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Aristotle on Rhetoric: A Theory of Civil Discourse

by Aristotle, George A. Kennedy

Buy the book: Aristotle. Aristotle on Rhetoric: A Theory of Civil Discourse

Release Date: October, 1991

Edition: Paperback

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Buy the book: Aristotle. Aristotle on Rhetoric: A Theory of Civil Discourse


Spare me the P.C.!!

One would think that if anyone had an interest in not erecting artificial barriers to understanding the past, it would be classicists. How then to explain the introduction to George A. Kennedy's new edition of Aristotle's _Rhetoric_?

On page xii, Kennedy highlights his own "enlightenment" by noting that one of the "virtues" of his new translation is his avoidance of the "sexist" language featured in older translations. What does he mean by this? Earlier translators used "man" as a sex-neutral noun and various words ending with the suffix "-man" and its forms to translate the neuter gender, which exists in Greek but not in English.

This is nothing but stupidity, of course. Contrary to the myth propagated by feminists in the media, particularly in publishing, "-man" _is_ the sex-neutral ending, and it is only "-woman" that is sex-specific. English is like dozens of other Indo-European languages in using the same word for its masculine and its neuter forms; if people really wanted to get rid of sex-specific forms, they would eliminate "female" (which etymologically is a form of "male"), "woman" (a form of "man"), etc. What they really want to do, however, is to point to their own superior sensibility in a pharisaical way, simultaneously implicitly impugning everyone else (in Kennedy's case, all Aristotle scholars) who came before.

So, if you want a translation of Aristotle that is not marked by the latest P.C. foolishness, steer clear of this one. Obviously, however good his grasp of Greek in itself, Kennedy has neither the respect for his field nor the knowledge of linguistics one hopes for in a translator.

From Amazon.com



The most scholarly & readily translation of the "Rhetorica"

Aristotle's treatise "On Rhetoric" has been the seminal work in the field since it was written. There is a very real sense in which there is nothing new under the sun since Aristotle's day, and that the rhetorical constructs of Burke, Toulmin and every other rhetorical theorist are simply Aristotle's concepts dressed up in new terms. Certainly no one has been as comprehensive in cataloguing all the available means of persuasion. The study of rhetoric begins in earnest with Aristotle's volume. While there are numerous translations of "On Rhetoric" available, this remarkable translation by George A. Kennedy is the one worth owning. Kennedy has studied classical rhetorical for over three decades and he brings his knowledge of what rhetoric meant in the time of Aristotle to his translation. By the time you get to the first sentence of this translation--"Rhetoric is an antisrophos to dialectic"--you have ample evidence that Kennedy is the ideal translator for this text. You will have gone through a Prooemion, an Introductory essay, a synopsis of the first three chapters of Book 1 before you get to that first sentence, which contains two footnotes detailing the contemporary meanings of "rhetoric" and "antistrophos." More than any other scholar to tackle this project, Kennedy is as well versed in the subject matter as he is the original language. Kennedy's translation also benefits from the fact that it is eminently readable.

Additionally, this volume includes only a glossary and bibliography, but two excellent appendixes. The first consists of Supplementary Texts: (A) Gorgias' "Encomium on Helen," the showcase speech by the leader of the Sophists; (B) Aristotle on "Art as an Intellectual Virtue" from his "Nicomachean Ethics"; (C) "An Introduction to Dialectic" from Aristotle's "Topics"; (D) Cicero's "Description of Aristotle's Synagoge Tekhnon"; (E) Aristotle on "Word Choice and Metaphor" from his "Poetics"; and (F) Kennedy's note on "The Concept of the Enthymeme as Understood in the Modern Period." The second appendix features three Supplementary Essays: (A) "The Composition of the 'Rhetoric'"; (B) "The History of the Text After Aristotle"; and (C) "The Strengths and Limitations of the 'Rhetoric.'" The supplemental works alone would make this the translation to own. Every teacher or student of rhetorical theory/criticism needs to own Kennedy's translation of Aristotle's "On Rhetoric."

From Amazon.com


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