AUi unr«.str'jlrt«<s aa*. oi' 
hei^teftef; dletf'm an-* artifloial figures which iuG\*rr«<l 
the ao.rten t-^iuiw'--? ■*-«■, o- v:.*.tlc»» 

Th^ poets ©Jijoyed f'^iter frcsctiom in fei'*«i u»« 

of rare or archaic y^or^^o Their skillful use was eosui&id- 
©red one ox t::i<5 ^, Q^il:i^ii^:'u^,i> oi »t-yie»*^^ T^ie sg«B# 
^T . & \fii.n given th«j r>o€t regardlni: nevi-Iy cointfd worda,!^ 

t-h.-Aurh, af course, h<5 nmst yield t.-f? dec^ru^t h-^ >^^'.)^ liot 
held to Kuca rifetid restraints, iaa«e?tri', ;^^& ^' -■' 

pro8« or th« orsitor of the pXiiin style. The wie ot %nm 
mitStphor was di?:?^"-?-*-">«^ '**t ♦^"e^'sth lens^t?? br cl'j^^ssical rtiet- 
orlclana* Arifetotil**, la p^irticular, 0'' - "' '-" 

by decl-'iring it to be ^ sigri of origins' -^us." A de- 

tailed analy?.!- -'-^ows tr«-'-- •vv^ftf^'^^-nfrA ^-nr the ^r.-ir-arti'^n- 
al metaphor and tij* typ«^ Oi iiitwilectuai. pl€i*sur© 4'ariv«.4 
frorn its use. ■^^'articularly ijstereeting is tho role of tho 
creator ■- x^i^i.moc in develo-'"^" new vl*-1:- - h-k '^hawinig 

new relations and affinities, K«r«, too, tit® i«iw of deconw 

directed th«» nroecdure of judicious use. The r«8e*ablin«o 

cannot be too ot^vioua ' nor &o obscure &^ ''■■ '^iailrtijgh the 



., ^ t ,- 

->av' Vii" :••■•=' 

,^>. y. *^*-,v-;; >:..-;• 

(.. ;Sv«-. "1 -:''"': ?-' 

\:''t , 'H i' 


pX«a3iu*« of th« h«ar«r by leaving hla In nystcry* ~ ' 7 

trar* allowed £r«at«r scope b«eatt«« of the nature of tuelr 
aeterial and their habit of keener vision. Writers of 
were not aiXotma i^e ex.ercl3e 01 sue.") £u&&i.&&j.« «• ^ It 
oniet be resHH&bered that prose did not CiKa« uit4er the e^me 
l^vrs as rM>«try« The cSlffererieee, h.-j.-wev**?', wer« eoneem- 

e4 wltii a^if^unt ^md de^rr^e re^^^rdlng »u«! atc-^ ol the v<*rio«ui 

eleaienta of style • In the fi|:urea aa4 tropea tae potts 

were allowed a louch greater freedosK. t' «v ■vi^v-^ profuse In 

slffille and ornassental epithets, uareetralued in i«ete|siior end 

flguree of thoufht «fi4 diiction. 

Exces;': -•■atjfij^c-- - ; •■•»iriott» mrt^sft whether 

in kind or number for the writer of proeo} the poet, iiov?ever, 
exercieecl a freedons of Hie ow^» In this aatter„ <i«?eor».«a 

rested on vbether or nov. i..u -; »ii,t^ ->r auttepboi* wss, uue 

proper nedluai for the exp >f th© ^wlter's ei^tloa* 

^Lonrinus"^*® refe?rs to "harsofiT of speech'*. fhia 

Is .'inc'taer aspect of s^^ie coasidercic jLaipor-i.aii& fey cia.-^ ■. >.l 


theorlat*. It concerned arrangement and order of 

eosiposltlon* In poetry it was coja-nasltliixi ^*h?!.i2h -.-..ife- ^raee 
end be-Auty to the v&rlou;i. coajstitueiits oi s.;>e6C{>« it ^itve 
lan^uaee a rhythn and evennese of flow* In Its iRubtl^r 
eepeets coaaposition covii^j Viy j^^enipulation of -^ j.v "j^ tone 
down or even eoneeiil si ;M»iraii or eoiBi^ui v^rd »<ati a^vi^reet in- 
tricate and saeanlngful harakonlee* :iklll in the psychological 

t a 

fif-vU -■ 

Z^'-X^Kt^ "• V. .<• 

.J;>'-vJ^,-?<:-iV . ^. - '-. ■.v'''-» 

I :■*'■:.,.• i". 

rfsonious arranpcracnt of vs^orde was v*at distinguished 
tne- ^err^fsff of 'loetie '"enius. H«re t.h«^ old HTpymvnt of 
art Vfcirs3us aai.u;> ■■«« it» fascioaiViAiii:-, u«-,au» Thoa* wi'v.O 

aupp^rt«d fciwf eiaiaa of nature an^ th* natuT'ni proaaunc«d 
an.-it^eTr.ft ^n the whole art of co^.-t'Ositi!>n. .'ijintilJan ad- 


law of euphony held s^<*ay, Clo.?5«ly tied with co"'inoaltioa 


ing that coaaideratioa was eivisn to tfco ides that at tlT««» 

©uphofiy should b« rej«cti , *?^ effects. Varloua 

aaotiorial effect?- g<»u14 fee AttAln&^s by « »iilXl«4 mrr&nge'- 

»ent of words in order to achi&ve a harsjhness '^lieli ral^ht 

be e;rt;rcsi<ply effeatir*,**'^ 

Xh« fij-'laneid rhytiiasic; effects ^ich pei«?try was 

abl- to nufstBtn was insslt-ated by mgjpy e^^a'iy proa<^ writers. 


luiyU.m Wats liitttUI'^i '=iC? auA* iUu-WiSAWJ' Oi teisOtlClSi fceSisUied 

to ruytlisiic expression, anr; recurring \ :■■ of poetry 

TjrfivR-' {;^ii'u-ntly ablp; to sustjiin inteiise eniotional uttwr^nces* 

The proc4> writers quickXy learKtad iih« pofeier an^ ciusJtit- c 

of iT.ythm, and in hu effort to bria^ beauty to tli«ir work , 

^ 124 

Agitii-i r,*44» doctriai of deeoru* ruled, " as 

realized that excess *ndl /aiJudicioJS us« of rhythns coiild Y«ry 
easily daffe (t it'3 ns^r ^^■.«^,**5 q|> co,urae, it ^'^a all f.w> 

»; r,M^, •-:•(.• 

"■ r ;■',■-' "■■"v ? 

A': ;■ 

»!r^^/t . , 


•««y to ^ecHStt «o intent on rhjrthaic effect that vcordlB ««m 
unnaturally trfta9|>o««Kl« The ork then laCAea cxuri»,y and 
coBpactness due to piddiag for th& sake of rhythm.^ Cr«at 

art eonceal«4 art th«»n as bow, t.h6 .im^ist waa w«nM»4 

to gu^rd Jig,- urmatur&i riiyuimicai, fet'A««^s« ■■ v :•, 

tt««d a va of rhythms under the rule that different 

rhythas5 earriert v.=:^rtrfr...'r «*.otional v«1.u«. ^ Th« orator as 
woll aa &ti@ p&Bt, w«.& wbi© tro crtfe; ny pattemii by a 

Ciireful application of a varioty of rhythms* Docorua, 
of eourso, orl^'^* - *;?v t the rhythmical eliaraeter of th« 
speech bfe suit«d ti> the sttbjsct stiattor. 

Tbo rriany figtsres of thought «nd dietion providad 
a graat roaonroir «« .* so^u'ca of essbt,4.^A->aiia€at *v^vj. vihiob 
*o aecwre i^ elavated style* thmy w*r© th« way to aubliaity* 
Ho rhetorical pr«?«5orij?tioa was consider-tf^rt co?a?>l et,© without 
a» axhawstive disoussion and aui-v^-:/ at x^a^ miX^ire riioga*^^ 
their effective u«e wa« on«: of the j;r«at iiCcoapiishiS^Rta 
of tho orator. ^'■*" We shall isee ho ^.rn nf rtyle, 

particularly the ftl^borfetiori of scii«B6s ajaa tros^&e, tf^c-x-ae 
the basis of aadiaval poetic, Kvan for tfea Hallanas the 
fljTwrr'f. c«VG nav. 11 ^& -^nd oo>.'*.-r to laR^u»g«, a©^ 5'-: «i-t-T* 
provi.sed c«assi.«s« v«ri€t> b> givit^?; & aort of «^^ie to 
axpreaalon i«hieh elov^itad it above the co^»ao&pl&ea* th^ 
flfrur-ftfli of thought vif«r«' uBuswally f-^m.-'-rful lftstrtt!E€ut.5 for 
aaovia^ th« awotlons i>iai »trength«riiifi# arg««i©nt»^^^ The liat 

n *' 

. (■»-- 


of fir 5»r to fantaatic proportions, and 

ewi.*l'5erabl€ dlfferercfc ift th« nussb^r of possiible figv 


wiiu (,.*« correct 4«fi»Ui^- -" »->^-^^^ --.«r,^. 

In 3?o«ti*y awiny fi^ui'tes w«rb us<sa «^*ica ov<€d tl'jeir 
Txjwrr land beauty to tH# fact that they were founded in genuine 

eiGt-i-;;!.* The theorists. «i rhetoric develops ^ --•" -^^'^'"d 

■lad Invented nMV ones, ©r &t least immitmi a^w 
J-: ^- The nxmhf-r of basic and genuiiie flfr.ures ^-ae com- 

parativaiy ;«jall, out rhetoricians and erltlc? ^- 'lo^ti^jR-. 
tators on the poat» found th« larger the number of fip*r«« 
the easier ore r-retentloM?' thpir role. %«jri there was 

nothiru;' felss tney cauia always aisscovtvr ^s at^*-. .i'i^vu-e, &nd 
usually did. Think ©f the heated srltlc&l c©r,tr0Y€r«i©», the 
extend'*'^ ^^K.^t.^-ft ^^-slf*:-! frAi-'ht. frra^ of i;hcir ?3.g«r display 
of inteliectu*! su]»sl€tty, ^^aca c^s i^ hlga. degree of tns 
coatplicatlott of modem literary md artistic erltlei»ffl 
reeults from the .^..^.^ •'^■l-' '-^ rrit5e« ;n^.^ ^t-t-^^^t*? alike™ 
A hrlef ^l<iisce at t^e l'fijrmid<*hl& A.ii»t «»B,«i ii is «i«».ay to 
Imfeffine the lonr *««^ <!i«eu9slon» which ensued a» rhetor- 
icians and Criti«»'=-.4>«*»- ' -t^^*^.- .^ .V ^.^-....^r^ Zr-s^^.n 

?m<i fiiaares and specifes an.^ clais»ific«tios5a'"'^'' ..;ai.i'itiili»«j 
for instance, frankly st^^te?^ th**t he h*® nr. what Cicero 

iseant by " rel-Jtio ^.-*-^^ >,..,... ,x. ,:.--.-'^^tt?»^ °^ 

tropfi.'*''^ Caeclllua clftsiiifie?^ it s» a figure. : arison 



I ■'■',-. i.- "• o 

•■■v^ : 


of the Yarlott? rhetorical trcist; .y such instances 

of di^Tf ■ ^::,iC9» in classification* 1% is tru*, aowttv&r, th^tt 
th©r« 1 €r eon9l!5t«ni& cl&s«ificc*tioa la Cio«ro and Qula- 

tili'fr « v^vor , 3^4 H^rtnniu^aB ri- iHnirthv list,, but. nrt«n 

■ '?fiit a,r« j»«culiar t-^ kiaii wiiwr,.*, .^uiiitiiirtU i» 
perhaps b«st aourc ,.* a sob.*? digeuaslor* of 

fifur-^y^ fijrs.i t,rfinK. .-, H^. fr^llr*-'-^ r:ir*.(:»<> very f''-" i.n t«r- 

ffiiuology aaa ci«ssii'ic<tttiaa« h^ C!«r©rully iurs^s «, r4"Stral»<»J 
«q4 proper usage, ;>uch .ith of orQ»Bi«&t and pow«r was 

a d«og©r to the yoxm. ovor-e-^'^*" ^'*--*:-'- ->■■ *>o*t« Nothing 

would ir.ctir the wrath of erltica t&m-is tam* «xQmsniv% itnd 
India cri^inatss usaff*, eotivene^^ caa* with wod^ration*"*"^ 

in «u©h excessive U5» of iigMrna vith llttl# variety that 

thf^lr work Iveeawe labored* unnat*ira.l siid ^ften obseiiro* 

This WiK . --iC sfcXii cx-iUiCAS ,.aa uOi't^iuuic i'i^iar^Sa 

'^0 find that in th« Middle 4£«s th« d&sir« for v&riety in 

fienrfin >r*^. «*??«ally r ■, In b-^ta t?crlod?:, however, 

eiifcCw was acnievca at tae 3*i>criiice Oa, cxarity auni propriftty* 
3o»« flgurss were relegated to particuleir styles $^^^ «osic 
were for rK>fsts alone »^ Thosir deelai-^nsrs *^o lil^*!?"***^^ t'flftd 
propri«!ty ^<re curtly cminortioi. by ^uii.tii.ian, l.ow foolisth 
to d«v«lon iind use figittres with nc d for aubjcet. They 

feuiotiott .*aii ^^*'^r^*ctr<i witiiaut rfe**! cc-nfit^ctlois with the 

-*vi'. ;•:, r""?;.. ?.■ .::,. ,x- 

i:,;,-?^; '1^1-.: -■^;!-': 

(va,. ?A" ■;,' 


-.5 i. 


iirlt«r'« thoiigiit. Thert dr« many hints that the aneimta 
had aojs© id«a of th«t psydiolof.lcail basis for figures, asaoei* 

iit'if^^ ty-i^'-f, »-•'«*>> rti^rtlcular feiuotions. kriat^&%Xfi, nyictof „ad 
Kfey>--i:ti.iu?a ^ vuif:tiii«ifi saov interest in this n^ion. Cicero 
does I it tie more thap 11 «t th» fifnr««. It is« with '*.^on^ginu•* 

tlldt- ■ I ' 1 .-j-jyo V....--: .-v.i. <?OH®i&l.i:;' ' :„-w.F.*trv i. »jii ;^^vahO«» 

logical 90\jire«* 

WOr€ fields? VAt-'.-i»«v ^%,..:,»., V'^i A'«.u»;-.i . ..i...iJi3Ags»j. •-;rAiris;i&;*i» 

aa4 orly a fevv acsttc^rttd rftfftr&nC'es can be found* Aneient 

crlti?*s v.-erf: ccrrcerne-j \tith thr: nsture s.rtd art of o^^trj and 
astters oi proae- style* Li&era-r>' cr-.-&iqiSJa. vt-a.^ a oy* 

pr^duvtt of philosophy, rhtttoric «is4 g;rai«Kar« It «;r«w fro« 
th<? nped of (!RS.linjf '*it.h rsrt^ln tvf Tfft trtil orobl <•!?,«, .^^urih 
a# x^'i^ pl9i66 oi' poetry it^ t'a'b ixi^ oi' tr«£: st&t«, i^nii tiow to 
improve th« practieo of oratory • la »hort, clMSoieal 


Rhetoric b«ld the e«mt»r of attention /It wan tVso 
tool o^" *•'■ "^ y.sic v'-"^ '' . tanoo in 

Attic life. It provi^ieci t,h« ter®* «uid sotuoos for critical 
studies in both oootry and pro««. **%© v^r of tho 

poetic ^^'x'^^ or ^r? |39>fit.3;aa is rhotori^v^^^x ;. ..;;,' 

Thif! is bfecaufflo criticlara aroso not froai tiae (i«^«ir« to dis- 
cuss litfTiitnm as art or to a«a.lyse and for^a tbe naturi^ of 
;4rt, Du;. r.>t.aiir out of th« it6&eiajj'i& to wfestlt? with }>olitical 

vjV'-r,.; , 

:;■♦; '■'''. 

A .. ■: ^.^T 

a«(t social problems to which nil hii^ ^deavor wii» aub- 

ordiaated. Criticism was at thi anifestatlon of 

tfc* ftatur© of the: Ore^k mi&d. 1^.e- <Jreek critici»<Ni l^vfor* 
he definea t-ae r.a&itrfe oi critici.»ai» iife bauc.ut & rational 
•xplanatiort of tUl&g3» aoa ventured Ifxto th« i»;^3r &e|»«ct» 
of srt ia-sBSEuoh as they relatftfj to th® social and ^^olAtlc&Ij 
exp; ■ ■••..^oa i« &«*ta.rai. ta SAfi iaaa saa is a, socx*-'^ i».ai.*ii»j. <» 

Th« ftiBtturai surtifitlc seost of the Kallfene 3«t 
hla apart ^ir.'i v*i»N c*s«nar,«iMr' far thfi syateaiatic develcnoment 
of the toolfi oi" (»rt» .-'iace tsjritor^v »Ay ai ^.i^t-, it 

was ineTit«bl« tb&t *,li« *rt of »»«iikiGfe *nd writiag anould 
doatond attimtt^K sn^^ ^^=^t- 1. ,i,'-i,^« fth;^ul.t h^ first 

f orsaulatod • Ita posltioti nL ii^^:'Of»i£«« olOkji if«i.'.».y*t»ii«» t<i 
all «'th<»r 8j'»t«, iu-ief-d, to sill h^imaa «ade«xVor, c*a eaaliy 
b« aiiCtei w-.>Ai.«.a, T^i« critical ev«iufttioa or literature was 
giiUged to pro^ido »*terial an<i practice for th« ar&tor. Hl» 
position in H«lienic life y»s st«Xlar» 

lae Ijlc •ifjiiii.i.^uw a<8»tiJ«?./j.« •* ..e.orisiiig, "»-»» 

dutt to th« profoundly didiictic purp<»e of lit«ratur« aad 
th« confusion of **thic?4l anJ lesthetic yalut*-*. ''h€ »t.^t« 
was «uprr';.:e, All qtie^tiofti> rtilatxv .*;'i»» w*j yiis-Aii^, oi' 

any kind, wer« colored by a »trong aad doteratined social 
Bora.lity« I^i th; Istsr classical age act;ivitv conaist^d "v.iin'- 
ly in tyatea«4tAiAi.'»^ «iia Assiiiixitiafc tr*4s cri^iCi^i, )^ai:.c>rwi,iCcil 
and artintic work of th« pa»t. 

