The essays in this volume deal with the history of rhetoric and education for the thousand years from the early Middle Ages to the European Renaissance. They represent the author's pioneering efforts over four decades to piece together a kind of mosaic which will provide elements necessary to construct a history of that thousand years of language activity. Some essays deal with individual writers like Giles of Rome, Peter Ramus, Gulielmus Traversanus, or Antonio Nebrija, some focus on the influence of Cicero and Quintilian and other ancient sources. The essays dealing specifically with education open up different inquiries into the ways language use was promoted, and by whom. Others explore the relations between Latin rhetoric and medieval English literature and, finally, several deal with the impact of printing, a subject still not completely understood.
James J. Murphy is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of English, University of California, Davis, USA.
Contents: Preface. The Middle Ages: Western rhetoric in the Middle Ages; The rhetorical lore of the Boceras in Byhrtferth's Manual; The teaching of Latin as a second language in the 12th century; Two medieval textbooks in debate; The scholastic condemnation of rhetoric in the commentary of Giles of Rome on the Rhetoric of Aristotle; Dictamen as a developed genre: the 14th century 'Brevis doctrina dictaminis' of Ventura da Bergamo (with David Thomson); Quintilian's influence on the teaching of speaking and writing in the Middle Ages and Renaissance; Poetry without genre: the metapoetics of the Middle Ages; Rhetoric in 14th-century Oxford. Applications of Latin Rhetoric in Medieval English Literature: A new look at Chaucer and the Rhetoricians; John Gower's Confessio Amantis and the first discussion of rhetoric in the English language; Rhetoric and dialectic in The Owl and the Nightingale. The Renaissance: One thousand neglected authors: the scope and importance of Renaisance rhetoric; Rhetoric in the earliest days of printing, 1465-1500; Caxton's two choices: 'Modern' and 'Medieval' rhetoric in Traversagni's Nova Rhetorica and the anonymous Court of Sapience; Ciceronian influences in Latin rhetorical compendia of the 15th century; Raffaele Regio's 1492 Quaestio doubting Cicero's authorship of the Rhetorica ad Herennium: introduction and text (with Michael Winterbottom); The double revolution of the first rhetorical textbook published in England: The Margarita Eloquentiae of Gulielmus Traversagnus (1479); Antonio Nebrija in the European rhetorical tradition; The relation between Omer Talon's Institutiones Oratoriae (1545) and the Rhetorica (1548) attributed to him; Index.