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The Art of Rhetoric

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  4,661 ratings  ·  216 reviews
With the emergence of democracy in the city-state of Athens in the years around 460 BC, public speaking became an essential skill for politicians in the Assemblies and Councils – and even for ordinary citizens in the courts of law. In response, the technique of rhetoric rapidly developed, bringing virtuoso performances and a host of practical manuals for the layman. While ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published October 31st 1991 by Penguin Classics (first published -322)
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Not Aristotle's clearest or best organized work, but still part of the core curriculum of a liberal education.

Why read Aristotle today? Because he is one of the greatest minds in Western history, and such a person's well-considered thoughts are inherently worth reading, if anything is.

In addition, this book was deliberately aimed at those seeking to play an active role in a democratic society, to help them fulfill their function as citizens of a free society. We in the West imagine ourselves (mo
Jul 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Aristotle defines. Unmercifully. And The Art of Rhetoric is no exception. Aristotle disdained the sophist tradition of ancient Greece as much as Plato, but he also understood that rhetoric was a popular study of the day and it became another discipline he sought to master. With a scientific eye and a mind toward philosophical value, Aristotle studied rhetoric as “the power to observe the persuasiveness of which any particular matter admits” (pg. 74; Ch. 1.2). Rhetoric, when used appropriately, b ...more
Jesse Broussard
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mediocre
I'm sure it's excellent, necessary, brilliantly designed, etc. But so is a sewer system, and you don't want to spend too much time there either. ...more
May 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: antiquities
Right off the bat, Im not going to say I understood it all. I felt like a fish out of water for a bit with Aristotles discussions on enthymemes and syllogism and so on (mostly because my previous experience with Classical Philosophy centred on choice passages relating to social history rather than on philosophy for philosophies sake). I had read parts of his discussions on emotions for a social history class, but the bulk of the book was new for me.
I went into it looking for a better understand
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think I finally figured out Aristotle! Before I read this, I didn't really connect with his thinking, but now I think I do.

The Art of Rhetoric is an astoundingly comprehensive guide to the complex and delicate skill of oration. It moves through three parts: firstly, Demonstration, secondly: Emotion and Character and thirdly: Universal Aspects, each one covering a different part of the skill.

Aristotle leaves no stone unturned in his search for what makes great oration great. As a result, there
Paul Haspel
You may never have read anything by Aristotle; but if you've ever taken a college writing course, you've had him as your teacher. The Art of Rhetoric did so much to define how subsequent generations, and civilizations, regarded the task of crafting persuasive language that it can truly be regarded as a founding text. Methodically, Aristotle sets forth his sense of how the writer's handling of character and emotion contributes to success in rhetorical terms. His insights regarding style and compo ...more
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book of Aristotle’s highly taxonomical Rhetoric opens with a parsing of dialectic and rhetoric. He sets up the latter as an art of persuasion related to but nevertheless distinguishable from the former. After exploring the usefulness of syllogisms and enthymemes for both arts, Aristotle sets out his three basic categories of rhetorical discourse: deliberative, judicial (or forensic), and epideictic. He spends the rest of the first book exploring topics (related to the Greek topos, for ...more
The only rhetoric textbook a classical school should ever need (I exaggerate slightly... but not much). Aristotle's Art of Rhetoric has everything. And it's all brilliant. I've been using this (Book I particularly) as my 11th grade writing curriculum this year, and it's amazing. This translation (Waterfield) in particular is much easier for my students to grasp than other translations out there, and it doesn't take much to turn his advice here into a series of really practical writing assignment ...more
Jacob McConville
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aristotle is such a king
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Don't be put off by the rating. Worth a read. ...more
On public speaking in politics, law, eulogies. Aristotle suggests persuasiveness comes from arguments, emotions, credibility, and from style.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
I need an Idiot's Guide type book to help me with this one because this is just not sinking in. Perhaps I need to reread it. ehh. I'm not really a fan of rhetoric to begin with but this is certainly the book for orators, politicians, and lawyers to be. Proof, proof, proof, make sure you can back up what you say, but when you don't have proof, at least say it with style and panache, that's half the battle. An interesting read during election season.

One of the most interesting moments in this boo
Feb 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is obviously a classic to the field of rhetoric. It also contains what is essentially the first treatise on human psychology, in addition to systematically analyzing the art of persuasion.

I have never read any other editions of this book, but I would recommend this edition to everyone who wants to read it. George Kennedy's translation and his commentary are incredibly helpful, even amusing at times. His sheer knowledge of Aristotle and this work (he must have spent decades on it) is st
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Art of Rhetoric is a study of argumentative persuasion using two modes- example or enthymeme to promote truth and justice. Divided in three parts it is taking a look into into the speaker, emotions, the *logos* and style of the speech.
Throughout the book I couldn’t stop thinking of how much of Aristotle is really left in those words; and many examples got me lost simply because having no context in my mind. However, I suggest this book for those who are concerned about effective communicati
G.M. Burrow
Read this when I barely knew what "rhetoric" meant. So I should sift through it again. ...more
Banal Girl
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: college
It is okay. Aristotle is a bad writer. However, his ideas make sense and where really important for the human evolution!
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The relevance of this book is mind-boggling. It's easy to draw a plethora of parallels from the enumerated rhetorical devices and tips of Aristotle to the modern orators, both public and private. Aristotle was clearly an honest man, for an ignoble cad would hardly have shared all their secrets for public success as openly and thoroughly as the ol' Greek master.