'•'r.. :;>-,i^ :. :: :.c J.- '..'■ j i'''',':.t'A ^ / : ■>' 4'i: 

r ;jj /. :M 

';.■ ..■.'.< -^^i: 

.y: ,., 



Th« rapid and bi^ development of auparior art 

4md art forms attests to the natur^il artistic instinct in 
the @r««k8* Th» u»e of artiattiis #rj4««vor for ^""--^^ .^«.tf«<i^»>« 
««nt of society (stat«) far from thwarting the he&ithy tmd 
nat'oral develo«m«rit of art forms, rath«*r n«rl fl**- ... it- 

ened artistic ae^i«v«m«i»t a»4 fo»t«tr, pld 

deT«iopasent i« all fonaa of human #Bsl«^vor« th® controllings 
factor*, no -ioubtt, wsrrft their «min»« i»o««rs of lo'^i<»».l or- 
gaiiiizsition, aiicidysAS ina refleetioa .'^alch haV'" '^ 
synonymous with Hellenic culture. 

Vftifsn Rome flourished as th« oolitic??! center of 
tii« world, cTiticaX atici artistic acrc-ivity coue/ • inly 

la adapting the earlier culture 9& that it ialeht 
fulfill t-b*« T»iir^;)i-iS!r'.a ftf \1 1; rvrvr-^f act Wit" jjf ths i--. ... , 

TVi« Hoisani i.»Cr;.iag la i5,fer«€ri»l ti*e- piiilosopiilcai. ad.©ptrt*»» of 
the itellejjo, excitXled in practical and persuasive u»» of 
the culture which he inh($rited. He longed for & national 
euitiure; it« roots 'v?er« burled fir^y ia tht? rich soil of 
his illustrious predttee»i9or9« In literature t ;is is laoet 
clsariy revealed. 5ince they wsjre ssoro iotitaitl-"- *'^'^-" ■'*•- 
ventive, more rarfictioati than creative, Ro.aim eriticaii 
activity bec&i9i«s iitore obviously rhetorical than everi tho Greek*. 
ic consisted priaarlly in systeajstiain^, and disaesif&ating 
j>r«Rcriptions for the vsrlting of pr©»e and ?Joetry, Eulee 

.-'* r ,1 

P f:^ 


f.,? "iV;*...,;; n 

i<;> •■'- 

.^■? > 

ft, i 


'■f;: *• 


Wttre co<!lfiR'^ a.nd the. ~re?it lltRr-;ir%' aRhl ?▼<-.. (?i«jits of th« 
p*st. tiiu^Ur^wio. are 

-'i^ r.ot-'>.-1 -f.htt 1'T8 •r,:-'t..:4ft<T-% <3i^ %*^«» T^,- '; VH^ orator 

ajs lawyer, at<at«Ks»rtr», ^ducAit-or in Roi»&n *oci*»ty, A voXuOw 
lnmi« syste^n of theory and cr<=tft of speaking and writing 

r^-n4'^l'/ ^fv^'"'.'-."^'- ^ ;i*' '''^ntary of th^ ""-'.•• ?'iopgaiKit «>f rh«tor- 
ic is t.h« hi^tc^ry of critical ^&trtl»tiG theory in <Sro«k: a^td 
LatlB l(?tt«rs «n4 subse ratintlj' the bai»is of m^di&vo.! liter- 
ary th«ory .'*nd poetic. 


.y'.-'^:f>r*i^ r 

fi.:- v-*t>" yr- 


OK THi, MIDBLfi AGfci 

Ht no time during the ;fdddil« Ages >«as the tradition 
of ancient culture completely iaterrurjited, . >^'.v cf th© 
influential treatises or teachers was void of ainci. nt 
reference, either direct or iyuiirect. The state apsujned 
the job ox fcuucoitiori aurin/. :,- tl.ucs, and Ui.e worxs 

of Cicero and Quintilian mthoritativ©. With the 

frill of Hon-.e -m-l tb^ ri ^e of Christianity, the Church 
aesuiued. Tiiit roie ot *jauc;a,ur .nd was quick to adapt to 
its holy purposes the classical theory as exeraplified 
by Gicp " • '":' ^uintilian. Monasticisrfl ^rovidea c«;nters 
of leai'tjixx^'.; the liberal iirts, forming toe basis of 
clcissical learning iind ordered to t -mors purpose of 

the state, became the foundation fo; learning 

which cotaasoniy converged on sacred uiatter. 

Thout-h ByzantlUTt! had becoiae the stron^;hold of 
Greek x^uiuing, tut . iso'-trn civilisation by iidopting 
Latin as its universal literary langu<ig0 had adopted 
also Latin cilture and throu;ii it the synthesi?? of Creek 
ac-ii'-ve-iitiit • .'-t;ral*s coraparxson ox x-^t^'cr ."aeuicViiX pre-' 
scriptions with the. rihetorica ad iiererjaium srjov/a that 

rhetorically no detail of clDr-sical th&ory of style was 


lost or any coniiiaeroDit &i-<t.» 



r'yX : Kr^. 

->■'■' '■ r~ 


The rhetoric oV Imocrleil Howe with aimo n»ircly 
persuasive kept the convent icmal definition:; and aevxccs, 
but retained also th© excesses and errors which had be«n 
conderaned by Cicero and -..uintllian. Decorum, Instfe^d cf 
embraclnf o- wise ana .;udi clous use oi etil devices and 
techniques as safei^uarding orgyn5.c unity through 

artistic restraint, connristed in ^-d.^otinr v.'orr)?-. r,nd ?;tvle 
to -iiiifc;rt!:iccis in atation, 5i£-e imi; sex, Thti f;re«t«st 
esi,j>hasis was placed on an elaborate systetaatiain^; of figures. 
I Ti a n a F'C vm en in f, >:• i r ri 1 1 ori '•• ; /.. ?• I . c '■<■ 1 n - - n • ' -^ ■- »n the ■ -^ ? •-■' >o se 
Oi iiierat;* astiitialiy priacticai, brillirmcs und 

variety of ®tyl« became the raison d*fctrc of literary ef- 
forts, VJu- Ic^rgei* 'hilo r>"fn '-- 1 questions of eiirlifcr times 
when rhetoric was a way of lift «ind a system of cuitur« 
were discarded. 

The ut ' ^ • vj-iicn the early Fathers ■■m<} other 
Christian v^riters put rhetoric did iittle to reclaim 
its initial place ae thp basis of e llbe^raX education* 
They, too, eavrloyed it 'id .. u.<«ris, it « sy ui r'^aiitriug 
vivid and itamediate the word of God. Later as it c ■ - 
to form 'f.Vxf' b^fjis of the triviuia. it still -enained 
casentjL.iaxjf <, •.«ti;rtifj:-., «'. logical tool, ■ \ --rx-^isii:. skIII 
to be mi.sfcered in undergraduate diiys, a barren study of 

Under :■ fo. .i!j,.4t,, . or ^^,r~i-'fu*..,-ir, i,e a criers of 

■■h • ,c 

:/'?iu-.7^, ■.. ' V (',C(>» 


'i ' -'O'-Xif 


-v«'.t ■•■•:;],. ■''•'..;■'»■ If .; ^ 



literature viewed style as technical cirtistry achieved 
by the mechar ical ur,e of devices in order to attain var- 
iety and oriiciteness in expression, Amplificatio . wnich 
included long descriptions oi character and landscape, 
antithesis , sententia . exevaplum , circuialocutio , apostrophe ^ 
difcressio , formed the key to the lengthy treatises on 
style. The devices themselves were i?^ood,but excess and 
muiscrijiiinate use led to an ornanentation anc exagger- 
ation v^hich was so artfully satirised by Chaucer. " 

This mechanical conception of rhetoric persisted 
throughout the t^iiddle Ages. iVhile the grammatical works 
treated mainly the technical laws of language such as the 
parts of speech and tne proper use of words, they also 
developed in detail the figui^es and tropes as well as 
iftetrics and style; they were, in short, com/oentaries on 
literature. Diomedes describes grainma . xitteralis scientia . 

Poetry received little attention apart from the 
general discussions in grariimars. It was no longer studied 
c(b a jr^i.'ox .iUc subject ivith a doctrine of its ovm* This, 
of coiiTse, v,ras a coaiplete break with classical tradition, 
for thoUj^n elocutio gradually dominated the theories 
of ij.texMoiATe, the oucxtuT,s did not confuse the t/ieorebical 
distinctions. In the Middle Ages poetry was almost alv»'ays 
subordinated to rhetoric. Isidore of Seville in his 
Origjnes liost nearly captures the classical ideal in 
classifying^ poetry with theology, since both spring 

.xi.'?. \'. 

'.'■- I:- 

,.s ■/.„...•»- 4 i. 

., „ '-iV 

«'^». >r f 

■;'<■..■ .''<'■■' 


fr o oligious instinct* In this h^ .QnXf 

aware of poetle as ^- -nal religio -asion In 

an a?;© doreinatcd by tn« dtvint^, "The noct rouukeis 

true storit^ri into 30Ht€rtttiJi& new by mearis of i^^arination 

and ornisu-^ient.'^ 

iihi>toric, it 3©t;is, wtis store and more limited to 
'(lyttera of et^/le in ooetry and prose vftittUiev in speaking 
or- I.--; ting, Poetrj^ .*... -ne i^i^ri-n.,- A: />•:< hecariie r'l^/torical 
Vferste. That the ancients iiiaiiit« i tiitoreticai distinc* 

tion is reflected in the consistently -^te treatises 

for ooetry ..i.^^ ■...•,*-t;, v>tough ^ it *.'' . ^..^^^.^ 

toward zm elaboration on owitters ox' styiB» men i< 
atui^e renerally was conrrldered, the v Ivan a 

The ios3 of tii« or>hical view of literature 

criDred t!ie tlal differfincea between rhetoric "md 

poetic L'> air; 3 ■•.>.. J ear iUii'in^, tne i>iaax« Ages ana :ucrg»e 
iinder the title of pontic. Therefore, what survived 

%<ere taostj rul«8 mid aactriiics o* i,aiii-,u^g« wivici* were 
woven into an elaborts' tefa of devices so org^anised 

an?.' '5^""-- • . ■-...isily aveiil'b'''-'- ^'-^r '^--"ry 

applicittions. it -.jas, v.iien, actually a praioticid. tsiid 
sopiiistical tendency which did most to preserve the 



mattf^r wiiiich fomed the elaborate poetic prescriptions 
of the later Mddl« .».iifes. it .vsis, however, a tendency 
soiaev^at inherent in the very nature of the fflbtterial. The 

oil cuestioK of art versus nav .actually never 

ceau» •■: inspiration ana pottic visi.on 

without the artistic techniques to project tneoi into 
artistic for^? s^t. Jf;:rorae rf>ve:ilcd his ^■crrr- elation of 
the poetic b&cuty ana ..jowiir oi Uariciil^'i tauru^s vvaen after 
producing the Latin Yuit-'ate and other works of Biblical 
exegesis he r vfiv„,r.t p,'^ on the beauty of tha psalms, the 
prophetic worsva, Ute v^ong of Solotuon, f.ayin^i that if h« 
could but hat h« had learned, there would be 

born something unknown to Greece* 

Moirti^mus Captila illustrated the inclination 
to aileirory which later not only permeated critical 
endeavors, but &l3o asoUiife-,.-, .a i'.>uii.:..:-i:aentai role in 
creative literature. This prooensity toward allegory, 
in It?, early staler!, r^finltori fro^ aiethods of exe/'.esis 
UE'.ea ii'i x.iiii iutt,i-yr';X.'-ii/iv}ii ^s t.-^cred writin^^s* ihy use 
for allfefory aroee with the difficulty of bringing, sacred 
litsr^^ture *«no its meaninr? forcefully and clearly 
no^Afc to <A soaew»i«.xi ix^aiiifcrfcU:. i;';<cxt:t<y« Axiti..crv 
used as a. teachin,-; by Kil.^ry of foitiers, by 
/imbrose, Jcrorrje, ;\uf:u?-tin' end in,5:r.v othtrc-. Soon it be» 
casie the coaiiiCi; •. ..i ,• c.. :jit-i.iCcA iau-. r,';retoi\;»-Lor* xacxudi;... -^ 

::•> ■■■•' - .j,» 

■^ : h.- i.' '^;v5^, 

„. ,k : • . , :i ■■* 

J.J'':'^ 1 

,;-. . l^ ^^;- ;■: 


three-f«^1.d sch« <• of meaning: the literal, the typical 

-amu til*? •,Kj<"al, '.ll««j:oric0l interpretations ^t--:^-'- ^ •-;ig.ned 

to thft Aeneld as well e '; %o othe:'" pagrari writings. This 


was ?». cors-Tion r.hrl"t?<ai-i wy.y of r'lwwing t»a«5an literature* 

The extent to -inrxxzr- allegory invaded litsrature is conaaon 
knowl^d^e and is illuetrated by P*»trarch»s notion that 
i^llf^rory wa"^ the verv essence of all rjop^trv. 

It was true, pf;rRap!5, ti^at po^Jtic i2';ri; Tdration 
foixnd littlp chance to grow in a soil psrched by the 
wlnde o^ ^..-Idt-.v^"' mnfUct vnd oolitical -^.'^ rar^onal 
uncertainty. God, in tiie earliest Christian timeB, 
while erilarginf thP spiritual vision and openinp: the 
indlvidufj^ '.tr«,4'^ "-^.y ■>/-!f',.-i lr!/!'.-j<>1 ll'-.v . --i-^. t'T ■^■■^^,f- ti.T1« 
In His overpowering, aiajesty imoosea sunl:) rigid rt-striilnts 
through the f*iar of eternal damnation that it was seldom 
th^*'- tH " '•■"' Tr"'t" j'i-^'.- --.?■> cViur^ ,ii-.>.-^ >'■'■'''=' r*^*''^ ^-^Ti ••^r'-?5 .'3f>.d 

joy that catfte through the incarutttion, iortic vision, 
therf^fore, dev6"lcr>«'d saints whose poetry was thfe 

three-Stage ascent of myetioiaai,,-^ Though tnis hisbit of 
pf>rp?>ri3l «=?gnctity oer^^lsts throughout thf iMiddle Ages 

its rootr Oiey.riy embedded ir . ..-^.v .',....•..:.• *3 
earliest days* 

It is also true that we occasionally see the 
outpouring; oi such ci spirit jab, for exaaiple, in the 

• V v?v^r 

^••^ife,^.-; .'■ 

H f ,»'♦; 

;t'r;"=^-^^ •^., 

v-v'' ^ V ::■* M iV/ 

Ai''^^ -,.'ii' 

:: .•>;;"''■' 

ii. 'I'. • 

> ♦ 

.f ,^ '■ -^ 


poema of Caedmon and Cynewulf. Even when uch expression 
found form we note that a deep and solemn melancholy per- 
vaded the entire work. There was also, however, a firm note 
of hope. 

The most consistent poetic feeling during the Middle 
Ages seemed to exoress itself most forcefully as a com- 
munal effort* It was a communal effort that Vv-rested 
Christendom from the infidel, established monasteries, 
developed the liturr^y, organized the crusades, built the 
great cathedrals — a coiornujial effort converging into a 
great song of love» All such action? became hymns through 
which the timid individual heart could find voice to speak, 
to feel, and to know. A communal joy existed which rendered 
mute the pciixss of sacrifice, denial and pVtysical anguish. 

At la5>t au iuspiration and holy vitxori flooded the world 
with a poetic light which revealed every minute aspect of 
beinp; as a significant part of a joyful whole. This is 
the real poetx-y of &a-.v f^iadle ix:.i,es, Ae see it still in 
the Latin hyixinc, the psal&er, the cathedral spire and 
in the intricate forms of medieval religious art. The 
story oi tne Christian soul struggling to find its source 
and to express its love is a narration whose details reveal 
the vital note of individual expression v."nich unified by 

,\r.J:; ■: '> 'v-'j/.-ji w',;i'- !'!''■.•:;♦>. •".^iSyVf 

f'Ji. !■''■ 

'i'Jt * 

■' ...((^■■.■■:-r'> 

„>► a y- r'.i' ■'.' ■'. 


■■".-■' ji'J. 
V,.i :;. .. ri i . ; i,i; 

j;>:.. , 


vision Dffrged successfully into a icreat regoundin;; son,^ 

centuries to attest the vigor and truth of their vision. 

Aftf'i' .„u ; f t X J. i -^Xi uJia caruu^i ttari*^ '^i.x-iwti. j.ii tiiaes 
and throughout the 4lddie Ages there is little, if «ny, 
new theoretical doctrine concernin/^ coaimunie<ition either 
oral or writx^er-, /urpose, or£,aniaatiori ^nd eiaphasis of 
material csianged, but then purpose of life changed too» 
The? bndv of dontrir^i cnnrierriiTJi:- lit'~rrit)jr? chir.s-r?d .-iriily in 
volume v*n'i det-Ail i.ccordiRj., to tiifc <s.v^ilat)iiity oi' 
classical works on the subject. The teraie rhetoric and 
poetic lost r.^ e^nphasis in favor of ^rra-fimatica ^^nd 
dlalect.ica # i <- i^asis of educ«*txoa which during classical 

times centtHsred on rhetoric was organized into the trlylum 

^f*^ au^drivlum . The ;uatter formerly dealt with under 

rhetoric, coetlc cind grammcir was organised under tho 
trlviuia or the logical arts: graHitnar, rhetoric axii^ 
dialectic. Thouj^ eiai^iasis on these three ^spocte of 
logic changed from tiate to time during the Middle Jiges, 
th© body of ?i".at€^ri«l did not. The ciianit;© in ear?hdsis re- 
sulted i r-<j .i vii-t-.' ci.'.Jiif.fc xii .vut j^v;'-:. t' which th«:. :(iuttfr WsAS 
a8sij(fn«;d. Gra'LiWjtica und rrx-torica oest served the 


r, •'.•£.;'i. 

''!>■■*■■■■ .i,' 'aV" !' 

•*:', .-' ";sti>'W„ 

' >i ■;> '.;■;, r\ ^V'!;',!^ ii^ini'i. 


