Writing and Rhetoric

Rhetoric is the study of effective, persuasive speaking and writing. The art of writing gracefully and concisely deploying proper argumentation strategies while being semantically meaningful and syntactically correct is even more important in the age of the smart phone and ubiquitous emails because on the ‘net we are judged by the quality of our writing only.

The study of Rhetoric is absolutely indispensable for an ambitious student. The following selection comprises five classic authors and seven great textbooks:


  • Cicero, On the Orator, Books I-II (Loeb Classical Library)

  • Marcus Fabius Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, Books I-III (Loeb Classical Library)

  • Lorenzo Valla, Dialectical Disputations

  • Rudolf Agricola, Dialectical Invention

  • Erasmus of Rotterdam, On the Abundance of Verbal Expression and Ideas


  • Outlines of Composition and Rhetoric by John Genung, Charles Hanson

  • A History of Renaissance Rhetoric 1380-1620 by Peter Mack

  • Ramus, Method, and the Decay of Dialogue: From the Art of Discourse to the Art of Reason by Walter Ong, S.J.

  • Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student by Edward P. Corbett, Robert J. Connors

  • You Talkin’ To Me? Rhetoric from Aristotle to Obama by Sam Leith

  • Communication Skills for Business Professionals by Phillip Cenere, Robert Gill, Celeste Lawson, Michael Lewis

  • Professional English in Use Management by Arthur Mckeown, Ros Wright

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