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The Art of Rhetoric

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  3,189 Ratings  ·  132 Reviews
Few, if any, writers in history have made major contributions to as many fields of knowledge as Aristotle...

'If there are two definitive features of ancient Greek civilization,' writes Hugh Lawson-Tancred in his wide-ranging Introduction, 'they are articulacy and competition.' In the city-states oratorical competence was an essential asset for politicians in the Assemblies

Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 31st 1991 by Penguin Classics (first published -322)
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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
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
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
Alp Turgut
Aristoteles'in Platon'un "Gorgias"da bahsettiği Retorik kavramını bir üst seviyeye taşıdığı eseri "The Art of Rhetoric / Retorik", insani tutumlara dair mükemmele yakın tanımlamarıyla adeta bir hayat sözlüğü niteliğinde. Kıskançlık, kibir, gurur, hırs, yaşlılık, gençlik gibi bir sürü kavramın açıklamalarını okuma şansı bulduğumuz eserde özellikle ilk iki kitabı okurken ünlü filozofun zekasına ve gözlemlerine hayran kalıyorsunuz. Öte yandan, eğretileme ve konuşma tekniklerinden bahsettiği daha ço ...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.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Don't be put off by the rating. Worth a read.
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
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
Gwen Burrow
Read this when I barely knew what "rhetoric" meant. So I should sift through it again.
Daniel Gonçalves
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lido para a disciplina de retórica, obviamente. Um marco na história da civilização.
Martin Hassman
Kniha mi vůbec nesedla. Asi to bylo kombinací více faktorů.
- Překladem do archaické češtiny - z akademického pohledu to je asi ocenitelné, ale špatně se mi četla.
- Nedostatečnou znalostí reálií antického Řecka. Odkazuje se na ně neustále, ztrácel jsem se v tom.
- Přístupem k tématu. Co jsem hledal, že autor řekne k tématu by zabralo asi jen desetinu knihu, zbytek byla pro mě "vata" okolo.

Ve výsledku bych si radši přečetl předžvýkaný výtah, který přinese zajímavé myšlenky autora současnému čtenáři
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
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
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.

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.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it did not like it
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.
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.
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Je me suis régalé avec Aristote.
Michael de Percy
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-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 cover- ...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.
Ahem: "e
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 la
Zachary Rudolph
Dec 31, 2016 rated it liked it
“Sweet-natured through their not having yet observed much wickedness, and credulous through their not yet having been many times deceived, and optimistic ... because they have not frequently met with failure. And for the most part they live in hope; for hope is of the future and remembrance of the past, and for the young the future is long and the past short; for on one’s first day one can remember nothing but hope for everything. And they are easily deceived for the reason given (that they easi ...more
Roberto Rigolin Ferreira Lopes
We are in 322 BC, Aristotle is compiling all he knows about human-to-human communications (rhetoric). Even after more than 2000 years (reading it in 2017), seems that he is still mostly RIGHT. Diverging (bad rhetoric?), he should be spending more time working on his physics because he was mostly WRONG on that book (340 BC). Maybe this means that our intellectual tools were quite enough to understand human motivations but quite insufficient to understand nature (advanced technology needed). Just ...more
May 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: Herder
Shelves: classics, informative
Aristotle's work is very difficult to understand but this work is very important in explaining how people should represent themselves through their words. I found this book to be beneficial during my class but I feel reading this book without any external guidance is difficult and it is hard to grasp the entire meaning of the text.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such a pity that my ability to easily understand Aristotle has come to me late in life. Such a blessing that now that I'm old, I finally am able to easily understand Aristotle. This book on Rhetoric is on the money, and I strongly recommend it, especially for any who do public speaking.
Steven Piet
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still a classic

Clearly translated. Still a classic. Too bad all speakers don't follow his advise. Combine these elements and you will do well.
Abigail Lennah
Sep 18, 2017 rated it liked it
It has thorough insight into rhetoric, but this wasn't just my cup of tea.
Carrie Pagels
Dec 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Good for all of you that like arguments, this book gives great advice, and it give a good examination of the mind.
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very well done.
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  • Rhetorica ad Herennium
  • Phaedrus
  • Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student
  • Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Vol 1, Books 1-5
  • A Rhetoric of Motives
  • Euthyphro. Apology. Crito. Phaedo. Phaedrus.
  • History of the Peloponnesian War: Bk. 1-2
  • The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present
  • A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms
  • Outlines of Scepticism
  • Menander: The Plays and Fragments
  • Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students
  • Discourses, Books 1-2
  • The New Rhetoric: A Treatise on Argumentation
(Greece: Αριστοτέλης)
(Arabic: أرسطوطاليس)
(Bulgarian: Аристотел)
(Russian: Аристотель)
(Alternate European spelling: Aristoteles)

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 through the Renaissance, and even today continue
More about Aristotle...
“What makes a man a 'sophist' is not his faculty, but his moral purpose. (1355b 17)” 8 likes
“There are, then, these three means of effecting persuasion. The man who is to be in command of them must, it is clear, be able (1) to reason logically, (2) to understand human character and goodness in their various forms, and (3) to understand the emotions-that is, to name them and” 3 likes
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