Interests of the literary Mat. Diulficv.icix served the of the r>hilosooher. ^.aiil'.tic, oolitical oratory, 
liter.^^v.t'ii; a;Au (Ohiioijopay vnTts aix eerved by Ciifc .■,..■(,;.:,•!- 
atic prescriptions of the techniques of lan<rudge, • e 
pur'^ose of thia chiiptcr is to show a^. briefly as possible 
tat! .uistor^ or gr&iri; ::■ j, rr*otoric suij uialfectic during the 
i'iiddle Ages until *ill three of thera tiifcrged ciuring the 
13th and 14th cor-turles into the ;.o«^tic prt^acriptions which 
i»#r¥fcd Cftaucer ntxc other writers of trxe latter Middl<a Ages. 
It v*ill be seer, that classical rhetorical theory for^>ed 
th^^ h^'-!- rurrxished the ;flaterial, classical i,f.t.vry 

i-Cf cui.iiiriated in Cicero, >«uintili«»n ana Horace ««nd was 
projected throu^i jonatus, Priscidn, nuguatin*, Boethiug, 
Isidore, -Cdsaiodorus, Fic^. . ^..;^::,, 'lo^cianus Capelic* and 

The ir.fluence of Roraan civiliatation 
longest Ai. --cu-i. Xi^ t/..i.;,-> i-iii.ij'^'j ^aa ciiictt;!*^ proviiic© 
the fifth cfcntiu*y aaw the establiahaaent of an institution 
which was to re'^^in the ureatest cin/vle forces in -re- 
iserving clissictij. cu^-^ui-u aui-iii^ tae iucuievai pcrica. 
Many of th« priceless asanuscripts froa th« libraries of 
the .sncient '.vorld foua'.: ci»reful refu"£ in thfe ;-.:,.. 
_*cr.->i-j.L5 ' wriyre ur»...or continuous a^jua Oi 'uor»**a tiiey 


, / .,. il.;i 

V ;;'»■( Wjt","",. 


multlplieri to sorve the great scholars of th« medirval 

world, af5 well as the gremt ifledlevai universities of 

later date* t'ittny --irriolcB have att ../v....-- ■ ••^--- -■•-•'*it of 

Cassicdorus vrfio airect*::* toe utllis&tioQ or UiOtia.stic 


lifesure for th«» preservation of ancient learnlnf. 

i -!v. 'i./riisiteC' .<.■i.'tii7■t«^rifc4^ ♦.!- t jv' -*=-;- r.«...i.. ler, 

Tours, Lerins and Marseilles. The schools of Gaiil form 
thf f'irst link in ths rrriSist chsin of in,r-«?llectuai endeavor 
v..'*..ich preserveo;iicaii c-.iu- • ::^i-c' ^vuo fledge of 
the classics both Intimate and direct vo^. fostered by 

■ i^ =;r>r 1 V":'' T^.i hi? clrclo. 

i-aso/iius was Dorn ai; jioriieaux, eauc-'i/ea tac-re and 
at Toulouse vhere he became professor of gratiwiar and 
*:'-a>y. <>:%:♦■'■.!••■? c; ^- u-;^ 1 st^-r- br^^u.-bt to Triv-r to tsich 
f,ry.jmfiar and rtiitoric. hiis yer; ■ '-' eiu-ii^jit a s.-^ii in 
veraification rather than poetic power, and tney illustrat© 
the curT*<«i'v, *,/^'!of t^,.:t; ->f>it^'^ w;^.s -^li-f^t rirlr; a'^plird to 
verf>e« iji<1eed, the iitferature oi tiiifa pti'ioa rovfeuis 
that th<=- ternifi £ra ;,.tmatl ci and rhetofe^ were used inter- 
cban^erbl ,■ . ician^ r.r-*h:.-^ci r ■^'V'-;s.r;->ed thensselves 

primarily vith nrose; graraaiarians, who were the professors 
of llt^^rature, were more clearly interested In verse. 
Though .uint.t*.... • istinguishc' ;.->'■ t,--.- rn^-tonjs, in 
Caul at thi?. tiT;e the frequent interehAn<^« of reference 
r«;veal9 that no ri^i'i distinction wais maintained. 

■V'. I 

? : ■' ;i „ i : .. 



tau,<:;ht both. 

In .uGonius can be oeen the linfrcrlnp: of the 
axicitrit sophistic concoptioii oi acyle as expciitiion by 
ornament and allusion as well as the boclnning of the 

■"■ir- val 8ov>histiCvyl notion of amolificatio which dom- 
inated la^ter raedieval poetic doctrines: 

Gura maxime nunc proloquor^g 
Gircurnloquentis anibitu. 

Addressing his p:randson he advised the study of Homer, 

.^j-encaidcr, i.-. . cj, viii^ii., TerenGt;; ^u<^ ^- ,....,. a... c, " Later 
he urced the reading of Isocrates and Cicero. 

I:.i Paulimx;:, .upil of ■vusoniu;?., :■ • =*^en a con- 
flict wiiich VMS to invade tac rcax. ..-iuoi-v^uurt; and 
scholar shi» for manyvstenturies, i.e., pa/^inism versus 
GhrT^ ■ ^ Aversion in about 390 brourht forth 

the statfciwent ta«t ijearts consccratta t j Unrxat Mere 

closed to Apollo and the Muses, His Christian vjriting, 

iiyv;;«jver, revtals .cly training' in the ancients, 

fflainly Virgil ana Horace. 

Tb>j controversy was reflected ifxore vividly in 

in the hiator rhetoric sinct , tasoived im. 

rilrjcsrdinr- of rjo'ohir.try 'md ^rec 5 otiiring the Platonic =*nd 
.irlGtctoii -n iCic;iJ. ;uj.«j,cit::, „J iciit^ucij^e 

in order en to truth, ideally, Christianity 

r>,, i.r.lQr^tc sophistic. , ^ cna contsmporary 

I . 'i 


social scene directing the course along which rhetoric 
and all lanr'.uage techniques v;ere to develop. 

Oraoory iV-ve w--.y i^o in which the lirgent 
task of religious instruction deiaanded the adapting of 
the higiil\ loocd classical theories of lanpruege to 
the holy purpose of planting "che reaxiii ox uou in the 
hearts of men. Nor was the early struggle an easy one, 
for the old order had its highly-trained advocates. It 
was xtfith adept rhetorical and poe^ '^ -rouasion that 

Synamachus, Prefect of Rome, attempted to restore the 


victory altar to the doiibtfi.v '- ^ -t-iary of the Senate. 

His text reveals his intimate knowledge of Cicero, 
Terence, ¥ir[:;il, liorace and others. Symmachus later 
invaded literature c^s one of v;u. ;>;..'t..«ivt;i;;. ia the 
Saturnalia of Macrobius, who projected the ideals of 
Plato, Cicero :ipA Flotinus and ^^aB very popular during 
the i'liddle «gt;s. Abelara, jt. 'iiiOiuas, Guiliauaic de 
Lorris, as v/ell as Chaucer, were faniliar with the Satur - 
nalia as v.'ell as the text of Cicero* s Dreaxii of Scipio 


which he preserved. 

Rhetoricians were not absent, and they reflected the 
vigor of the classical tradition. Fortunatianus wrote a 
handbook of rhetoric founded on Uuintilian and Cicero;" 
Julius Victor repeated the doctrine of Quint ilian, and 
Rufinianuu drew fru-). Cicero and Virgil. 


At this tiiiiG the recurring phrase "graLiiaariara 
and rhetorician" was used when referring to writers and 
teachers of literature and language. They were teachers 
wl . :)rks made classical theory familiar to the Middle 
Ages. Donatus, Victor inus, icrvius and Dioiuedes all 
wrote graivimatical treatises or conimentarics on the aost 
honored Latin writers. 

In the meantime Christianity had its powerful advocates, 
themselves armed with the lore and doctrine of antiquity. 
St. Jerome was a pupil of Donatus. His education at 
Rome and Trier .lade Cicero .ind Plautus as veil as Virgil 
his favorite authors. Later, during a period of intense 
religious fervor which could not reconcile itself v/ith 
paganism, he renounced the classics, a tnan of immense 
learning, he later erabraced classical culture as embodied 
in Cicero and Virgil, reconciling it with his faith. After 
founding a ;nonastery at Bethlehem he devoted his life to 
literature, instructing, in theology, grammar and the 
classical writers. He maintained a volujriinous correspondence, 
and his letters, irauijrit with classical references, viere 
much read during the Middle Ages. Though Virgil was his 
favorite, tbort-^ are frecuent references ^^ and quotations 
from Cicero, i^iautus, liorace, i i-^tio ana Isocrates, to 
list only a fev/. Extensive work in sacred texts produced 
his most faxiouc vrark, the Latin Vul/-:ate > Other trans- 


lations incli^-'-;^. Susebius, Irenaeus and the Canons. 

It can be i"fcu..c*xiy seen tn^t ne was a ricu ;.uaj,ce i:jT u-iw 

homilists throughout the Mdc. s. 

As ^.^.- ■■'•'.'-• rt^-rc'-c^-ntad the culniination of 
classical litisr.ary doctrine ao .vafcUstine stood at the 
be<':inninf'- of the Middle Ages as a personalit?/ of oower 
waotie xu.w.: ■ iietoric, -'- •• v i.Hu-tratc 

the general course meditjvai K,neory aiiu practice -(i^r, to 


In GDite of the striMi,, xAfluencc ..ic^r ■ •r,d 

Quintilianj sophistic rhetoricax practice wiiicti caoracter- 


isefi ."?o' doclaiation pervaded the writinrs of the 

eari> oiuistian centuries, luutifeu, \^n<j o^ajo x »tners, 
even Augustine, in his early i^-itings, reveals that it 


r-^.C'^^'e it. The stron:; feelin.p; a;«;einsjt 

pagan literatui.'fc was iu pax't a reaction .^.^iaiiist ii'j;:-.xatic. 
Althouf;h it pervaded early Christian writing the authors 

were u^.^^-^ ■■- ^-.> falsity. ^"^ TVu^ f^r^t r^tn-os v:ere to 
restraiu its excessive ^ i^ uui'n it to tate ni^^ier 

Duroor.e of religious instruction. 

, . .„ , te 

with tine's doctrinal tract on oreachiAg, Jb Joct riaa 

Christiana , based on Cicero." His repudiation of 

OOP iatic was cxeor oiiu x. , ■ ■ 

reveals a tendency ^prevalent in the «jarij i-ii j 


of learning skills Dy iudtation rather than through 
rules. This was especially true in hoaiiletic where 
there i.j.jr .< constant urging to imitate scripture and 
the e^riy Fathers • They learned both matter und nianner 
froai the sa.Tie source. The doctrine of decorum urged so 
forcefully by the oincient writers had gone into seclusion 
and was revived by Augustine and applied to preaching. 

It can be seen that Augustine* s application of 
Ciceronictu uoctrine to preaching biiCx-mf. -x singularly 
strong influence on the language arts durinn the Middle 
rtges. This is a vivid example of the way in which 
ancient aactrine -rvas aade K.nov»'n to succeeding ages in 
spite of the paucity of original texts. 

oince the skills of speaking and vsriting were 
learned primarily from imxtcction ra'cner than from rules, 
there was very little codification of literary theory 
during the €-;arlisr half of the Middle Ages, ivliat appeared 
were mainly gramraatical handbooks. Latter, the strong 
directive impetus of religious purpose satiated itself 
as it restrained the humanistic tendencies of science, 
and the strong per social and spiritual preoccupation lost 
its control over the human spirit. When the strictures 
c-T the Church were thus broken lio ''free^*' the human spirit, 
art and iiteratut^e turned again to secular subjects auid 
the sophistical tendencies of rhetoric were revived. In- 

.-, • "' 

,!,.:: '^ 

r , -, , 

>".■ .; 

,' !Ak 

..-..'i., r,' 

'i ' )■', - i. )." < X. 

•.i > ^' ' :,. ■' 


tensity and power of subject laatter gave way to the 
colorfi't b-rrmi.-iTice nf forx.. Rules 'md. systems of 
ary doctriAie v<ei-o revived in Zn- ix poetic prescrip- 

tions of the thirteenth and fourteenth centurieaj in 
the writings of Garland, Vinsauf, Venrln <*:^ .^nd othr-^^. 

Rhetoric for Au^sustine was more uropferly paro 
of the carri culler, of the undergraduate. He who had a 
large aaa eaj^t;rii' religious congregation to rriotivate 
could serve his needs best, both in subject and in form, 
by iiTiitcxtin/. the carlv Christian Fathers. He emphasised 
the notion thiat une Ciirxj&ian prcacn^r out,iit to ao^-ccti 
and persuade by matter rather than manner, a doctrine 
founr' ->n-eri in tiie claSv'iical v/riters in their notions 
of fona and substance. Oiw cannot overestimate tae 
role played by .iugustine in infusing classical doctrine 
into '' ' i--!rn/.s r-ho evidence of exlKtirr^ classical 
texts and direct reiere/.ice is not an accurattj ciauge, for 
the ricture is partial at best. The deep influence of 
Oi;ii''iL;oi-j.i.'. <.>uouui'j.L. A.>iDi.e, n.., - j 

Rorae itself, is the final answer to what traxispired during 
the Middle xeci^, 

ijopnist.r> coujia iiou .!..i.^ - ..^■.i.;;i-;. vv/.^.^ -^ 
the projection of truth in its infinioe variety rendered 
nale the su-nerficialities of form and :.;t're physical 


bri£,htne3:-., "'-■ vir^i.'^r h .hitn^illr o-tfindcri bEronri th& 

irainediat® woriu iriiio « VfOiici v»»i.icii viewea ■£.**& Wiioifc i^taxi 
in forceful and humble rela.tion to hie Creator. Lletic 

cto c; term reflscte^,. .^.^v, o.-m^^^;.^.^^-. -- :.ociet'- "-'^r;-. -iy 

,,i:Id. .no served to desigaate the coiitfeiiiporary ap- 

plication of rhetoric. This common body of kno\'ile6~,e 

had lon,^ achieved its permanence. 

??fs di.qcnr.r.Gd above the essential and oervadinf?- role 
of language ana its tenaency to coaxiicaT^-ion uriaer tsrius 
which reflect the dominant literary for;fi of the ag:e# 

Th ~ ^l... fc '^f ' '-.'dca-l l.rndr.n.'na r,t..-^bil- 

iaed zaa teri.i rhetoric .'.itn latex-* Qnit-hasis iii litc:rat?ire 
as reflected in such titles as On at yle. O n the :>a bli;ie 

in the ssrvice of the Church as it had eairiier be en in 
the servi' , /^erefore homiletic came to 

de£3i.^;?lvlOe GiiC UUCV/i'i.»'a4.. vi'^.;.' "OnC«i:i''nj.4:i; .L.^i'i ■ ■ • 

Diiring the later Middle kges when the emphasis on 
'~re?ichinr vMncd and the restlf^.sr- nnd restr:sxned s^^lrit 
rre&d ^tccj-x in uae vicarious e^cperieiicsii ox poeury,. 
literary doctrine assumed the title which reflected 

-icerja. Pontic; ruled suwrerr-e. 

■ , ■ ^9 

iL.ven tiife aoctririfc.. ytlves v.c;rt<i xn verse. 

The aiultiplt verse forms which ch; rised 


later age dfeEaoustrate that form ari'i f.''r.otlor;:d £?peal 

bscanie ends in theviiaeivti j ua u.. v;, iiuu uai"'iri^ tut- of 

deciacautiorx. sophistry again appeared and prsscribfcd 
the rhetorical noso:ics of tne later Middle ..jres 

the gui.ife oi pocory*. 

It is h«*r^ to estimate the influence of aartianus 



C«*peii:i ciirin- the ^^iidic A-r?-s. :U;- -vork. The i-larTia,?e 

PL Phiiv:iXOc-:, ^.zic 4-;cx'oury , ici ia lorm uUi exterided allegory* 
in a forai which represents a dominant characteristic of 
th-- ^-^iviaion?; o^ li'.'.rnlnii and in the :node which w^s to be 
c^iri«sG Oil ri^:nt tiiirough the wi^di'-: , i^iartianus 

Gapeila presents an encyclopedia of the seven liberal 


arts. -. ..:^. allegory represents the marriage of /■'iercury 

eind Phiiolog^y attended by seven brideruiaids personifying, 

the liberal arts. They include graKiiar (Ok. ill), dialectic 
(Bk, IVj , rhetoric (Hk« "V'), t^toufT^^'y (VI^, grithiaatic 
(Vil), astronomy (VIII), aiusic (Ia). liooli Y on rhetoric 

tak^-'s fT-oet of its exs.!::ple!? froru Cicero, Virgil and Terence. 
V.iv, pvcitioii CI racoOi ic i^i sigaiiied by the 
loudness of tine kisa with which Philology is grested. 
This ^'or-.r served .-'k .u tsxtbook for the-- -choola i-a the 

isarlifcr ...i^uie;c-s ^f^u e:i.artfcvi, tneroiori;, d iji^nx, in- 
riuence on education and literature, as ciin be seen in 

the 'workr: of C^r,siv0.1orus, I»;idor«! <i*nd Dedss. 

t^ a '1 ii:- ./:•;■:' 

M ■ ' .# i > I » 

^.. ■ V1 

;.' ' T 

, .Vi- 

It v.'a? "the sophistic troditicn 5.-: ".een in t):: 
fccncc-ia Ox ac.c-.ui— iv-o: •:.Cuea int i;;u-rriti^e of 

poetic and rhetoric. This was the tradition which an- 
i~ated the T.chc.c.l:^. o^ G:^ul. is rcflr^ntc^ in the 
vvor^v oi' tAi<. uario'^l«.ii uisiiopj oicioi'ii«3» .viilch was greatly 
imitated by poets of the Middle Agss, In. his easy use 
oi* RoQi&n sophi-.^. - ^^. ^..^ .-.. _.v^i2.,_ cj^./>xviu3t to 
Augustine, the spearhead and (jritcLl authoritative force 
of Christian rhetoric, 

two distinct rhetorical traditions: Cne tradition was 
represented by Sidonius and Fcrtunstuo, v;i;os€ Chri'^tisTx- 
ity was on the surfeice only since tneir essentiui &a- 
ucation and interegfee vjere clagsical and heathen; the 

sr.nor^^■ f.vr.r^.^.tAar . fintfiri 1: _._.., ,; -, 

ilj^Atary -'Xwifer6( .-i.Ciciw£.C<. v^'wij.JiuiJ.iau3 1 -eiUCiXUS 

Vlctor|who lamented the loss of Virgii. , ri 

) . , • . ■ - 

Led their stroni^^ ciciSoicai tsauc&tion to uhristiun 

rliddle Ages. His v/ork, InotltutioncG , xyclo- 

■c . rtianua Ga'>ella he treated the 

sov i-x c.i">. .voct;a iiiiii' -xulectic. 


the other half to the six remaining :;irts, though a 
considerably fuller treatment is given to rhetoric. 
For our purposes it is to be noted that his chapter on 
rhetoric was imitated by Isidore of Seville-^^ and by 



One of the last of the grammarians was Priscian. 

