Skip to main content Accessibility help


  • Ivana Petrovic and Andrej Petrovic


I was very excited to get my hands on what was promising to be a magnificent and extremely helpful Handbook of Rhetorical Studies, and my expectations were matched – and exceeded! This handbook contains no less than sixty contributions written by eminent experts and is divided into six parts. Each section opens with a brief orientation essay, tracing the development of rhetoric in a specific period, and is followed by individual chapters which are organized thematically. Part I contains eleven chapters on ‘Greek Rhetoric’, and the areas covered are law, politics, historiography, pedagogy, poetics, tragedy, Old Comedy, Plato, Aristotle, and closing with the Sophists. Part II contains thirteen chapters on ‘Ancient Roman Rhetoric’, which similarly covers law, politics, historiography, pedagogy, and the Second Sophistic, and adds Stoic philosophy, epic, lyric address, declamation, fiction, music and the arts, and Augustine to the list of topics. Part III, on ‘Medieval Rhetoric’, covers politics, literary criticism, poetics, and comedy; Part IV, on the Renaissance contains chapters on politics, law, pedagogy, science, poetics, theatre, and the visual arts. Part V consists of seven essays on the early modern and Enlightenment periods and is decidedly Britano-centric: politics, gender in British literature, architecture, origins of British Enlightenment rhetoric, philosophy (mostly British, too), science, and the elocutionary movement in Britain. With Chapter 45 we arrive at the modern age section (Part VI), with two chapters on feminism, one on race, and three on the standard topics (law, political theory, science), grouped together with those on presidential politics, New Testament studies, argumentation, semiotics, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, social epistemology, and environment, and closing with digital media. The volume also contains a glossary of Greek and Latin rhetorical terms. As the editor states in his Introduction, the aim of the volume is not only to provide a comprehensive history of rhetoric, but also to enable those interested in the role of rhetoric in specific disciplines or genres, such as law or theatre and performance, to easily find those sections in respective parts of the book and thus explore the intersection of rhetoric with one specific field in a chronological sequence.


Corresponding author


Hide All

1 The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies. Edited by MacDonald, Michael J.. Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xxiv + 819. 13 b/w illustrations. Hardback £97, ISBN: 978-0-19-973159-6.

2 Persianism in Antiquity. Edited by Strootman, Rolf and Versluys, Miguel John. Oriens et Occidens 25. Stuttgart, Franz Steiner Verlag, 2017. Pp. 557, 79 b/w illustrations, maps. Hardback €84, ISBN: 978-3-515-11382-3.

3 Ancient Prophecy. Near Eastern, Biblical, and Greek Perspectives. By Nissinen, Martti. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xx + 448. Hardback £95, ISBN: 978-0-19-880855-8.

4 The Birdcage of the Muses. Patronage of the Arts and Sciences at the Ptolemaic Imperial Court 305–222 bce. By Strootman, Rolf. Interdisciplinary Studies in Ancient Culture and Religion 17. Pp. viii + 189. Leuven, Paris, and Bristol, CT, Peeters 2017. Paperback €74, ISBN: 978-90-429-3350-7.

5 Hellenistic Science at Court. By Berrey, Marquis. Science, Technology and Medicine in Ancient Cultures 5. Pp. viii + 274. Berlin, De Gruyter, 2017. Hardback £91, ISBN 978-3-1105-3977-6.

6 Female Mobility and Gendered Space in Ancient Greek Myth. By Konstantinou, Ariadne. London and New York, Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. Pp. x + 189. 3 b/w illustrations, 1 map. Hardback £75, ISBN: 978-1-4742-5676-6.

7 The Anatomy of Dance Discourse. Literary and Philosophical Approaches to Dance in the Later Graeco-Roman World. By Schlapbach, Karin. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2018. Pp. xii + 339. 4 b/w illustrations. Hardback £70, ISBN: 978-0-19-880772-8.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO


  • Ivana Petrovic and Andrej Petrovic


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.