Friday is for Rhetoric! Fridays are for philosophy and rhetoric. The study of rhetoric is closely linked to the study of writing. Although we speak and write differently, there are principles of speaking which are best learned by practice writing. Quintilian introduces us to several types of writing exercises which will help as we take up our education in rhetoric.
Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book II, Chapter 4.
In this chapter Quintilian moves to the exercises he would advocate for the start of rhetorical training. He identifies three types of narrations other than those used in court cases: the fable, the argumentum, and the history (Quintilian II.4.2). These move from the less believable to the most believable. Since fable and argumentum (used in comedy) are often taught by grammarians, Quintilian would prefer to start with history (Quintilian II.4.2). He would rather the teacher encourage exuberance than fight for perfection (Quintilian II.4.6). Rather, the good teacher accepts work with flaws, meanwhile affirming potential of even better work (Quintilian II.4.14).
As the student practices descriptive writing he also learns to write praise of good and censure of evil (Quintilian II.4.20). Above all, the student should learn to address many topics. Pulling topics from history or myth can provide a great deal of material and also help a student who confronts real-life situations (Quintilian II.4.26). Quintilian goes on to observe that many speakers, not having enough examples, re-use the same poorly fitting ones until they are useless (Quintilian II.4.31).
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