To some people rhetoric suggests empty verbiage; to some, a clever way of telling lies; and to some, a baffling struggle with Graeco-Roman names for complecated verbal devices. This book sets out to dispel these unfavourable notions, and to replace them with a view of rhetoric as a form of wit, a psychological instrument, an aesthetic pleasure, a framework for argument, and above all as a technique informing not only the complex patterns of literary art but also the conduct of everyday transactions. It has something to say about figures of speech, but mostly it is concerned with how speech figures in the design of texts and utterances that variously move, divert, and persuade us. Its terms of reference cover topics as diverse as sales-patter and poetry; its illustrations range from Aristotle to Auden; and its conclusion is that rhetoric may be a bad or a good thing, but, like religion and rainfall, is not likely to go away. Written with clarity and elegance, Professor Nash makes his subject accessible to the widest audience. This book is aimed at general readers with an interest in language; students and speci alists in rhetoric and stylistics in departments of literature and linguistics.
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