He ivas Icnoxvn to Bede, Aldhelm and Alcuin. His f,rawflar 
vms one of the greatest textbooks of the i'liddle Ages 
as evidenced by the numerous manuscripts which represent 
its oopularity. 

During the sixth century Plato and Aristotle lived 
on in Boethius who hoped to render thera in Latin and 
prove their a(;^eement on fundamental notions. Boethius 
was recognized as a scholar and philosopher and stood 
boldly between the world of ancient culture and the 
Middle Hges. He was the prime source of knowledge of 
Aristotle for the medieval period. His Consolation 

of Philosophy , comoosed in orison, v\ras one of the most 


influential worics of the iiiadie Ages. It was trans- 

lated by Alfred and Chaucer as well as by many others. 
Dante placed Boethius in the fourth heaven with the 
souls of men learned in theology. 

The sixth and seventh centuries saw the contin- 
uation of ancient ciAlttu'C throufe;h Gildas, Coluruban and 
Gregory of Tours. Coiuiriban founded the monastery of 


Bobbio x^^iich became one of the most faiuouE centers of 

Inprnin in northnrn^ . It: h -ri a libr^rv bo.-^r.tltr 

39 ■ 

axx. iiuncirea ana sixty-six (ao»nuscriyts, litcluciini-, 

Terence, Lucx^etius, Virgil, Ovtd, Lucan, Persius, 
Martial, Juvenal, Cicoro, .^...Jiv .■. , ^.x.^<^j, .;. v..^.t.i. t..> 
the workt a-ustine, i>t. Ambroae, Gregory's pir.doKues 

and Isidore. From Bobbio c o founder of the. t^on- 

aatu ■ '■. Ocilieii '-viit;re ro^,£;iu x:±. xa^j.u uioc;;v;_rcd 

the co-tiplete niiinuscript of Quintilian. 

Anothf'r ;iion;ist!5ry :Ttir> founded by ,a Dunil of Colurriban 
at uesbwcuii wear i'aris. Uert; copiiib were ii.acife; oi' i'treace, 
Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Donatus, i riacian and Boethiuis* 
.-.. u'-T- 'x^-.vmry of .'^n. '--fvi .- instit.-.v......... ...jad 

tneir inteilecuuai pursuits reveals the fuiidauiental 
role they played in ?Tiedieval culture serving as links 

T jf lijiaore of Seville was so esteeraed 

in the seventh century that the study of his Etysdolo/des 

rcplacGO. tac stuay ox the '/jrixiiu^ o.r cxassical autaors 

themselves. Though he loiew much of the pagan literature, 
^,:■; ■i^rmittf'f^ bis monkr. tn rpsd thr-. --r.-^ir-in^r.rlans only. 
Uio fere rk couprisea tw&aty uook*. iuiu illustrates 

the encyc Ic tendency of the , lany others 

vincient ox' dyauvais."^"" Xoii-ore wai* Ohe i>»aiii promulgator 

of the seven orts trjhich he summariaed in 

booka Oi" U..C. j^tv>.>o.i.o-..i;.;3 . nia ai'e peraaps tae ^i03t 


representative definitions of Krai:ii!..:ttica . rhetorioa 

^■''^'^ dialectica , illustrating that all three deal with 

the art of language and that they differ in a sense 

only in the specific application of techniques: 

The disciplines of the liberal arts arc 
seven; first ; ranuiiatica . that is, skill in 
speaking; second, I'hetorica for the splen- 
dor and abundance of its eloquence deeiaed 
nvicessary especially in political questions; 
third, dialectica , surnained lor ica ^ which 
by subtlest ari-'Uiaents distinj^-.ui.ilios the 
true from the false. ^2 

In Book II, he exolainr; the connection betXAjCfsn rhetoric 

and graiJiiuar by statin^, tnat la one is learnea the lore 

of speaking correctly; in the other is seen how to 

utter v;h t has been learned. His grammatica reveals 

the medieval habit of including under the heading, 

schemes, tropes and metrics, elements which in ancient 

rhetorical treatises v/ere included in the section on 

style. Later these elements were included in the poetic 

prescriritions of Garland, Vinsauf and others. 

lu uio book on rhetorica and dialect ica he shows 

why he was sought as the great source of classical lorei 

This discipline v/as invented by the Greeks — 
Gorgias, Aristotle, Hermagora, and trans- 
ferred to Latin by Cicero and Ciuintilian .... 

He defines dialectica ast 

The discipline designed for the discussion 
of cases. It is the species of philosophy 
which is called lo. .ica . i.e., the theory 
controlling definition, invest!/, at ion ;ind 
discussion .... Therefore dialectica 
follovvs the discipline of rhetorica be 
cause they have many things in comraon. 


According to the definitions of Isidore all three of 
the medieval discinlines included in the triviura are 
based on the classical theories oi ruc&oric and poetic 
v'lth fjm.-hasis on style. Hhetoric in medieval ti 
appiik;d ..ost specifically ou Christian oratory or 
homiletic; feranunar referred to the atudy of uottry and 
literature generally; dialectic rrew out of rhetoric 
as a disciplin:- which woula supporb ..ui... ■.<v-velop the 
.^rolix s<^olaGtic philosophic speculationn of the Middle 

The coairaonality existing in the studies ox uxit; 
triviura m/^e it difficult to discern the significance 
of the specific emphasis wit— t -onsid^rinr the ^^lace 
of the entire triviuift in medievui education, uuring 
th- r.^r^iy m<^-n.Q ivrcs the most im»>ortant subject in the 
triviuiii was r.ietorxc^ ; -u, rL.i.xtj'.i.'^;^ .. 
homiletic. In the tid '-s* i^oiu the 

seventh to ^i'- tenth c<^nt;ury, i^iaijruatica attested the 
do.nlnant interest in literature; in tao later perxou 
of scholasticism the philosophic interest gave emphasis 

to cj.Xciixi^00-»-ca « 

The .aonastic tradition wiicii doaiin^ittici viae; .acale 
. . r escorted itr reatt^Bt influence intellectually 

^ ■ .. r.t-.iMr-i : :■, „ Thcre- 

after it relinquished i podxti-ow to uifc &reat 


^: /• 


The Church established Latin as the universal 
liter - language ; this served to advance perceptibly 
the cause of learning. This period of intellectual 
grovrth saw tho erntablishment sustained influence 
of such eiiiaent inonastic schools as " V/earmouth 
and Canterbury, and later through the efforts of Alcuin 
and the Garollngian revival, the palace schools of 
Tours, Fulda, Auxerre, lieims, and many others. Gra'fimatica . 
consistent ivith its njedieval tendency, widened until 
it canie to designate the. study of literature, used also 
in ti e interpretation and promulgation of the littirgy 
end officRs of the Church as well as elucidatin;: the 

As v/e have stated these centuries ^ave emphasis 
^^ .'Trammatica . but a F.ramiriatica v«-hich included a com- 
plete and detailed analysis of ail techniques of language 
and applied the tro^^es and figures of classical origin 
to the dynamic , ixj. -jse of bringing ?nan to a forceful 
'onder standing of his nature, both human and divine. 
Ancient culture far from dyinp; ^Adth the advent of 
Christianity vjas preserved and given nevi proportion ana 
meaning related always to the immediate oersonal and 
social r^eeds of a civilization intent unon widening 
its mental horizons to include the divine. 


The Rhetorical Tradition in En-rclcirid 

England, the country of :aist and fogs, was the 
native land of one of the greatest ooeto of. the i-dddle 
Ages. This remote land, whose survival cost much, had 
in its early existence little if anything to indicate 
the greatness it was destined to attain. The conquest 
by certain Teutonic tribes following the vathdrawal of 
Roman legions, stubbornly resisted and fiercely won, 
was a sheer dispossession of the conquered. In the 
ascendency of the Saxon, who caused ais own laiiguage, 
customs and laws to becorc.e pc\ra:nount, was laid the sure 

foundation of the future nation — the one German state 

that rose on the i-zreck of Home. 

iis in Gaul, uati gx-eat laonasteries v;ere tae homes 
of the schools of the country. The cosmopolitan char- 
acter of the Church fostered intercourse between nations 


and a co.^nmon interest in learning. The nuinerous 

entries in the Chronicle relating to journeys to ilome 
are of s^eat significance. At firr.t, in Kent and Lessex, 
the coming of Christianity developed a Latin literature, 
but in the north, v/here the new religious enthusiasm 
was accompanied by the eniotion of national pride, and 
where the Celtic missionaries set the example of a 
vernacular literature, there a literature in iinglish arose. 


Literary culture in Eni;^land began in Korthuiubria. fn\mdr:d the tnonar.tcrv of iona in 563, brinrinp; 
tatiFfo ti'.e ifc,4i'aiafc, or irtJluiiuj iiiter tac xxi^/io ox oue 
Roman bishop, Paulinas, in 633, it was Celtic mission- 
ariws froi;. Ion.;. v:ho carried on the convorsinn of Nort'n- 
\ainbria to Christianity, 

When Paulinus baptifi«d iLdwin in 62?, itcrature 

j.n juaoiu iiuu«rtr»:;d ii* Ywrk, ouv. lastft/only until Kdwin's 
death and the fli; ht of Paulinus. when Chrifitianity 
revived vnnrr Or/.-rald in 634 it was under the Celtic 
Ciiurc/i xcixca iioaaeu x... ioi,t<:r vuriiituu-'-cu- i. t.>ui- than 
Latin literature. The decision of the Synod of tvaithy, 
v' ; r.-'^tnblishGd in the north the rule of, v»oiS foiiovjfcci by Uie re-cappearance oi i^auiu, iXwcr- 
aturc in Northuoibria. In 674 and 6d2 were fourtded the 
j_, ,, •.,,■,,-:.,. -^:^r',,::-,yi^: ,T-.-"r>ovf bv Bfinf^dict 3iscr::3, 

These monasteries throu^,H theiir conaiu'cjrctD.Le ixbi'axit-s 
ctren-thened the position of Latin. The first creat 
ii<n^iiori .vz-iL'i"' '"' Latin ..- • -Aldhelm, .... .^^... 
the chief pupils of the school established b> Tneodoi'e, 

Archbishor) of Canterbury, and his learned deacon, 


Ji adr ian • 

The ;^reatcst writer of the period was Venerable 

T^.xci^, ■■! the cla.rrsic - -- .'ither in 

the nkiSt, -- iiCixi-ciu in tiic ecc-.eiiit-5X'. • ..^ i<-'- 


master of the .vhole range of the science of his day, 
he is first in \ he order of time among Enp-lish scholars 

) g 

ana first among £;.rvgiish aistorians. ^i great bulk of 


learning is signalled by the scholarship^Bede and by the 
fame of the ;rreater;t centers of learning in the ivestem 
world such as Iveariuouth, Jarrow, ana the catnedrai scnool 
of York, This learning, through the efforts of Alcuin, 
brought about the Carolingian revival which formed the 
culture of the Middle Ages, Egbert, Bede*s pupil, and 
later Aelberht assisted by .vlcuin, develooed York until 
it became the most faiaous of all centers of European 
learning, Alcuin was considered the greatest scholar 
of his time. His help in organizing the education of 
the empire v^as sought by Charleaiagne • 

The history of medieval rhetoric in England, then, 
beean with Bede. His works v.^ers corcerned with literary 
tneory in nis eariic.r years and ^were designed primarily 
for use in schools. His vv-ritings on literature reflect 
classical thought as transmitted through the grammarians 
who fiourishea durin?- tne ayine, days of the Roman Kiupire ■ 
Donatus and Priscian, Cassiodorus, Gregory, Jerome, 
Augu=-t.i":r , TsiH,n?'s^ a?; veil as Cicero, Virf^il, Statius, 
Victorinu.s and Diomedes. His work On Orthography , for 
instance, follows Cassiodorus and Diomedes; it is a kind 
of dictionarv ^r^.r ■student r, he'^innini-- the stud3A of Latin, 

V' ,j 


' > • f .,-'J' '- (, 

• f> >» 

i ' 



On the Metrical .irt ir • ''''■'•^. *"'.'-■• -i--<;-- -"ov ^f 
the various meters and rhytri:f»s ejiipioyed by tne euriy 
Chrirtian v^lterr: en6. the ancient ?5 for vrhoia rh^'t.hva held 
an importajit px^cfc, uecauoe uy it uat- cicxiAcveu. xi. -xt 
the iJioveirient and dyns^-ic nature of be , The last 
■ry-rt. vf tin tren-tipe nnntsirir^ a short discussion of 
tiie three kinus oi' poetry, here ^so is sesri tns cxas- 
sical influence from Donatus, Servius, Victorinus, 
Theodc j^.-..^ .. ^.,- . v-.. ., .. ...tinues 

the tradition of imitation of supi:rior vv'rioers and 
illustrates with passages from the earlier Christian 

On Fi.t;ures and Tropco in Holy , ft'rit draws from 
t,iu tica of Uonatus and illustrates froin 

scriptural wTitini?, only. i'lu. \.„';.- : uu o oei^innmg 

in England of the inclination to organize in detail 
tv"'- "i ■(•,■;-,•• :,y.-vr-'<\s-. Bedo'r. list in or:r5?,i.lB-r--.ble, 

iuciuding 17 ri£,u]i*ew and 2B tro;>e3, taken iroi.. iJonatus 

and Isidore. Bede and other Christian writers felt 

Kere used yjrofuaely in th« Bible io»^ before th«y wcra 
faystem'itinally orffaniaed. Correct inter«>ret;*tion oC 

v/as likewise autnority for tne treatment of metrica. 
While Scriptural authority i^ras strong for Bede, he did 

not conaiut.:- ■; v^orus ov.xy riau ju'.;l-xc Vtixue 

in Christian works. 


Bede*s reflect ■ ' on the nature of literature 
constitute but a Sfu. ,• art of his total writings, and 

are confined to his discussions of prosody, figures and 

the three kinds of poetry. 

The cause of allegory was greatly advanced by Bede, 

first as one of the tropes, then as a general means of 

interpreting the Bible to find the hidden spiritual 


meaning. His Commentaries reveal this habitual manner 

of interpretation, 


His account of Caedmon is significant m that 

it reflects the notion of inspiration and imaginative 
vision as the source of poetic power. It will be re- 
membered that the early grainmarians reduced poetic to the 
study of form; this study in turn was swallov;ed up by rhet- 
oric. The sophistic tradition of declining Rome was in a 
sense continued under Christian auspices. The poetic 
demanding intellectual vision which dominated Greek 
thought was lost because the Christian had such inspir- 
ation in a universal ana immediate sense in daily life» 
The early rhetoricians had quite innocently provided a 
highly organized techne with vdiich Christian scholars 
could make vivid the varied aspects of their own 
inspiration. Therefore, aesthetic and ascetic, closely 
related in many fiindaraental respects, formed a powerful 

.U: '■>,..: ■: i:i '^e 

. ' XI 

■ : .: -io 


-•■' !"■.■:> ■ (' '■■ ■' i » 'X' ■ *;<■ 


I »; ». .' .■ 

;ni .:$»{• 

* ' ',) •,; • ■; 

•1' -: . '■^ 

Hr,\.. -^.^r:.- .;,i' 

,, ;.i / J'^".:' .V i'.' -j^ •■■■ / ,t/' 


VJs 363 ix) Be(i€ .agirining in iiRgiiind of the 

f;ramr;!Dtical trciditiors '-/hich was to dominate the i^ac^die 

:i,^t£, An xixa pic&ui'4i ax wvAttauur;, we see «ai av.'areness 

of the source of Doetic inspiration. Few medieval 

writers wr:rG r.r, n-;;are nf tihat Chrir.tlanity msant t.o 

art aacL poetry ana now poeiilo iiispii-ation couid ut; 

ideally projected. His direct influence axtendfcd to 

^v.^, ''3th centur" ^-n'"! oeyond. ■■''- '^- ^---r- ■-r^v-.^c. qjj 

iitex'strj' theoi''y were still in use aurxxic, tne iaiifcr 

Kiddle -y:'??; '^lopier Bacon in Cpus i>a;ius refeiT, to nim 


vicuin under Archbishc, • ■„ .:pil of Bedo, 

was r-iair:' . -.cnrsfbl^ for the fanie of the Cathedral 

icaool c; lariz. Its vaot j^ioriiry surpassed any oi i'&o 
time. Thouf;;h native anglish culture was begini\in-; at 

jioiiifoice, riicuiii roiiiaincd co».ipletfeiy in the «atin trad- 
ition snd is one of the chief conveyors of ancient 

jjctaa in 760 & faiuous meeting took place which 

affectc.^ the entire culture of ?':t* Gharlerfiaene, 

'.vhore, persuaded Aicuin to come to nelp niBi with his 

nreat -^encrj-.i inteilectvial revival, ;viilch 

Understanding of Scripture necessitated literary skill. 
60 the genius of ^Icuin directed c:«v; ^^^i"^^- character 
of medieval education. 

At Aachen and then at Tours great centers of learn- 
ing developed under the protection of the coi-irt. This 
revival of ths lib?. rts was destined to influence 
the entire medieval culture. Aracng thf. many v;orks said 
to have been written by aIcuIh for the court schools, the 
works On Ortho..;ranhy < On Crs-miRar and Cn ,".hc boric are of 
main interest to us. No one ivould claim that iiicuin 
contributed anything significantly original in t ese 
textbooks. The first two are rather general and elemen- 
tary discussions of the grarri.?iar of the Latin language 
and v/ere designed, like Dede's vrorks, to dispel the 
pervading illiteracy of the time. Alcuin, like Bede, 
onens his grarnmatical treatise vatn an account of the 
seven liberal arts, described as the pillars of vd.sdom 
which sustain theology. The discussion, taken largely 
from Donatus, Priscian and Isidore, defines grajiunar 
as the science of letters and guide to correct speaking 
and writing loosed on nature, reason, authority end 


Of (greater interest is On Rhetoric * ivritten in 
dialogue foru., it {rivet- us a clear -'-ti'^n of the 
content and importance of rhetor icai prescri.vcion. .It 

.y ,; \ ■■':■- 

'V; ■ •■(; 


•itt.en at Charlemagne's request to provide ethical 
Instr^Ac.t civil disputes. The treutment vie 

is pikCticulAf'iy signiiic^rit. in .^awer to jnikrxfiiu^^m* s 
qufcstion of how style can be ;aade eloquent, ^^Icuin 
replies: '^ Facuj'ida erit^ si r:rav)imaticae ret\ul<i.: . , /at 
et Auctoritate vateruii fuicitur ." N«xt we find that 
a. speaker can attain the authority of the? iincitats by 
reading r'r If. books and by foilowin^^, ^ . dr advice ^^nd 
exa-u-ile. Thoufjh nicuin*a rhetorical work is soaev^hat 
limited when co^nnared with the range of the treatises 
by Cic<=i. ■s.uj.j.ii.-.^i-, :■'•'■' ^' 1- f-iiiows the ;.rjci®nt 
traditic osely. 

