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Through successive editions, Elements became increasingly geared to the needs and uses of the classroom and so, this seventh edition is still valuable to contemporary students. Whately saw this work as a textbook, and thus focused on the practical rather than the theoretical, writing with the problems of the teacher and learner in mind. Direct, comprehensive, clearly organized and well illustrated, the Elements has admirably served to fulfill its assigned role for students whom Whately called the 'unpracticed.' But does a 19th century text still have a role in 21st century argumentation? As one contemporary student noted: "His more objective analysis of how rhetoric works and the opinions of various iconic individuals regarding it was like a breath of fresh air. I felt I was finally being shown the tools for how to use rhetoric rather [than] being subjected to abstract arguments concerning it."
Richard Whately (1787-1863) was the English logician considered responsible for the revival of the study of logic in England in the early 19th century.
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