Classical Rhetoric and Contemporary Rhetoric and Composition Studies: Electrifying Classical Rhetoric
The writing and speaking careers of Gorgias, !socrates, and Plato have become new sources for study with the gradually emerging awareness of secondary orality. For some readers, it may seem inaccurate to say that the three writers provide us with new sources, because Speech Communication and English scholars, philologists, classicists, philosophers, and other writers have taught us so much about Gorgias, !socrates, and Plato. Nonetheless, new consciousness is forming on the basis of secondary orality, as Ong states in The Presence of the Word. As he writes in that book, classical culture in all its aspects must be reconsidered in light of the emergence of secondary orality. We can now begin to particularize this agenda by reconceptualizing Gorgias, Isoc-
rates, and Plato, whose writings and "traditions" must be re-created in the light of the new technology that we all live in, with, and through, whether we are aware of that newness or not. All three writers enabled writing-or literacy-to form. They wrote and spoke in a world of language fluctuation and so helped to create literacy. Their formationsincluding abstraction, written dialogue, and prose crafted on a page rather than ordered in the memory-remain very much with us.