Alcuin is indebted to Julius Victor, Caesiodorus,'^' 
Isi ort Ti .^yv'.i^ie, Cicero, '•i*'-'-* utuvij.i.jL-iU« For 
the .'uo8t part he follows Cicero's iJe Xnvontione very 
lit rally thou, h he selects and choones at v/ill. For 
instance, ae- . xcero's (icfiniticui ox u •rratio « but 
disregards bis diiscusaion on the kinds of narration. i}e 
•0^.^-ii him ..:uAin in treatin? the cualities of rood n-tr- 
ration. tils use oi wxc<-;r ''. .^e jy-j^x^oi'i aiio urat.or as 
well as the Institutes of wuintiiian is througja Julius 
Victor. ^^ 

The activity of Aicuin, of course, assuaee even 
ft,reater significance when %m remeaber that he is the 
link betwp-in clapsiciil learning and the culture of the 

V"/ ,, 

. 1 ■"• ■ .■ 


Middle .i^ges. This var: the light that dispelled the 
darkness prevailing ever the western world. It was 
a light which eventually developed a culture of its ovm, 
Bede v;rote mainly for monks; Alcuin wrote also for men 
of every-day affairs. Early in his treatise he defines 
rhetoric as the art of speaking well and says that it is 
concerned with public questions. He warns ag;ainst 
sophistry, and taaintains the ancient emphasis on decorum. 
Here, too, we find an ethical emr.hasis: 

I perceive that the philosophical axiom 
should be applied not only to our gener- 
al conduct but also to our speech, ivhat 
axiom pray? Nothing to excess ."3 

The tradition of learning and scholarship passed, 
then, from Benedict Biscop through Bede and Egbert to 
Alcuin. With nlcuin it moved frora York to Tours and 
was transferred, through his student Rabanus, to Fiilda 
and later to Auxerre and Ferrieres, Reich enau, St. Gall 
and Rheims, and finally to Paris to jner^-ie into the general 
floxvering of letters which caine with the rise of the 

But Saxon Britain was also to be brought to the 
brink of servitude siuiilar to that which her arms had 

.< t? (':■■ V. 

;'^ '<• •';.' ',.'' "«: i.d 


earlier brou,?-ht u-ion the Celt, About the end of the 
eighth century, the roving i'lorthraen began to appear 
off the iinglish coast, grovring in numbers and hardihood 
as they crept southv/ard to the rhames. For tv.'o hundred 

years the raven, dark emblem of the Jane, was the terror 


of Saxon homes* After a long series of disasters, 

aggravated by internal feudSj Danish kings occupied 
the throne from 1016 until 1042, when the Saxon line 
w.^.3 restored in the oerson of E&.'^e.vd the Confessor. 

When v:c reaiiae the nature o^ Li^ii; invasion and 
its effect on Britain, it can be easii^r seen why v;e 
have little remaiaing evidence of the .idv-ncr'-nr.-nt of 
learnirxg and culture. There reigned again tae aanie 
wild panic, as the light black skiffs struck inland 
alonf vh^' -iv- '• reaches or inoore'' ■■r•^•'m^ -•'.^rp^y■^ -i-iets. 
Coveting treasures of gold and silver, but despising the 
more valuable treasure of Imowledge, they used the nation's 
booKo ;v^> fire its monasteries. Giic-..: .... -^ c j.^oi,!. _■.. .md 
religion all but disappeared. The England that had 
all but forrotten its British origins bocaiiie once mo2*e 
a oaroai'oui; i^iand. 

ihe prolonged winter of letters in iingiand did not 
come to an end until tne reign of .Henry the Secnnd, for 
after the Janxsh ixivasion codan the xiii^;h spirited i^oraans 


vAio conquerored the island in 1066, To be sure 

Alfred's splendid efforts in providing works in English 
did much to conqueror illiteracy and develop the trad- 
ition of English as a literary language. However, 
matters political and religious occupied men's minds 
for some time after the conquest. 

The efforts of Alcuin were reflected in a new birth 
of letters in England under John of Salisbury, one of the 
most famous scholars of the Middle Ages, He had studied 
at Paris and Chartres where he heard the learned Abelard, 
The spread and development of learning in the cathedral 
schools under Charlemagne was phenomenal. 

Though the tenth century sav^ the end of the eiaoire 
of Charles, learning remained in quiet bonds. This 
condition continued until the development of schools in 
the eleventh centtiry, Coioyiots in I'/estern Europe and at 
Byzantiwii were instrumental in preserving classical 
literature which was to enlighten and inspire the later 
Middle Ages, Chartres, particularly under Fulbert and 
Bernard, developed into a famous center of classical 

scholarship and philosophic speculation. Once the 

universities were established they remained the safe 

guardian of art and letters throughout the Middle Ages, 

The universities at Paris, Bologna, Oxford, Salerno, Padua, 

Salamanca, Toulouse, each in its turn attracted, and 

flourished under, the influence 

.;;,..( r'^-'"^^J^'-i ell 41 'J d-)i .{'M'-.: 

.-■J •'^- 

T . V v'l 


•» > Isi " 

;•,,: •> 


of some of t.he greatest minds of all time. 

During the Garolingian advance g,raia:Tiatic a dominated 
the trivlma . Since, however, philosophical and theolog- 
ical problems captured the interest of the 11th and 12th 
century scholars, the trivium was dominated by dialectic. 
The faraouo debate on universals engrossed philosophic 
thought at this tiiae, and tht translation of the co.aplete 
Aristotle established logic as a method, .ihetoric, 
therefore, becasie limited to ;Tiatters of style, and no 
longer served the broader educational function it oer- 
forriied in the days of Cicero and /Uintilian, 

After Alcuin the next significant voice on literary 


matters in England is John of Salisbijry (1110-llSO), 

Ke vjas secretary to his friend Thomas a Becket and was 

recognised as one of the most brilliant scholars of nis 

70 . 
ti:ii€-. liis £,reat woric, i.'ie1:,£lQi:.i.c.u£i is a ato^-iiJ-ta 

analysis of the trivium, Gcnvineed of the fundaraental 
role of eloquence iv !;U-rian affair- he set otit to eval- 
uate the available doctrine concerniiig, language. He 
ref€?rs to the ancients and the role of eloquence in 
their life. '^I? .uciintains that effective. ?':,^.'-r.r ; -.- 
one of the nnost potent factors in human life, de re- 
calls that eloouence had been instrumental in founding 
cities i-Uiu uiixi^ J-Hi^, pcOoxc-c. j~i^ nj.t. -aOa'^v, c; .' .'.at 
of Hugh of St. Victor, there is a two -fold division 



of the trivluifl vdiich placed aId a subordinate position. 


in ijook I he uiak&s a plea xoi- ^•r'a;:ixuatica ::.'^ .w prelim- 
inary stuo. o£ic« He defines j-Taimuatica as the lore 
of r^Tjeaking and writin;, nDrront. . , ..a origin of all 
liberal disciplines and tiie nurse oi all literary study« 
This defines a function once served by rhetoric. 
Poetica, he continues, i:- t^y i.-^-. ..losigned to gyaatfiiatica 
as to the mother and nurse of its study. In this 
statet^ent of the scor>e of r;ran»r:atica v;e note the later 
liicciitvaj. prcjeiicity to place tliure tiie atylistic doctrine 
which for the ancients xiras corarnon to both rhetoric and 
noetic • 

Ql . deals both vjlth precision and 

wi> -. ... _ry, both with d.enotation and 
with connotation. It includes letters, 
.syil<»blc3, ohrase, sentence form, punct- 
uation, f /!gures, metric -- everythin?- ^■' t 
can be tau? nt virbally.'^ 

itith the .-ubor'''"'^'- i-hetor.t.c ^^>..._.^- , ..^ ...^ ■. >..--j>erendi « 

it can be seen that wiien poetry, included under graiamar, 

'.?.^:Me "to be thf; domir.~nt literary f orm^ i*-- served to deaig- 

ii..>>^'j i/iio c :.;a:L.i.'icaoiut: • j.ucti'in©* 

Jince John .. iisbury transfers what he found 

U5>eful in Roraan riietoric to either dialectica oi- 

j^r a. u. 6 t,ica . lit: r..xi.ects tm:, i^enerai tendency toward 

a two-fold triyiuin . ilhetoric no longer maintained a 

;;;f.'n.qi-^ vlsioi- .. .^ - 'n. Mnttnrr, of Innrunn-e 

c.'ud. j.itex'ature were generally inciuuija unUfcr ;:ra.;;.:.atica 

■■■ '../.». 


which was ^clcntjj rocte lociuondi Kcrib^^n.-jiciK:^ ^ 
dialectica provided '-.v-m ^r, ratio 

■ -<- -J /-; '-. J. v-Ad^.'.j. # 

MetaloKJcus . a Cifefenae of logic, discusses the 
question of v;hether education /£ better r.erved by 
a ;^^^'"^" - • • ■ . . .lu'i^, ..i;tner 

dialeetic providei the oest foundation. omber, 

in antiquity rhetoric fonned the bac ; ^jducr-ytAon, 

vie flxiik i/i uQuii ox aajLicDury bue car&iui aiialysis and 
organization of the science of laneiuaize and thinking 
as the foimdntion nf education. ^ .......... j ihen the 

ancients ci.evyic lucation upon tlu foundation. 

The term rhetoric was replaced bir fcf'^'^aiutlca. ;ict?:ially, 

is a co..ipro.i:ise. iiloquence makeo vjisdoJu fruitful; both 
r-;ra;inTiatica and dialectica are needed and both recixiro 
systematic trainiii . ■ uoition preceaent to ^at- 

taining akill in argxmient, he spfecifies the need for 
ability to speak correctly and effectively; skill in 

eloqucace uus >JOst acquii^oa oy studies vjtiich gave control 


of speech. The parallel with ancient thoufht i.s clear. 

In J<^hn (if ''.'.l 1 ..hin^--; ^ r. •-e^eir, :,t\, 

typical ior the iatfcr i-iiuw . , oteworthy is his 

omission of the importance of seund subject-in.'Jtter, 

1,., w,.ly 1- ■--(,,■.- i_y j_^, -rjiii.',i;:uerii; o.l 

ide«3« On the other Hand, his interests are confined 


primarily to style, and here he gives definite prin- 
ciples of lasting value. He speaks of the fact that every 
language has its own idiom, ^^ its own mode of expression 
and this must not oe ignored. Like Aristotle, Cicero 
and Quintilian before hiivi, he emphasizes that clearness 
is the greatest virtue of style. "^^ Similarly, he stresses 
the virtue of decorum: 

The mode of utterance must be determined 
by the nature of the speaker, tirue and 
place and purpose, audience, 30 

He who adapts his v;ords to the require- 
sTicnts of his theme and the occasion, ob- 
serves the controlling rule ( modestissimpn 
rer-iulam ) of all eloquence. ^^1 ' 

A good writer, he says, must have a rica vocabulary, 


fluency of speech and in£:;enuity of expression. The 

characteristic verbosity of his age urged him to caution 

the overuse of such elements. The merits of ingenuity 

are lost if decorum or discretion is wanting and all 

qualities run to excess. Following Horace, he says that 

all irrelevancips of sneec!T should be avoided and only 

those words used vjhich bring pleasure and profit, i-'inally, 

he urges the classical principle of Ar s est celare art am : 

A display of art is alwa,,.. .xstrusted; 
success more readily fittends the u^e of 
simple means,"-* 

He rigorously advocates the literary legacy of the past. 

..-,, T~: , :'4' y'': .C4 

t \ 

' -^ '■ V 


Like most ■■^■" ' "^^ ,. ,.t+-^.v.ri ,^^ ••-'.r^ i tr-.- ■a-.a-](. ;.■.■.'■ 
he saw in clussicai iiteraturis a vasw treasui^e house* 
He bad gTeat veneration for the vrritten vjor-d ?md speaks 
of j'jji Oi o'.iu etcrniziii^;;, j,uxic\/iv'u .jj. ,i.-,, uv,*.;* -.. • a-c; 
thought of literature as a means of arriving at truth 
or wii5dom and contributir.r to the betteririCnt of the 
whole man. He x-eferred to uox*ace oxtuii, '' jjhx was con- 
vinced that the reading of great literature was essential 
to iiite.3 "i -■^^-ii'"'"' -rid spirlt.ii/il rrn--.rt-.b, .'Ith-.ut it no 
man could bo called educ«it((id» rtorka to ae VAlmid were 
those which contributed to the strengthening of char- 
acter, rr- -"'■■•r^ helped ■'".'- •"'•"" -r^^.o-r--, ■, '.-t.^vle. 

He referred to the raethods of oernard of Chartres 
in his Praelectiones for cult i vat in ■; a prooer ^r.'^^vpre- 
elation of literary vciiuyo. T i-^j/ore, ii4^tiai/u,i.f,-, 
should be read with a critical eye, alert to the aiiiin 
rlfitrtlTr, of literary effect, the anoropriatc treatinent 

XT^r, ■.''■'^:- v..i..a •.n'^i, b.Uv:. r.i^.ect;ive use 

ox' words, ti'ooes, or figures and the graces of luxuriance 

John of .jriiibijury brou-^it to his readers a general 
.cquaintance vdth classical literatu^ - 2 drew on 

, ' rviT':., <-»<» 
:. , - J . . .., 

Cicero, as well J. , , Jeroisie cuia /»agustine« 


His coranjents on poetics and poetry are minor, 
thoM,"'h Pi/-'niflc;.'.nt of hiz a!=':o. In thir^ asnect he fol- 
io 'j.\,ict!. iiiie he Dciiev ■ ,,. araa;a v^na prooaoxy 
a tragedy , though he made no final stateiaent on this. 
He? iDflir./'tGfi th.Dt. noetica vj-.k under dispute at t'^o tl...e, 
aoifie considered it an indepencient art according to 
ancint tradition, but more seeiried to think it vjas no 
/nr-f- -t-Vr.v r,Y' V, pv, ,r rhetoric c- "■»'■-■'"■■ v "being so 

far rel'ited to both as to have prec(ipts jua coramon," 
John of Salisbury did not enter the controversy, bu*- 
merely cu^iueuuyd that for prauu- uj. joaus Uiit; ijtudy 

of poetry should be regarded as a branch of gramtnar, 
since ^ gratnmatica v.dll continue Zo include poetiCiA . or 
else poet ic a will oe JLost to ixooral i^tuaietit' This 
reflected clearly the conteoiporary scene, .ihioitoric 
i'-:- !''"o ;• i-educed pretty \Mr\ :-..i clocutio . Often poetica 
was tj'ioug:ht O' ^tyle. Tiiio iueant that ,Tc.ii;niat:ica 

included thor . of rhetoric retained in the Middle 

o.rxf'-'V .y.....j of poetr" ..«s 

tecnniques. ii-rom the development of popular juatin versa 
much ernrjhasis 'SfSf? fiven to iTir-tf^r? an<5 foj^is, 

forms they gradually inundated the study of ar-^^r .i tica 
3X10 'vi'erc -iven the more rretentioup. title of --otic, i.o., 
poetria or .^rs vcroxXJic.. t.ori^ uxiii^au ifro.ii 


ars dictamen and ars v)r;i' oicar-di . " Urit' ^.tost part 
these v\joi"ks consisted siHip:i.y in an elaboration of the 
figures of '•t--"'" thoui^ thev '^■■'n be x-n-s(^iTv d5..stinr-uished 
from one anochei apeciiic appiic<itj.oii« 

'raow;h John of Salisbury was essentially a phil- 
osopher, cnid though his views on literatu?— >'*^-vo-:l a 
aversion to the cold raechiinical expositions of the 
narlicr rram-Ttariaris, he vKiS qviick to raote its fundoaicntal 
place in eaucatiori. nc co2;ijiuei'-cu ^v-^su^u-cu' f rhetoric 
and poetry predomirsaatiy as ixiatters of style. His 
knov'ledge '*'' ^"^'^■-i-^f^ntally darivati-j-e, but his synthesis 
was of distinct vaiuts for th^i i-iiaai.e ^gea in its revival 
of classical tVieory and principles. intained that,t,raturfe vvc..^ ^i rich ''^""Itage ci^. .-. .Lutjstiraable 

value in the developKienu of the liber ciiiy educated society. 
He said little of aesthetics and artistic theory; his 
concern was pri*aaxxii.' v^j^th lit&i avui 
t-dixcation. John of Salisbury's great achievement %viis 

v,-<-:-=; hi?--. ■ nncration '/cith the rreat lore of the 
..jcisi; ai'id its lasting vaxu<.. -'b ,.a. .riifiuuurtiu t-uat 

at this time the study of theoi ominated the cur- 

j. , -.nrt for literature and art was 


T>>c Sd«-cu1wi hArnurq of Vincent of Beaurais, the 


Brunette Latini were all »,orks which were constantly used 
durinr ♦:."«■-■ \'^i:'>r Midfilp- Arr.n, Thev e;:hibit the tendency 
to expand ^^ /ocetic... miaer ,■ .r<A,:>iaatica. until it is o±' suf- 
ficient proportion to sttmd as a separate treatise. One 
iiuo'j© the tendency <.u Include the ornamental dilation 
by col ores which th© ancifnts considered common to both 
ooetic and rhetoric. Reflected also in these works is 
the emphasis on ainolificatio or " Goniment I'om puet 
^crointre son conte en vii i i.ianicres . « « qui sont 
apelees color de rhctoric.ue ". 

