This new edition of Hugh Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, edited by Linda Ferreira-Buckley and S. Michael Halloran, answers the need for a complete, reliable text. Although the extent of its influence cannot be measured fully, Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres was undoubtedly a primary vehicle for introducing many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scholars to classical rhetoric and French belletristic rhetoric - its success due in part to the ease with which the lectures combine neoclassical and Enlightenment thought, accommodating emerging social concerns. Ferreira-Buckley and Halloran's extensive treatment revives the tradition of belletristic rhetoric, improving the understanding of Blair's place in the study of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century discourse, while finding him relevant in the twenty-first. This edition also includes an introduction by the editors along with a table of variants in the 1783 and 1785 editions of the lectures, prepared by Gary Layne Hatch and Lara Calder. This edition contains forty-seven lectures and remains faithful to the text of the 1785 London edition. The editors contextualize Hugh Blair's motivations and thinking by providing an extended account of Blair's life and era. The bibliography of works by and about Blair is an invaluable aid, surpassing previous research on Blair.
Linda Ferreira-Buckley is an associate professor of English and rhetoric at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared in such journals as College English and Rhetoric Review. S. Michael Halloran is a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He is coeditor (with Gregory Clark) of Oratorical Culture in Nineteenth-Century America: Essays on the Transformation of the Theory and Practice of Rhetoric.