Posts Tagged ‘Quintilian


Ramus’ Arguments in Rhetoric against Quintilian

Ramus, Arguments in Rhetoric Against Quintilian
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
•    Ramus is accused of undermining the whole tradition
•    Calls for a union of philosophy and eloquence
o    Separating spheres of 1) philosophy: dialectic; 2) rhetoric: style
•    Invention proceeds with 10 topics: causes, effects, subjects, adjuncts, opposites, comparisons, names, divisions, definitions, and witnesses
•    Dialectic becomes method for testing truth in any sphere of knowledge
•    Tropes of style to 4: metonymy, irony, metaphor, synecdoche
•    Ramus condemns Quintilian for making study of arousing emotion apart of rhetoric—it belongs to philosophy
•    Trope involves a single word, figure involves a group of words
o    A trope turns a word from its proper meaning; a figure’s proper meaning is unaffected
Arguments against Quintilian
•    The arts of dialectic and rhetoric have been confused by Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian
•    Cicero: made one art from two (invention and arrangement)
•    These scholars collected a lot of material but didn’t evaluate it sufficiently
•    Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilan are confused in their treatment of the dialectical and rhetorical’s use of reason
•    Quintilian: “the orator can’t be perfect unless he’s a good man”
o    Virtuous qualities of character
•    Theory of virtues proper to rhetoric, not philosophy?
•    In Quintilian’s five parts of rhetoric, he doesn’t fit philosophy anywhere in there
•    Rhetoric should demonstrate the embellishment of speech first in tropes and figures, second in dignified delivery
o    The dialectic is encroaching on rhetoric
•    Ramus: only two parts of rhetoric: style and delivery
•    An orator can’t be perfect without philosophy
•    Quintilian: goal of orator is not to persuade (this depends on chance result), but rather to speak well
•    Invention, arrangement, and memory→ belong to dialectic
o    Shouldn’t be intermingled with rhetoric
•    Ramus and Quintilian: rhetoric is the science of speaking well on all subjects
•    Quintilian records paltry falsehoods, not precepts derived from actual practice
•    Argument is a process of reason providing proof
Critical Moments in the Text
•    559: “Any subject can be analyzed in this way [structuring arguments by division or dichotomy].  Moreover, such arrangement renders other arts of memory unnecessary, for since this arrangement bodies forth the natural structure of both the world and the human mind, anything organized in this way is retained easily and thoroughly.”
•    565: “What then can be said against this definition of an orator? I assert indeed that such a definition of an orator seems to me to be useless and stupid: Why? Because a definition of any artist which covers more than is included in the rules of his art is superfluous and defective.  For the artist must be defined according to the rules of his art, so that only as much of the art as the true, proper principles cover—this much is attributed to the artist, and nothing further.”
•    567: “For all that, Quintilian continues and maintains his own opinion that since dialectic is a virtue, so therefore is rhetoric.  Quintilian should turn the whole thing around and should more correctly conclude that since dialectic is not a moral virtue which can shape a good man, so neither is rhetoric.”
•    576: “He teaches nothing about memory and delivery in the exordium and statement of facts; he confuses the very few instructions concerning style and arrangement.  And so I say that a theory of invention is left, which not only has nothing that could be referred to the true art of invention, but is one which I declare to be completely unreliable, sophistic, pedantic, and utterly puerile.”


Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria: Book 11, Chapter 2

Quintilian: Institutio oratoria
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
•    The best students are those who excel at memory work and mimicry
•    Quintilian defines rhetoric as “the art of speaking well”
o    Well = effectively and virtuously
•    Oratory that doesn’t move its hearers toward good is not rhetoric
•    Natural ability and learning both contribute equally to rhetorical skills
•    ≠ Cicero: gave natural ability primacy
•    5 parts of rhetoric: invention, arrangement, expression, memory, delivery/action
•    3 subject matters: the panegyrical, the deliberative, the judicial
•    3 offices an orator must accomplish in every speech: inform, move, please
•    Stasis theory ask three questions: “Whether a thing is?”; “what is it?”; “of what species it is?”
Book 11, Chapter 2
•    Memory is strengthened by exercise—all knowledge depends on memory
•    An orator should have an abundance of facts memorized and ready to dispense
•    Memory is the treasury of eloquence
•    While we utter one thought, we always have to think of the next
o    Always looking beyond the immediate object
•    The memory transmits these conceptions to the delivery: intercommunication
•    Memory may be dulled by the condition of the body
•    Even inferior animals exhibit memory (returning to their homes)
•    Memory doesn’t always stay with us, but returns after being lost
•    Memory provides the orator with an order—extends series almost to infinity
o    Patience of the hearer should fail sooner than the memory of the speaker
•    Quintilian agrees with Plato when he says: what we commit to writing we lose—cripples our memory
o    We lose it through mere neglect
•    Simonides: memory assisted by localities impressed on the mind
•    Place thoughts in line with symbols—walk through house and recite all items in any order
•    Cicero: must fancy many plain and distinct places
•    Metrodorus: 360 places and 12 sun signs (Yates: zodiac)
o    Boastful of his memory as a result of art, not gift of nature
•    How can the orators words flow on if he has to continually refer to particular images?
•    Advantages to learn long speeches in parts; section should not be too short as that distracts and harasses the memory
•    Finding similarities between objects is very helpful—will have greatest effect in fixing things in our memory
•    Learn to memorize from the same tablets on which something’s written originally
o    Will see all changes this way, too
•    Memorize aloud—silence will let other thoughts interfere
•    Testing by repetition
•    The only and great art of memory is exercise and labor
o    Learn much by heart and daily meditation
•    Reminiscence: the most efficient quality of memory
•    Question: should those who are readying to deliver a speech:
o    Learn it by heart verbatim?
o    Or, master the substance and order of particulars?
•    A good memory appears like we’ve created a speech in that instant


Yates’ The Art of Memory

Yates: Art of Memory
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Theme: The art of memory in relation the formation of images

(Still working my way through this text.)
• Simonides: order and mental places critical for good memory (Sim: originator of memory—tells story about how he remembered all guests at dinner party after the ceiling came crashing in on them)
• Orator could improve his memory, enabling him to deliver long speeches w/o fail and accuracy
• Quintilian: memory places—a building, as walking through it
• Cicero: Simonides story—sense of sight is the strongest
Ad Herrenium: Two kinds of memory: natural and artificial
o (Today, how is artificial memory factored into this? Is artificial digital memory replacing natural memory?)
• Things and words memories
o Words: The language in which subject is coded
o Things: Subject matter of speech
• Need to systematize random association
• Tullius: 2nd Rhetoric—artifcial memory by which natural memory can be improved
• 1st Cen: Quintilian: Institutio Oratoria
o 100 years earlier: Cicero: De Oratore
• 30 years earlier: Cicero: De Inventionae
Ad Herennium
• Perception ⇔ Imagination ⇔ thought
o Imagination is the same part of the soul as memory
• Aristotle: recollection is deliberate effort to find one’s way through the content of memory
• Plato: Phaedrus –memory is not just a section, but a ground work for the whole
o Platonic memory: organized≠mnemotechnics
Ad Herennium: related to/derived from the zodiac?
• Middle ages: rules for images: strikingly ugly or beautiful
• Memory for things: notations by images
• Memory for words: words for images
• Thomas’ rules: places and images of artificial memory
Rosario author: Natural places : places memorized in the country (trees, etc); artificial places: places memorized in buildings (windows, etc.)
• Invisible memory places: internalized for mnemonic purposes
o Not intended for externalization
• Petrarch: Mediaeval → Renaissance memory
o Important authority for artificial memory

July 2017
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