The vogue for using metrxcai. Tora a.a the most ef- 
fective means of conKiUMication lies behind the literary 
prescriptions of the 13th and 14th centuries. These 
are the works with wiiich Chaucer w«3 ia^iiiar. ,. .tricai 
form provided in itself a device to aid memory, for it 
v;uG C';)ii-x^.« c^o well as ornate. Hacn-^o^^r^ .v,,r\ : v.v>-oar'^, 
as well as works of science and phiioyophy nxid histoi*y 
^^f-.r(^: nrrii r\sed in metrical form. 3nce and literary 
afeixity M'-re associauisa wiuu vv;x't.t, o^i-^. U-iuc. xu '^ to 
be the coHiraon means of cotmiiunication. £.ven serraons 

.,.,-. "!-.•■•, i.r.'.--. ..■pvfi criirsr5o:7.Gd in verse. 

jJuj-s co>^ion or&ZQ xor verse-iOi'.a creatsc u litj^a 

Cor veryifiod manuals on the theory of poetic art. The 
....,.;,, ,... n.-.-^'^fr'ii'-.r .-,f V-l-mrraf , Matthow of ''/endorae, 

Gervais of i'ieiss.iey, ii-vrc-xd Uiti • uarx^nc, 


Ti... ... ascriptions of these writers include, v/ith ininor 

exceotions, the saine doctrine. The foliov/ing chapter 
will analyze their doctrine in order to provide a com- 
posite view of tne poetic tneory current in England 
during the age of Chaucer. 

GfUlTJili II 

was iiwitafer a Qii.rou±cle. hoc a color fui prfejiuiiteition of 
life in terms that were irrasiGdiately real. The individual, 
for the 'lost part, remained in the > - the 

work 3irice the general tendenc? oo present experience 

irfdependc-int of man hiuiself. Thft \'>oet sou'- ■:. to teach 

fa-ailiar, and thereff ? ! ot soek new content but 

rather formal r)'?rfection. Thus for'n b. . i(^:ctive 

standard AWiiicu :o2try v;a3 jneasure;, .ling 

within the conscious conti^ol of the ai'tist, 'ilo 

Tiie -ediijv.ii rhetorici.iin was not concarned '.vith 
~etic s w© know it tori ; , Inde-^d, stataKients 

insi icuously; , 


From "xterB medieval riie-t^oricia: 

ed t ' ' ' -Jiixty, x:,T'j 2:, 

ori;-in-: inscious- ii'c'Cts of 



Though their doctrl.rf- oC etructme revolvt^f' 1 ^ut 
the Aristotelian concept oi the beginning, the iuiuuiti 
and the end, they had no real «<pnthetic jwaremess of 
what constituted these divicio.. • lo wi. M^t^.i ^..a u 

to each area "fitting qualities" (proper devices of 
style, correct fifuren of thou-ht, '.'ord, orna"enti be 

iuM or an excMi:iiA)H ox' a jijotitcutia be used for the opening 
or ciosinr of a '^oem. 

tiy iine ena oi txie tweXxtn century tne great interest 
in versification produced a series of works setting forth 

.■-»,' ijlc^ -ii:ct''*'^'« nf titiu-, Ti-ipv vort; littl.f ■ore 
than meaiUeils or nmet'ctiixi books intended to W'ovide wi'acti- 
cal assistance to the v/ould-be poet. . .ttthew of Vendonie, 

wh:> V '■ i-.tfe been iufluencoa by iiernard 3ilvestris 


of .tours, composed his Ars Versxi'icatoria arouiid 1175* 

Matthew, a teecher of grammar at Orleans, vn^ote his manual 
ili prosfc, x>. c.^i-^x C'-/inJt;i"ii ■.,•.•;;> lm/^'Lu, vvuiC'i ut c j.'.iC«.'iv\.d 
larf^ely us ornamentation. He obviously thou/tht of poetica 
anrl rhetorica as identical. Poetry, for hi:a, coiisistcd 
in aescriptii liiied aua patterneo. accorain^,, to a 
set of rules. His liaiited and superficial conce^ot of 
.Ji-rr.ri) -1 is revR iled by bin rcF,trictin;> his oircusnion 
ti-- aecessA«i> " Lug tne iunjiUage -a es uavc 

in cHcription conform to the age, condition. 

»• -. 


place and sex of tlie subjecu. « person should be des- 
cribed according to his physical appearance, his luental 
hibits, hie ictiori'^ and his speech. The siuiilarity with 
the anc"* ' ■■rpuxaxtic urt\.cihuii i.& tiriking. 

In En;::land the nsost im{)ortant coiapilers of poetic 
were Geoffrey of Vinaauf ami John of Cv^rlynd, Geoffrey 
was born around tiie cuddle - the tif.elfth century in the 
town of Vifisauf in Normandy. Tboufeh educated at St. 
Frideswide's, Oxford^ he spent many years in iVynce and 
Italy. His poetic prescription la contained in the 
Poetria Kova .''^ Docuunentum de Modo et Arte Dictjndi et 
Versiricandi .^ and Sumr: :- de c oloribus ahctoricis . 

The Docuiaentum sets forth in prose form essentially 
the same doctrine as is Ir ^,he Poetria . The ::>uirjtta is 
a separate aiscuasion oi' cue uolors of i-hetoric and is 
made up of definitions and examples. 

The Poetria Kova is a manual of verf.e tecbninxes; 
it deals only with narrative verse. The scope ox xus 
influence iand the popularity it enjoyed are evidenced 

•; ., rlr. •:;irT'f '-nvVi VT V i ■ ' ,■. jTi-!) -^ iTl Ot H , 0\BV forty in -ill I 


16 in h,nrJ^^^<^t ^'^ i^^ Fr«ncfc, and 9 in Gcnaany. T.^iiy 

work is a splendid >1<: of the widespread tendency 

to ~! -3ify ^. "''^''^ ■ ..-h,-,r.ic 

and metrics under the iiitie of yofctics. i^Ofeic aiid 
dialectic had, by Geoffrey's time, taken ovei .a 

\"' > 

'.f '■.' 


body or classical rhetox^ic as applyin/': to lav* and. oratory. 
The Poetria Nov a i.f> actually a manual of rhetoric as 
applied to poetry. It is .iivided into five major parts: 
The first parit, Jo-als, v.-ith art in general und ::tefiiie3 yjnd 
sets forth the divisions to follow* Part two trfeats 

disocaitio . that is, the general arran^'cment and organi- 


nation of 'r..iterial« Part three considers ainolificacion 

and abbreviation* Part four discusses the ornainents 
of E t ' i -: • '"'* This section treats tropes, figures vad 
colore. I'ae iasTi part of this section is called by Faral 
"gr^ PCrlrillvmg,-d.i.vfXae§" * Araong other ^-eneral notions 
cor^ctri-'ninr r-oetic aspects of style it treats coinic style, 

the aiatuG, Kinds of repetition, metaphors and usage, 


Part fiv< considers meniory and action* Poetria .lova 

is J rtanrJbock on style in the main, treating wiiat the 

ancients termed elocutio . Though Geoffrey ur,-:,es the stuay 

of art ais statements ai-e somewhat general and contain 

little significant poetic theory. Lines 43 to 76 contain 

the only remarks he makes about art in general: 

31 quis habet fundare doaiuift, non currit ad actum 
Impotuosa rnanus: intrlnseca linea cordis 
Praenietitur opus, seriemque sub ordine certo 
Interior praescribit homo, totarucue figurat 
Ante manus cordis quam corporis; et status ejus 
Est prius archetyr>us qua^n sensilis. Ipsa poesis 
Spectet in hoc speculo quae lex sit danda poetis» 

; .1-; , 


Non manuE ad calamurn Braeceys, non lingUcA sit 

Ad verbua: niautra;u m.snibus c " — taa 

Fortun-i«s; sed mens discreta p.. . ^:ti, 

Ut melius fortimet opusj suspendat earu 
Officiuifl, tractetque diu de themate secuia, 
CircinuG interior laentis praecircinet onme 
^ .?,tericte spatium. Certus praeliiidttt ordo 
Unde praearriplat cursuin stylus, aut ubi Gades 
Fig.9t» OpuG totuiri prudeJia in pectoris arcem 
Contrahe, sitciue orius in pectore quaai sit in ore# 
Mentis in arcano cu?ii rem ditesserit ordo, 
Materiam verbis veniat vest ire poesis. 
Ciuando tauien servire venit, se praeparet aptaw 
Obsequio dorninae: "caveat sibi, ne caput hirtis 
Crinibus, aut corpus pannosa vecte, vel ulla 
Ultima displiceant, aiicunde nee inquinet lllvid 
Hanc pollens partem: pars si qua sedebit inepte, 

Tota trauct series gx ilia partQ ]■■■ ■ i: 

Fol jiiodica-ii totum iuel aifiaricat; ui; <^;nda 
Totalera faciera difforraat. Cautius ergo 
Con.siile materia©, ne poseit }irobra vereri, 

GarainivQ ingressus, quc'si vc-rnu fccetus, honestt 
Introduc;;^t ©am. Mediu^K, quasi atrcnuus hospes, 
iiospitium sollemne paret. Fini.'j, quasi praeco 
CursuG explcti, ;2ub honoi-G liceiitiot ill^Am. 
Oiiini parte sui ucas o;anis car.'aen honoret. 
We qua parte labet, ne quam patiatur eclipsim. 

In the Pootria Nova Geoffrey devotes raoat or his 
attention to the rhetorical acans of aniolifi cation, that 
is, to the Comoro ox rhetoric. '<- ^ ■ attention 
to the apostrophe and to description as two excellent forrns 
of dilatiors - "T-ean?; of linperinp- by vAlch you rniy de- 
tain tne ^Ui-jj^cu'. i't.i% , ..! ^^'j-j '. ,Lc.;ivi^/u i; '>t 


In ^-ibout 1:350 John of Garland -."roduced Poetria . '^ 


and ivXfc.-.yla ylt^itj notu.stae . Tiie -t^ce!ii,-^xa la a handbook 

containing a collection of soaie sixty-four rhetorical 


devices with appropriate examples. The i'ot.tria is 
another rhetorical or-i: in ',ht-! manner nf rrorTv-.- of 
Viris&uf . L1K.O tilt; t OK.i^x'l.i. uova it cifetdis with tht var- 
ious methods of beginning a poem, with amplification, 
an'i ---^t;' ,._ ornament «. v... style. It, doc a incluv,..: ^.u. 
additioii, however, a section on le^tt it ing { Jicta'ien ) 
and on versification ( ars rithinic^ )* Though the mater 
^n thft urt of j..:.i..uc.. -v^riting reflects. - voiiue 

of the times, it also shovjs the common notion that poetry 
end rsvo^e differ in form only. The techniques of style 
are Che su-ne -cr rotxi. .' cction on versification 
indicates the current craze for verse-composition, and 
definfir, nnd illustrates forty-four differe ,1.. ■^ri-^.-u- 
f onns • 

Apart from his treataient of letter-writing aiid 

I •-•.■i-^'c\ -J /i '. ,1 •-. f-, "1 """^ t^^y 

■stated by Gtioxfrey of Vintiauf . John does little r«ore 
than misuse the Ars Poetica of Horace and the iihetorica 

• - *--"*• * - 1^ Vi.*t. 9 

A ;iOi. litionai approach ootry througl'i 

gra'Simar is found in the Labor i ?>t i^s of ii vrnrd the Gerraoji,^^ 

It ; ■A.-cM i^ay^' oUufci'a uiiacr uxGcussion, 

and iik . demonstrates eneral preoccupation with 

rhetorical ornaiaent throu^,li figures. f'ourth section 


of the Laborintus gives a liyt of autaor- -citable for 
study. The list includes Hlain*s Anticlaudianus » Geof- 
frey's i oetria Nova . Matthew's Ars Yersiflcatoria . and 
the works of Sidonius, Martianus Gapella and Bernard 


1 A 

The Ars Versificaria of Gervais of i4elkley is 

the last to be considered here. This vrark presents 
nothing not already considered by the wTiters mentioned 
above. Gervais':; contribution coiisists in his effort 
to achieve a systematic order. The first part of his 
work deals with those devices which express the " identite '* 
of objects. Pi^rt two treats those devices which relate 
the ^^ siillitude " of thinp;s. i^art three treats tnose 
devices which express the '^ centres ire " of things. The 
final part of ais v/ork treats vei-y lightly of invention 
and arguments. He speaks of the natural order and the 
artificial order and of the three fonRS of style: the 
subli-iie, the simple and the middle. Finally^ he comnents 
briefly on the rules concerning metric and those concern- 
ing letter-v;riting. Gervais draws fx-ouj Cicero, Donatus, 
Gornificius, iJernard. Ciiivtssoer, inatthew of Vendoue and 
Geoffrey of Vinsauf. 

The r^rescriptions of these five w-riters which were 
cuirrent during the age of Chaucer illustrate conclusively 


that -poetria desijinated the :3tuJy ox' veroc stylo througli 
the colors of rhetoric. Those elements of classical 
rhetoric dealin^^ ;fith composition had been tran£:ferred 
to dialectic and in a iaiaor (le^^ree to g^cuaiaar. Ho 
real consideration is given to the larger concept of 
ooetry as a perception, an insi,4Tit, or an unusual power 
of vision. Thougli the introductions often deal with 
some general observations concerning poetry, they re- 
veal no genuine understanding of '/^hat the ancients 
considered poetic ** possession". This impoverished 
knowledge of poetic vision is further emphasised by the 
fact that the -.reat. bulk of work is riven to a consider- 
ation of form only. We find treatments concerning 
methods of beginning and ending, methods of a:;iplifi cation 
and abbreviation, and u.bove all, methods of arranging 
and illustrating the various figures of orni^aentation. 
Such e:ri.-.h.^<?is on stylistic devices /^•;radually absorbed 
the entire attention of critical theorists. 

Rhetoric and poetic had, it will be remembered, 
a co.Tunon ground in \^h.e matter of style, and when the 
theory of poetic vision was lost it vas natural that 
the emphasis on fonis and ornamentation should utilize 
the detailed rhetorical prescriptions for tae purpose 
of poetry or verse. Tne vogue was for writing verae. 
As we have observed, even the manuals were couioosed in 

.. . ': ,-. '^ 

.:',/,. , ,.■* 

1. ■ .^^*^:• 


verse. /e know of the great interest in religious 

Latin verse as well as the songs, rondels and lyrics 

of the troubadours — the love poetry of a newly roused 
people. . Both types ox verse were the result of a natural 
coiiimunal feeling. There Wc*s a universal spontaneous 
desire to sing, either the praises of God, or the lilting 
,joys of love and vioridly pleasure. It v.'as an age of 
verse more than an age of poetry. This was because the 
loss of poetic vision misplaced the eruphasis on form, and 
for a time this fulfilled the imaginative hunger of the 
people. Medieval poetics enoloyed the clc^.ssical rhetorical 
treatises, but Jiiodifiea tnern considerably. Loi;:;ic ssid 
dialectic hid taken over much of the rhetorical matter 
such as invent io . Poetic li.rdted disoositio to a discus- 
sion of devices for opening and closing a poem; the main 
body of poetic considered primarily elocutio under the 
headings of arTiolificatio ,^nd abbreviatio and the figures 

of style. 

To understand completely the artistic activity of 
an age, one must knov^ the standard by which that era 
wrought, the rules by which men lived and died, those 
doctrines and disciplines, in short, which direct hvunan 
activity in i'os various forms. The standards snay be 
faulty, but once they are clearly understood it is then 
possible to judfe the activity of that age, artistic 

' if-'^: 

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t r; : <.u' ..'- 

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and othenvise, uwich wore accurately. In the artistic 
realnij for instance, with the proper historical per- 
spective, we can knov; when an artist achieves the oemands 
of Viis iit^e aiiu «;iien iu i";.;.xjs in the eyes o± his contera- 
poraries, We can discern also vhen he veei's from the 
limits of contemporary theory and brings fresh insight .md 
new pov/er to his «rt. V;hat /s " ' nature of hits insif;;ht, 
the source of his power? A^s ae revert in any way to 
preceding ages, to ioeas and ideals lost to his tirne'r 
/hes he forf,e nev; vistas, open new norizons? vhaTi exactly 
•/s the nature and effect of the individiial artistic 
power by w)iicn he projects his poRtic ^:enius? 

As stated above, the medieval riictoriciaiis, gram- 
marians, or literary critics did not set forth a theory 
of poetry; they ^:,ave doctrines of pof;tic form. Before 
attempting an analysis of Chaucer »s narrative artistry 
in the ligiit of the rhetorical tradition, it is first 
necessary to set forth the conteaioorary poetic doctrine. 
It will provide a clarification of the current prescription 
as well as a pattern vmlch will serve to organisse the 
investigation of G;iaucer*s work. 

The prescription falls under three isiain headings: 
(1) disDOsitio . (2) araplificatio and abbreviatio n and 
(3) r-tvle . iacxuaiiii;'; types ana techniques. Disr;ositio 
deals with methods of beginning a work, of effecting the 
transition from the beginning to the main body (prosccutio) . 

''.y-i. ',. 

\ - ■-! /-aV ,; j J' 



and of brinfing a work to a fitting conclusion. 

Great stress is placed on aiarllfi catiq or .ievelop- 
rfient; ab brevlat .io is discussed only briefly and is not 
considered to be important, it will be reinembered that 
for the rnncients affT-lificar e meant to j-ive greater 
emphasis, to heifiiten, to develoo a climax. The medieval 
theorists find in it a uieana of dilation, a v;ay to con- 
tinue and enlarge. Thus they li?t the fi;;;ures by wiriich 
a work may be amplified. 

The section on stylf usually receives the longest 
and most detailed treatment. Geoffrey of Vmsauf, for 
examolej f-ives 112*) verses of his i-'oetria Nova to a 
consideration of style. He shows hov; poetry consists 
essentially in varied and ornate expressions. He /^ives 
considerable imminence to the <radation of styles. The 
high style ( ;=;tilu3 /'. randiloouus i , he associates vath 
lofty subject matter which must be adorned with all or 
some of the ten tropes appearing under the heading of 
ornatus difficil i.s. Stilus /fiediocri s and stilus humilis . 
which tre.' -denary material, he sees as achieved by 
use ot" ornatus facilis under which apoear thirty-five 
fip:ures of srseech or i^rord fi^-ures and nineteen figures 
of thought or sense fip;ures. Tropes and figures are 


'fr : , 

■?ti'.^- ■, 




not, for r7eo.ffrey, identical. Trooes, generally, are 
devices, like 'isetaphor baseci on f^tr.otion; figures ar« 
artificial riatterns of v^ords or thoughts — repetition, 
balance, inversion. But even this distinction is not 
always rigidly observed. 