Yet, in spite of his honesty, he acknowledges the inherent dishonesty of the art of rhetoric. This art does not deal with facts and trut
Tom Shannon
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
There is so much depth in here that is interesting and helpful, but unlike a lot of his work this one was written like a textbook.

A book that begins so much of our modern logical studies having three stars might be slightly offensive but the reading itself is just not that interesting which the translator succinctly warns the reader before delving into this work.

However, I was still able to take a lot of insight into political argumentation and determinative writing that i would not have if I h
Alexandre le Petit
Very interesting book of one the masters of western philosophy. Well written, this short book is a useful anatomy of rhetoric. We find a wise advises to deliver a speech and convince an assembly. I do not give 5 stars because we don't have more direct advises, or maybe it is just my contemporary expectations for a book of self-improvement. ...more
Ethan Slabbert
Probably the most important book to read in a persons life (unless you're religious).
This book contains and elaborates on the modes of persuasion such as Ethos, Logos, and Pathos.
Read this book 3 times and it never gets old.
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, classics
Overall, I found the book messy and terrible structured. Not the best I've read from Aristotle. ...more
Zac Sydow
May 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Aristotle is a failed Platonist
Brandon Sitch
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Παντες ανθρωποι τον εἱδεναι ορεγονται φυσει-Ἀριστοτέλης

There's this thing little kids do, when they find something they're interested in, where they have to tell everyone every single thing they know about the subject. It almost seems like a pre-theory-of-mind quirk in which a kid literally cannot imagine that another human being could find the subject less than captivating. I myself remember being little and telling anyone—or, at least, anyone who would listen—everything I knew about dinosaurs
Daniel Gargallo
Mar 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A translation is mainly an analogue to another text. This edition presents a direct analogue that, to the layman, doesn’t arouse any suspicions of misrepresentation in the text, and sustaining that particular suspension of disbelief is the measure of any translator's work.

I was totally content with this specific publication, but my interests were to read it once and be done with it. This is an unglamorous edition and I wouldn’t give it to your daughter’s boyfriend for Christmas.

As a speechwrit
James Henderson
While this is a book about rhetoric the broad definition that is used by Aristotle allows for excursions into philosophy, government, history, ethics, and literature. Thus when discussing the proper organization of a speech Aristotle draws on literary examples from Homer and Herodotus to Sophocles. No one can deny the strength of Antigone's argument when she says, "But when mother and father have gone to Hades there is no brother who can be born again".(p 271)
The work is difficult for Aristotle
Eric McLean
There is a lot of good stuff here (obviously-it's Aristotle, man!) and it almost feels wrong not giving this 5 stars, but alas...I just didn't find all of it very interesting. I struggled to finish this, mostly because there were some great points on rhetoric surrounded by mountains of definitions that don't really seem to define rhetoric as it is today. I'm sure there are some more modern texts that get at the same ideas in a more modern context-but we all owe a lot of that to Aristotle.

Oct 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: phd-studies
Surprisingly, most of my classical studies did not involve so much Aristotle, so this is my first full encounter with his primary text. He definitely has a lot to say about the way others should say things. This edition's editor makes constant reference to places when Aristotle dropped the ball, by the time I got to Style, I could see that students at the Lyceum were lucky enough to have an engaging instructor who wanted them to try innovative ways of speaking. ...more
Leopold Benedict
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Oldie but goodie.
Aristotle divides rhetoric into three spheres with distinct purposes. The political speech, the judicial and the eulogy. A skillful speaker is characterised by his ability in three features, logic, pathos and ethos. Ethos, the character and credibility of the speaker, is the one that is widely underestimated in contemporary rhetoric. Other than that, you will get your good old Aristotle with lots of definitions.
Brittany Petruzzi
I cleared my one-star rating for being a purely subjective impression as a college freshman. Never have I read a more unpersuasive and engaging treatment of the art of persuasion. Perhaps I would have found it more so with a better translation? Someday I may pick up a Sachs translation and give it another go.
Rick Davis
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rhetoric, philosophy
Though this entire book encompasses Aristotle's theory of the Rhetorical Art, I believe that meditating on Book 1 is most likely to make me a better Rhetoric teacher.

Meditating on Book 3 is most likely to make me a better writer.

Meditating on Book 2 is most likely to make me a better human being.
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(Greece: Αριστοτέλης)
(Arabic: أرسطوطاليس)
(Bulgarian: Аристотел)
(Russian: Аристотель)
(Ukrainian: Арістотель)
(Alternate European spelling: Aristoteles)
(Italian: Aristotele)

Aristotle (384–322 B.C.) numbers among the greatest philosophers of all time. Judged solely in terms of his philosophical influence, only Plato is his peer: Aristotle's works shaped centuries of philosophy from Late Antiquity thro

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