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The Art of Rhetoric

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,161 ratings  ·  177 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, 304 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
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, ...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.
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
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 ...more
Feb 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book of Aristotles 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
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
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 ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Don't be put off by the rating. Worth a read.
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
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
G.M. Burrow
Read this when I barely knew what "rhetoric" meant. So I should sift through it again.
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
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 couldnt 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
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
Aug 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!
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.
Brandon Sitch
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy
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 anyoneor, at least, anyone who would listeneverything 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, doesnt 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 wouldnt give it to your daughters boyfriend for Christmas.

As a speechwriter,
Feb 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

Will Mego
Mar 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2016
Don't throw things at me.

When I trudged through the dull translation of a section that proclaimed no value to a type of oration that I had just that evening used to great effect in a public political speech to a small audience, perhaps the years have been unkind, but I knew this wasn't going to be of great use to me. Times change, and sophistry is a fact. Wishing it away changes nothing.
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.
Apr 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I am glad to be reminded of this wonderful book, although I read it some time ago. It is effectively practical advice in nature which perhaps I did not completely appreciate at the time. Perhaps it is time to read it again.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
aristocrats must talk pretty to keep the peasants in line.
Michael de Percy
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Some of this book reads like a manual for living with what seem to be the simplest instructions imaginable. Wake up, lift the cover, put your feet on the floor, stand up, go to the bathroom, etc. Yet when one thinks about this being some of the earliest writings in recorded history, this instruction manual in how to be persuasive in speech and in writing states exactly what we teach our university students today. And therein lies the simplicity that belies its brilliance. This is my first ...more
J. Alfred
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was ok
Aristotle is one of those guys that you know is a seminal influence on the whole of civilization, and yet seems to have gotten there by saying all the obvious things. (Somebody had to do it!) The man is clearly brilliant, but not quite congenial to modern taste, if I'm any judge. Case in point: a treatise on rhetoric-- that is, the art of speaking well-- should not, I submit, be impossibly labored, irritatingly imprecise in terminology, and totally unmemorable, and yet this seems to be.
Nikolaj Laustsen
Argument Forensics

The work is a bit disorganized, and you pile between the points in a way that make it difficult to follow.

But it is excellent with an introduction from the creator of the work on rhetoric, the book has been widely used in teaching communications, but the ideas here give a good insight into the origin of rhetoric and argumentation technique.

I give the book a 4-star rating, because i think there is something to be learned, witch is not given in other books on the subject. The
David Mytton
The first 20% of the book is a commentary from the translator which helps to set the scene for the main body of work. This was a useful introduction but I thought that some of it should have come after the main text as an explanation of what the reader just read, rather than what is about to be read.

I found the most interesting and useful aspects of Aristotle's work to be the final couple of chapters on style and form. The rest of the text seems to be more about providing definitions, which I
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(Greece: Αριστοτέλης)
(Arabic: أرسطوطاليس)
(Bulgarian: Аристотел)
(Russian: Аристотель)
(Ukrainian: Арістотель)
(Alternate European spelling: Aristoteles)
(Italian: Aristotele)

Aristotle (384322 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

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