Usually the rhetorical prescriptions do not 
maintain d s'^^aro division bettveen amolification ^nd 
style. They raove freely i^roni the one to the other with- 
out any particular logic. Thus a.nolif icatio and obbr e- 
viatio deal partly wit)' development of natter, r^artly 
with the various aspects of style. The separate de- 
vices of style, for the main part, are listed without any 
strict prirsciolc of classificrition. Certain fif'ures are 
mere variations of others. --Ithouph the followinr: outline 
sho^^s a composite view of the current poetic theory, it 
must be reiriembercd that certain of the figures are only 
valid for Latin, These can have no place in an investi- 
gation of Chaucer's art. A few fifures, varying but 
slightly from those already dealt with v^ill be cassed 
over. "^OT the liost part, only those devices will be 
tre?."ted which seem to have significant bearing on 
Chaucer's narrative technique. 

.) '■.:'■■ , '■ 

1 f 

. i ." : ■ (' 

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•■'„''■:.• ' .' .,.■* J'i' i. 

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!• Dispocitio (General organ is at ion and 

ment of material.) 
A, Mctnods of beginning a work. 

1. Natural Beginning — In which the nar- 

rative if bec.un ntitiirally 
at the opening of the story 
and events are reLated in 
the order in v;hich tliey 

2. nrtificiai BeiMniiing — In which the 

narrative id begun at some 
subsequent '.^oint in the 

a. Beginning]: at the start 

1) with an. exenvplum 

2) with a provoT'biuin 

3) V/ith a gententia 

b. Beginninp: at the middle 

1) with no device 

2) With an exemolum 

3) With a oroverbiuoi 

4) vvith a sententia 
0. Be -inning at the end 

1) v.'ith no device 

2) with an exeiuplujfl 

3) With a proverbiuiti 

4) ivith a sententia 

d. Beginning with ^i prologue 

e. Bep;inninc with a sujumary view 


^» Proaecutlo — In which a transiti".:.. is made 

from the opening pa-ssage to the 

main body of the v;ork. Where the 

beginning ia "natural" the trjii'^tion occurs 

by itself. ,'b. •„ it is "artificial" some sort 

of continuatif i.vice, suited to the u.ethod 

of beginnini:^ fe.^. i.oyed, s/iould be used. Thus 

we have three b^jsic kiads of pro:jecutio » 

1« If an artificial be^inninp; has been taken up 
from the aiiodle or end and no device is used, 
it muat be continued in ity own way through 
the use of relative pronouns. 

2« If an artificial bef;inninjEr, has been taken up 

from a firoverbiv must be continued through 
the use of these words: "it acknov/lfcd/':es" 
(fatetur), "it teaches" (docet), "it proves" 
{probat),"it attests" (attestatur) , or 
throu;::;h equivalent meanircs. 

3» If an artificial hcf-,i.^iixn^. ±. c.^c-u u.- irom 
an exempluin . it niust be continued otherv;ise 
than in the forgoing. The continuation uiust 
consist of v.'ords gis.ilar to the. example: 
"likewise" (pariter) , "siiuilarly" ( sLidliter) , 
"from a similar" (a siikili), or through the 
use of equivalent meanings. 

C. i"iethods of ending, a work, 

1, ivith the subject itself 

2« With a prov erbium 

3» ivith a sententia 

4* With an epilog 

5» Per operis eiiiendatione;ii — by itiaking some 

apology, excuse or reference regarding 
the ortist's lack or insufficiency, 

6. Per veniae petitionem — by asking indulr-ence, 

pardon, or Kiercy. 

7. Per Obtonsioneui ffloriie — by oiTering soffle 

kind of recognition. 

d. Per exhibitioneiu f ratiarum — ,n^u.iii^ 

9. With praise of God — or a i.-rayer. 



II, The effective development of the;ne« 


A, aiTipllficatio 

— extending, dilating, or 
expanding the material. 

1. Intertjretatio (synonymia) — interpo- 
lation, or repeating an 
idea in dirferont words. 

2. Circumlocutio 

3 • Comparatio 

4» Apostrophe -- 

5» Confortnatio 

(pariphrasis) — a round- 
about expreosion, the use 
of many words instead of 
a few. Diiiiinutio - weak- 
ening the t-ffect; not 
using the iitimediate idea, 
but reducing its effective- 
ness by ne</,ative circum- 

a comparison. Matthew warns 
that comparisons may only 
be used sparingly, and 
Geoffrey allows only short 

address. Tne poet talks 
to himself, another person 
or thing. It is used to 
express coiaplaint, repz-oof, 
anger or mockery. It is 
probably the figure nearest 
to the heart of the rlietor- 
ician.. The variations of 
the apostrophe include: 
conduplicatio , exclainatio, 
sub.iectio . (lUbitatio . intcr - 
ro^'/atio . 

(prosopopeia) — « personi- 
fication, speech or action 
attributed to an inanimate 
thing. It assigns words 
to dead creatures, absentees, 
or to things. Included in 
this is seriflocinatlo. 

■'■jl i,-. 


^» Dlgresslo — (a) A departure from the 

subject in hand to ii closely 
related idea or article. 
This departure can also be 
made through other figures, 
such as, comparison or des- 

(b) A departure from the therae 
in hand to soraethinj'; entirely- 
different. However, John of 
Garland warns that coi«parison 
and description belong to the 
theme and recoinmends clian^re 
from theme by use of a faVjle 
or an epilogue, 

7» Depcriotio — a description of people, arti- 
cles, nature, plcjices, Mactliew 
of Vendome gives the fullest 
exposition of this device. 
Geoffrey of Vinsauf and John of 
Garland give only examples of 
its usage. The description of 
people falls into two divisions: 

effictio - concerning physical 

notatio - concerning descrio- 
tion of moral quali- 
ties or character. 

Physical aspects are considered 
in detail and follo^^r a fixed 
order. Personal description 
begins with .a reference to nature 
and is followed by details of 
face, body and clothing: hair, 
forehead, eyebroivs, eyes, cheeks, 
nose, mouth, teeth; neck, 
shoulders, arms, hands, chest, 
figure, stomach, legs, feet. 
Hiddcr details arfe noted but 
not s;:->ecified. Descriotion is 
often used for scenes, gardens, 
furniture, walls, etc, 

S, Contrarietas ~ A denial of the contrary of an 

idea before affirming it. 

» t >'■"' 


B • Vbbreviatio 


— This ia the contrary of 
Aiolificatio * it inciucies 
the met nods of treating, a 
the-uie with brevity. V'hen this 
is desired oue should avoid 
those devices which aim at 
enlrirtiing and amplifying a 

1, ^i^'gificatio 

2, »rti cuius 

— eiaphasis or innuendo. Using 
a prej-,nant expression or v;ord 
w^iich signifies more than is 
actually expressed. 

— usxng a series 
tne effect of ; 

of v;ord8 ivithout 
Tuis produces 
;oeed and finn- 

3, Farticioiurn absolutuni con.iupctuni — usin^ 
"■ absolute construction. 


4, Avoidance of repetition and description 

5. Intellectio — (synecdoche) mentioning the 

oart for the whole. 

6. Dissolutio 

(asyndeton) o;nittinF the usual 
connective words of clauses, or 
sentences in order to f:,ain an 
effect. This may be graaMatical 
or rhetorical. Graidifiatical 
asyndeton oudts a conjunction 
where it .idohti be used vvithout 
marked influence on the char.-cter 
of the thought* Rhetorical 
asyndeton £:;enerally expresses 
eaotion and contributes live- 
liness, rapidity, passion, or 
imoressiveness of thoUt<?iit. This 
figure is natural to someone 
laboring under violent eniotion 
and atteiaotinf to give speedy 
release to thou,r;ht. 


tS -; :.: A^ 


7» Occunatio — (occultatio) refusing to 

describe or narrate, while 
referring briefly to a sub- 
ject under cover of passing 
over it. 

III. Style and style orncUiients 


A, Kinds of style 

1. Stilus FXandiloquus --The high style is 

elevated and ornate and is 
used for treating lofty 

2. Stilus mediocris —The -iddle style is 

used for treating ordinary 
or coiiuiionDlace themes. 

3» Stilus huxnilis —The low style is also 

reserved for treating corrjuon- 
place themes. 


Ba Kinds of ornaraents 

1. Ornatus difficilis —The difficult orna- 
raents are to be used v.-hen 
treating oi lofty theine and 
when eiiiployii'ife the high style. 

a* Kominatio — (onomatopoeia) — when the 

soxind of the u'ord suf.^.ests 
the thin^^ signified. 

b. Pronoroinatio (antonomasia) — when a 

descriptive tena or epithet 
becoiues a proper nanie - re- 
presentative description. 
("That ^i^acious ^ay v/itaouten 
galle" - line 1^9, Tne I- earl .) 
when a person or object is 
desi.^nated by stating one or 
u'lore qualities or distinguish- 
ing characteristics of that 
person or object. 


c» ■t^cnoftii^atio (metonyiny) — when an attri- 
butive or su^:gestive word is 
substituted for the thing 
&it',nixiea, i.e., the container 
for tne tnini^;, contained, the 
effect for the cause or the 
cause for the effect. 

d. Circuito (periphrasis) — circu'uiocution: 

when a delibex^ate diffusenecs, a 
parade of i;ords is used which 
adds nothinf. to the bare idea 
but does serve to express it in 
a more pleasing way. 

e» TranGrressi o (hyperbaton) — v/hen v/ords are 

transposed out of their normal 
order or v.hen -.vords are s&oarat- 
ed vjhich naturally belong to- 
gether. Such displacement 
usually ^ives prominence to the 
first of the tvro words thus 
separated, but sometime s, the 
second also. It is used in 
prose less coiariioniy than in 
poetry. Its purpose may be to 
emphasize on i.joortant idea by 
plscin^i; it at the beginning or 
end of a clause or sentence. It 
may be used to mark passionate 
excite lient and to secure a 
rhyth;aical effect. 

f. :>u ;erlatio (hyperbole) ~ v/hen a subject 

is exaggerated, whether to en- 
large or to di:Tiinish; vmen the 
commonplace is made extraordinary, 
or the extraordinary, corniiionplace. 
Tne purpose of exaggeration is 
to render the object vivid and 
striking. (TiLis figure i-zas used 
by the rhetors of the Jecond 
oophistic because of its oov/er 
of display.) 

g. Intellectio (syaecuoche) — v;hen t>ere is 

an exchanr;e of closely related 
ideas in the relation of the 
part to the wtiole. 


h, Acusio 

i. Translatio 

j. .intithetuiii 

(catacbresis) — when words 
are usea ia Lae wrong sense. 
This is used often in character- 

(metat)hor) — «f/aen a word or 
pnrase literally denoting one 
kind of object or idea is used 
in place of another in order 
to suggest a likeness. 

Quintilian says tne metaphor 
is a shorter form of compari- 
son, with this difference: 
the object with which we desire 
to compare another is actually 
substituted for the object to 
which it is compared, not mere- 
ly likened to it by some ap- 
»rox>riate word of coiaoarison. 
Thus a aietaphor is an implied 
comparison — a compressed 


k. Ecitheturn 

With the cJoohists the iaeta.'hor 
lost ity si.uplicity and becarjie 
complex and intricate. It was 
a powerful cevice for Christian 
orators, because by it abstract 
ideas of religion and theology 
were siapliiied and rendered 
visible to the popular lAinrt. 

( content io) — ooposite expres- 
sion: when the expression which 
is contrary to the truth is ased 
ironically. It is fonaea by 
the artistic contrast of oppo- 
site or contrary terois. This 
may consist in single words, 
pairs of wQcds pr coruolete 

>rtien a decorative adjective 
is used in a trope sense. 


!• f'?yntutat , io (.*"''■• -^oria, invt-rsio) — a,1- 

i or irony: when a hirtden 

3 prweTit , It is a 
.. .oce :iO^:ie of expression 
LE under the literal 

..t.a;;ii.a£, or r-, .... '.,^i;c in direct 
opposition to that v.hich is 
expresaed. I'ht latter fonns 
the special trope, ircr-" - -•' 
its saudivipions; the , r, 

all^^fory proper. Alle/^ory 
proper ia u: "' produced by 

a ?,er:<e»« of .i'iorB.26 

M. >iet ale pais (tr .■ >> — 're is 

a '.u. -. ..■ exea • ^ . ■ . . .' th^t 

vfhicft went previous wit ri thiit 
which r " i;>tely after. 

It is ., of cetor-^.ay# 

n. .ujriij.-,«ta — --■* ri-Aciic;: v*aeii an j, ■'^'-. 

or o:;scui'-t; .-.;/^ii;;;: i .. 


2. truacus raci-Iia - ^t-e easy orua:' ;;v;; .•;■;. :;o je 

used vihen tr^r iti!,c c^j^sioni'i.-cti: 
subjects; they are associated 
v,ith the fniddle and i©w styles* 

a, yjt.urafe v.-rijorum — This includes vsjord 

fi^'Ures or figures of speech. 

^\ He etitio (anapnora, eooinaohora) — when 

there is a .- ' i the bc- 

ginnin': wor::.. _ :. ^^. ,:;ts or 
sentences. Thesfe retjetitions, 
piacea ait tne f 

tvo or i.ore :>i:t .•...., ......^se'S or 

sentences, r^i^y be either 

r, or alt err ate. Tho 
is ;-ore consnon. Besides 
charr-i, this device se- 
curvs for the comrcsition a 
certain ;.fravity, s- irit yjid 


2) Conversio 

3) Com'olexio 

4) Traductio 

5) iidnouiinatio 

(antistrophe, epiohora) — 
when there is a repeating of a 
word at the cloisiuj/ of successive 
phrases, clauses or sentences. 
This shift of position is regulated 
by the desire to avoid uionotony 
without foregoing the use of re- 

(syirtploce) — vrfien there is a 
use of both reoetiti o and con- 
versio. Example: 

aliud est, ut se transeat . 

6) Con tentio 

aliud ut JL Gfc trcaiseat . 

(polyptoton) — when a figure 
of sound is uoed in which two or 
more different cases of the same 
word are placed in neighboring 
positions, or vhere there is a 
repetition of a word in another 
place for emphasis* 29 

(p.ranomasia) — when words 
sindlur in sound but different 
in ;rieajriiii£ are set in opposition 
to each other. This is secured 
by iQodifications of the same 
word or v«/ords derived from a 
coidmon root. 

Thematic word r'epetition: when 
one repeats the same word with 
l:3rger or sma.llor chrmf^es at the 
finish. For example: bv adding 
a letter or a syllable, by changing 
a letter, by shufflin/, letters, by 
repetition of the saisie starting 
letter in a whole sentence, 

vfhen there is an antithesis of 



7) Exclar/xettio 

(ecphonesis) — Vnen thore is 
i^i expression of strong; eraotional 
fe«llnfr in order to excite 
sin-:ilar emotional feeling in 

QuintJlian recognizes exclamatio 

B) Interro.-atio 

12) Art i cuius 

as a fif^ure of rhetoric only 
when the enotion is siraulated. 


9) Ratiocincitio — 

10) Sententia 

11) Gontrarium 

(eroteiria) ~ vviien a question 
is asked for rhetorical effect- 
arid not for information. The 
questioner knows in advance 
v^at the answer must be. Th;l3 
figure is used to excite inter- 
est, to stimulate curiosity, 
to challenge oil opponent, or to 
arouse the emotions. The 
general effect is to enliven 
the discourse. 

vjhen a question is addressed 
by the speaker to himself • 

(gnome) — when a vrise and 
pithy saying is used. 

(co .rarietas) ~ v;hen a thouj-;ht 
is presented first negatively 
and then Toositively. Denying 
the contrary of an idea before 
affirming it. 

when a -.uc cession of ■"fords 
without conjimctlor.- /s used. 
This or.-^r'n^- ^ a stacc-.-to effect. 

13) Oontlnuatxo 

14) Membrum 

vjhen there xs a rapid succession 
of v.'ords to cosipletc c< sentence* 

— when referring to a part or 

raoniber Ol* ■< ".lause oi* sentence. 


'.i A 

hf '!■'■ 


15) C Ota oar — when balcincini' tv.o clauses 

of equal length; this is the 
laedieval .'ueaninf . The classical 
meaning: Isocolon - a period in 
wliich the members have an equal 
number of syllables. >.rj ex- 
tension of this fif^ure, the 
equi.lity of the number of syl- 
lables between sequent cola, 
phrases or clauses, is rej-iarded 
as an instance of isocolon, 
Parison: a modification of 
isocolon in v;hich the paral- 
lelism is extended from Tiere 
length, syllabic equality, to 
parallelism, of structure. 

16) Si;ailiter cadens — wiien two successive clauses 

end in words Vvith the same 
inflectional endings. 

17) Si:rdliter disincns — when tv/o successive clauses 
"^ end in words v^ith sivailar 


l"^) ^ub.iectio (anthyr)ophora) — v.'lien the 

writer answers his own demand; 
a suggested answer to a question. 

3-9) ■'>of initio (horis.aos) — when tl:ere is a 

very snort explanation; for 
instance, when a difference is 
sought betv/een tv;o v-ords. 

20) Transitio (.aetabasis) — vjhcn the writer 

su'ii^irizes shortly v.hat he has 
said up to the present and 
tells what x-dll follow. It is 
a brief state.ient of vhat has 
been said and v^hat viill follov/. 

21) Correct io (epanortaosis) ~ when an 

expression v.hich has been used 
is taken up irrmiediatcly and a 
more suitable one ;:iven. It is 
a substitution of o inore suitable 
word for one previously used. 

-f<.^.: , 


22) Occupatio (praetGritio) — v/hen there is 

an indic.jtion that soiaetMng is 
to be omitted, but it is actually 
mentioned briefly. 

23) lJi3.1unctum ( disjunct io) — when different 

Verbs are used to express similar 
ideas in successive clciuses. 

24) Coi'i.i^Anctum (conjunctio) — when one verb 

is used to express similar ideas 
in successive clauses. 

25) - xC;:unct.uni (adjunctio) — when one verb is 

used eitner iit the betiinnin^ or 
the ending of a sentence or clause 
for the expression of similar ideas 
in successive clauses^ or sentences. 

