The studies of rhetoric and literature have been closely connected on the theoretical level ever since antiquity, and many great works of literature were written by men and women who were well versed in rhetoric. It is therefore well worth investigating exactly what these writers knew about rhetoric and how the practice of literary criticism has been enriched through rhetorical knowledge.
The essays reprinted here have been arranged chronologically, with two essays selected for each of six major periods: Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance (including Shakespeare), the 17th century, the 18th century, and the 19th and 20th centuries. Some are more theoretically oriented, whereas others become exercises in practical criticism. Some cover well-trod ground, whereas others turn to parts of the rhetorical tradition that are often overlooked.
Scholars in the field should benefit from having this material collected together and reprinted in one volume, but the essays included here will also be useful to graduate students and advanced undergraduates for course work and general reading. Students of rhetoric seeking to understand how the principles of their field extend into other forms of communication will find this volume of interest, as will students of literature seeking to refine their understanding of the various modes of literary criticism.