26} Condupllcatio (ploce) — fnedieval: wiien tiiere is 

a repeiiition or v.ords for e;iiotion 
or a repetition of several words 
at the beizinnin/' of sentences or 
clauses. This is reco'ruaended 
especially for the apostrophe. 

classical: Conduplicatio. est cum 
ratione afnnlific.^tionis. aut com - 
rrdserationis, e.jusdem unius. aut 
gl uriwu vcrboran itcro;.tio .32 

"This frequent repetition, which 
as I have said, is produced by 
a mixture of figures, is called 
plocfe by the Greeks. 33 

27) "Interoretgtio (synonymia) — v.'hen there is a 

repetition of an idea in different 
words. When by a v.-.riation of 
words the writer indicates the same 
idea many times. 34 

:■■<,■■■ ':.'•• .'. 



Z$ ) C oimnutati o 

29) Per: xssio 

30) Due it at ic 

31) l:.xpedltio 

32) Dissolutio 

(chiasmus) — v/hen the order 
of V ords in one of Uv;o parallel 
clauses is inverted in the other. 

In balanced cl.^uses when there 
is a reversal of order of the 
first clause in the second clause. 

When the second contrary thought 
develops fronfi the first. 

When there is a crossxvise 
arranf.err.ent of contrasted pairs 
of words, an arrangement which 
probably originated in an ef- 
fort to' break the aionotony of 

( synch-.. -e sis) — 
or conce.ssion. 

an ;j,d.ui3Sion 

When presenting a fact without 
giving one's thou;Khts on it, but 
carrying right on with something 

l^lien giving the audience leave 
to consider or judge according 
to their discretion. 

(aporia) — an expression of 
doubt or a.ssuiiied embarrassment. 

(enuiueratio) — ivhen the vvriter 
nawes ;ill possibilities but 
selects one and treats it. The 
disproof df all but one of vari- 
ous alternatives, such as, dis- 
cussing, ciany ways to do a thing 
and choosing one way. 

(asyndeton, dialjrbon) — when 
there is an omission of connective 

33) Praecisio (aposiopesis, reticentia) — 

when there is an unfijiished 
sentence, a hieaningf ui or 
emotional break; the cutting 
off of a speech for soiiie reason, 
such as, pa:jsint" to soiaething 
mor e i r.uae d i . ^ t e . 

34) Conclusio — a short iiii.iWiary. 

3^) Gradatio (climax) — when there is a 

repetition of the closing v;ord 
of one clause as the opening of 
the next, a linkint^ effect. 36 

Wlien through several sequent 
clauses or cola, thf conclusion 
of the second, the bet inning 
of the third, and so on through 
a series, the repeated eie:nent 
being inflected according to 
synoactical requireiaonts when 
necessary ( clcissical) , 

b. F i <^ur ae s ont cnt i arum — i.i_a .i-i. crudes figures of 


1; .jL^jisribuiii o {uyriamos) -- .vaen sections or 

parts are divided jad details 
are given. 

2) iicentia — when speech is bold or liable 

to censure. 

3) O iniinutio (ineiosis) — when a lesser 

word is used for a greater, 
raakini" the matter lesser than it 
actually is. a. self-depreciation 
or seir-dispara^,erQent» 

4) Descriptio ( pr agmatogxaphia) ~ when a 

matter is explained in a clear 
and lucid vjay. >;uen a thing is 
plainly described in full detail, 
or painted in vivid colors. 

<nj : i 


5) Divisio 

6) Frequent at io — 

(ctiaiysisi — wncii a clear 
decision cannot be made, a dilernioa» 
;yhen alternate ideas are given 
vrith equal substantiation, 

v;hen arguifients of facts are ac- 
cxifflulated. Vihen adjectives are 
amassed before a subatantive or 
VTfhen any single rhetorical device 
is amassed, i.e., a series of 
exempla « 

7) Expolitlo 

&) Sermocinatio — 

9) CoiTuaoratio 

10) Cent eat io 

11) Si militudo 

12) Exemplxam 

13) l^^'^/^o 

14) Effictio 

15) Koc>atio 

(exerpjasia) — when ci topic is 
enlarged by di^j^ussing it in 
various ways. 


vjhen a speecii is attributed to ^ 
someone; on imaginary discourse, J«^ 

(iiiu'ioratio) — when a particular 
Doint is eraphasized by repeating 
it a nujnber of times with variation, 

(antithesis) — vdaen contrary 
ideas are coupled, 

(horiioeosis) — simile: when an 
exact coiTiparison ia made in v/hich 
one thing, action, or relation is 
likened or explicitly conipared 
(often with "as" or "like") to 
something of different kind or 

(paradigma) — when an exaarole 
or story is used to illustrate 
a point, 

(icon) ~ when the iaiage of a 
person or thing is made by showing 
a detailed resemblance, 

(prosopographio) ~ a description 
of a person. v'Jhen the outward or 
physical appearance of a oerson is 

. a description of a person. When 
the moral or spiritual nature or 
character of a person ia described. 




16) Conformatio (prosopopoeia) — personi- 
fication: vmen the attributes of 
a person are ^^iveri to inanimate 
thin^ts, or to mute thint';s. 

■^"^^f M££j-Xi.c^i$io -- emphasis: when ;,aore is suggested 

than is actually said — innuendo. 

W) Brevl tar. — jihen an expression is raade short 

and concise. 

19) Do^mo ; ^ at ratio (vision) — v^hen an event or a 

scene is brourrit forcefully and 
vividly before one's eyes by 
description. 39 

i I- 


In setting . \rrth the rhc-t' ■■•.cal ri £v,cri.)tion known 
to rJ. "r-c-r it is perhoip3 helpful to ai^scuss briefly 
those theories of language and versification dsotling 
with the vernacular and the vulgar tongues, 

"^he De Vulgar! :^ioC:Ucntia of Dante is the first 
treatise ever composed on romance philology,^^ In this 
work as well as in the Vita Muova Dante seeks to estab- 
li£3h the suitability of the vernacular for both poetry 
and prose. In De Vult^ari i^loQuentia particularly, he sets 
forth the fonn most fitting for the subjects treatea oy 
the troubadours. This form he finds is the canzone . 
He distinguishes the canzone proper from the balatta 
or canzone a ballo> He gives rules for the construction 
of the canzone in every detail, Througliout the history 
of the development of the lyric we find its intimate 
relation to music. In tne in^in, it v/as written for musical 
setting. It was "a rhetorical fiction composed lausically",^^ 
Thus can. be seen how important wnr, th^ influence of con- 
te:aporary tiieory of versification on the development of 
the song in the Renaissance. 

There are to be found in Dante co/iiiuents of a rhet- 
orical nature wnicii may have influenced Chaucer. Dante 
strongly advocates, for instance, the close iraitdtion of 
the great classic-^i ■■'^* t-s. The more closely we imitate 


< ', 

■ a » 

s •> ' - 


;J1'. ,1. 


them, he says, "the more correctly we write poetry". ^^ 
Without the kno'dp^fje .^leaned from the study of Virgil 
and other ciui^cucux v.riofirs it is unliKuly that Dante could 
have written th.- Divina Co:Vnixedia # Those writers who "had 
studied exclusively their ProvGncal and Italian predeces- 
sors neglecting the classical poets, arid more particularly 
the Aeneid,"^^ lacked the power of higher flight. Tragedy 
for Dant-e demanded aji exalted and subliiiie mode of speech, 
and comedy, a speech that was lax and humble. Rhetorically 
the influence of Oante on Chaucer consists primarily in 
his advocating the imitation of classical authors and in 
the use of the vernacular language. 

Since the lyric poems of the Middle --if;es viere com- 
posed mainly to be sung, the emphatic oi; ;-rosody is readily 
understandable. Dante, like Machaut, v/as a trained 
musician: "And therefore a Canaone appears to be nothing 
else but the co-upieted action o^:' ane Vi'i^xtxag ivords set to 

Dimte wrote no canzoni in later life; this suggests that 
his viev/s on vernacular poetry had peraaps cnanged sornewiiat. 
He presented the Divine coirjedy as Cnaucer presented the 
huinrsn nnnedy as the f;,reat burden of artistic power. Both 
were concerned with the shorter lyric forms in their early 
work. Significantly, however, they both turn to the ver- 
nacular narrative form to project the sustained flights 
of their mature poetry. 

I ' 

I .'.". '.w- '^'t^.'X 


In the French -rernKcular theories of versification 
vjere generally knovsn us la seconde riethorigue ^^ in contrast 
to "first rhetoric", a term reserved for Latin trcatiaes. 
Most of these theoretical tracts in the vernacular post- 
date Chaucer, Deschamp's L*art de Dlctie r« hoivever, 
Vfhich contains precise directions for making cnansons, 
ballades, virelais and rondeaux, was written in 1392,^ 
Chaucer »s early and more rhetorically constructed vjorks 
are not likely to have been influenced by this docuiaent. 
They may very well, however, have been composed under the 
infiuence of an earlier tradition which it reoi-esen-cs. 
Langiois sugf.ests that uiany of the tracts concerned with 
la seconde Rethorique . and dated after 1400, were in 
existence earlier. 

The interest in the short lyric begat a vogue for a 
variety ox verse forms, and the propensity for codification 
brought about a rigid set of rules concerning versification 
and :!ietric3. .vnilfc the lyric ooetry of earlier times de- 
raanded that each r^oet constantly invent new meters and rhythms, 
the ne'A "jetrj uuw prescribed definite aietrical rorois for a 
variety of lyric types. These types v/ere determined by their 
metrical form rather than by content and individual sensi- 

'^^^'^ ballade , by far the i)iost popular forci, developed 
from the old pastourelle and chanson. It contains three 

111.. ':.. '■!■ 




; '..,■.■.■1 -v.^tj -'.v .y: ^-.. ^■■/' v; '. ii-; 


~\ ■' I 

i. ,■.;') 

■■,v ,-v.:A; •: ^1 

,->:v''> '■ 


r«...Ci"(;, i:'>1v '^A"* 

(■■v-:> ,;* ■ 

' V • ;' 

> ' '- '," 

.^,■!Ji*.t y 

.. v <'?.». 



stanzas with the same rhyirie and a refrain. Descharaps 

added an envoi . It is comprised of eight octosyllables 

or ten decasyllables. The virelai . originally ^ Jancing- 

song, has a refrain heading its three stanzas. The 

rondeau also originated from the dancing-song.^ Its 

one stanza is preceded and concluded by a refrain of 

several lines. The opening line is repeated within the 

stanza. The rondeau forms the earliest stafre and the ballade 

the last sta£,e of this interesting evolution. 

The chant royal or chanson has usually five stanzas 
made no of decasyllabic lines. The ter.n is a ^:eneral 
concept designating courtly love-song, ti.ough it also 
includes specific types. The therae of the chanson , hov/ever, 
is always siiailar. It tells of thfc love of tne ooet for 
a beautiful unapyjroachable lady, thought of as the wife 
of another. Often the lover comolciins of cruelty or 
lack of encouragement on the part of the lady. Usually 
the chanson is concluded with an envoi . The stanzas 
are connected two by tivo or all together by the same 
rhy.iie. They are tripartite as is indicated in either 
verse form or rhyme. 

Other types of short lyrics include the !.;otet . the 

lai, ouij uescart , the debat and the complainte . Hotets 


are very short poems to which popular refrains were added. "^ 

;' .-.' ;'.; .t \ ■;. ' 0^': ''^; 

rM'.i. ,"u.. ,.. :; r>^/ I ' 


,,"i:n-? .-.>■, s ,,■ 

:■) H 


rv , C> 

■-<• .•;?'.> I' iJ 


"i .il T 

hd.;..* '/'f 


They originated ss cnurch coi;vn-)P,it.i.nn-- /^th Latin texts 


for choral singing;. Lais are cniei L.- iove-songs. They 

v;ere formerly texts put to an already established e'ir 
and therefore had no regular stanza. The descart is 

■similar to the lai being the Proven9al name for trie same 

type. These last three types all have musical 

The naifies of both Wiachaut and Der> champs are closely 
associated with the new lyric verse. Froissart who was 
the '.iiscinle of ilach^ut and \^■ho composed ballades , rondeaux, 
chante royaux ana pastouiellos. as well .-iS longer poeius 
called traities, v/as also associated viith this tradition. 
It is i4achaut, however, who is considered the "father" 
of the nev," lyric verse. He was a i.iusician auc exneri- 
mented with Most of the forms. The ballade, aowever, 
appear;.: to have been his favorite. Deschai-aps was also 
a musician; in L'art oe Olctitr he divided music into 
two kinds, "natural" and "artificial", ;auch as the 
rhetoricians divided style into the same two classifications. 
Natural rausic is that of the speakin.t, voice. It is this 
of which poetry takes advantage. Artificial music is 
of fixed int rv^ls or pitch as sounded by voice or in- 

Deschaifsps, however, was the most prolific of all 
the writers of the lyric. His writing is mainly verse 


i>.:!^r-'-.; j!?;>;'U:^ 



1 t *,/;.' ,^ i ■>■ 

" ■,<.•.■ ! 


and includes over 80,000 lines, oiore than 1100 ballades . 

almost 200 rondeaujc ay v;ell as many siaaller poems. ''^ 

The lyric poets of this a^e are not less vol- 
uminous than their brethren, Guillaume de ^-ijichault 
and his pupil Mustache Descha;up3 have left betv/een 
them nearly 200,000 verses, >4iile Froissart foiind 
tirae, before he devoted himself to history, to 
throw off some 50,000. The facility, which this 
cooiousness implies, is also visible in the form 
of their verse. The freshness ;ind simplicity 
of the earlier son£,s have been exchanged for the 
polished, but somevjhat pedantic, art of the 
ballade and the rondeau, and other fixed forms 
of verse. Much graceful ooetry v;as written in 
these fixed forms, but too often ingenuity took 
the place of insrjiration, and art degenerated 
into artificiality. 

In short, the literature of the fourteenth 
century is characterized by that unfailing 
si-ai of decadence, want of originality. 55 

Deschani,^;. v -s born about the same time as Gh^ucer and 

died around 1420. He v/as an admirer and perhaps a friend 

of his English contemporary as is suggested by a 

ballode addressed to Geoffrey Chaucer, on sending him 

his writings. Machaut was born near the end of the 

13th century and died in 13^0. Chaucer was greatly 

influenced by him as is evidenced by the many instances 

of imitation. He borrowed from Machaut his character! ttic 

five-measured iambic couolet. 

The titles of subsequent treatises on poetic form 

reflect the rhetorico-noetical vogue which developed 

in France during the 15th and 16th centuries: 

A"< '- 

€', 1.1 

" < 

<:■. I. 


The treatises not only recorded the progress 
of the fona and the practice of the poets who 
used it, but in some cases suytwTtei elabor- 
ate innovations or novel coraolicdtions of a 
type already sufficiently fixed and intricate. 
The handbooks of poetics that multiplied in 
these years are very generally looked upon 
as a symptom of decadence. 57 

The tradition oC l a seconde Rethorique significantly 

reflects the emphasis on form which dominated the 

literary endeavor of the later Middle Ages. 

The fourteenth century was not only an age of 

great artistic achievement, it was also a century which 

held the beacon that signaled the close of the i«iiddle 

Ages and at the same ti.'ne lighted the torch v^hich was 

to illuir.inate the succeeding corridors of time. In 

England particularly^ this century was a time of high 

development and vigorous intellectual activity. Thij 

period marks also the beginning of a new spirit. Chaucer 

more than any other writer points to a new age while yet 

vividly reflecting the cuimil>-;tive glory of the past. That 

he stands on the ridge of two dynamic ages and v/ith tv/o 

distinct views is seen r.iost particularly in his artistry. 

His new t linkin^i. is consistently projected in medieval 

form, and thus we realize the transitional nature of 

his work. His developraent, as vre shall see, did not 

move forward as a direct break vith the contemporary 

poetic; a great artist reflects the age and the landscape 




which he transcends. This is part oi" his genius. 
Chaucer 'i:. i^rc^atest advance:>ient i? to be found in tne 
realm of thou^-Jit and inspiration, vie find in his poetry 
not a mere arrangement of intellect in general idealised 
terms, but ar. individuality vnich is new in sr^irit and 
rich in a pervasive humor which is an integral part 
of his poetic vision and his aesthetic pattern. His 
general meaning is moaern as is his critical point of 
view which ia individual and personal. His form, though 
largely wedieval, reflects u distinctive and significant 


As stated above, for .aost v.riters of the Middle 
Ages poetry was a verbal nosaic intricately patterned 
b^ the .-aany available i^hetorical devices. The above 
outline of conte'iiporary oiedieval poetic de-uonstrates 
conclusively the n^^ture of literary coriiaunication in 


Then out of the maze of formal perfections^ steps 
Chaucer to j'^esent a pageant of life v;hich is charged 
with vivid reality — .iioving, dynaiiiic. He relates the 
same tales as did raariy of the other v?riters; he knows 
the same poetic theory, ouid yet his poetry is alive, 
fresh, intii.-iate. His people are not typical abstractions 



drciwn according to the superficial plcin of rhetoric. 
They speak a natural, realistic and idioiuatic ian/;;uage. 
They breathe a living breath and experience real emotions — 
subtle, detailed, individual, and marvelously heightened 
•j^rith an infectious poetic fe:,iow. We cannot resist thern; 
v;e cannot view thenn dispassionately as idealized sy.iibols» 
A'e are intiiaately concerned with their activity, because 
in them we see ourselves in a varied pattern of human 
activity, and so oui' interest is iitirnediate, vital, lasting. 

How does Chaucer do this? .vherein lies the povjer 
of his genius? How was he able to project and sustain 
an artistic form v/hich at once reflects tne poetic 
naUit Ox his age and yet Ciiiinently transcends it? i4ow 
is he able to reveal in his poetry his singular largesse 
of inind, his ccnvoassionate understanding, his deep and 
4;entie numor, his unique poetic vision? These are 
questions to which an investigation of tnis kind seeks 
a satisfactory answer, ^nd the clue v/ould seem to lie 
in his reaction to trie rules and practice of rhetoric 
and poetic. 

Thus it is that, with the foregoing nistory of rhetoric 
and poetic in iidnd as well as the notions concerning the 
fundaiaental place of narration in literary art, we 
ex£i:.aine the ; oetry of Chaucer to consider the influence 
of the rhetorical tradition on his narrative art. 

I- ^ -':>'. 











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