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Rhetoric and early modern politics

Gowland, Angus MT; (2017) Rhetoric and early modern politics. In: MacDonald, MJ, (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Rhetorical Studies. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

This chapter examines the relationship between rhetoric and politics in early modern Europe, focusing on the impact and legacy of Renaissance humanism. After summarizing the background from which politically orientated humanist rhetoric emerged in the city-states of late-medieval Italy, it discusses the role of rhetoric and public speech in the works of two influential proponents of republican political thought: Leonardo Bruni and Niccolò Machiavelli; for both authors, civic rhetoric is both the lifeblood and the potential undoing of republics. It then presents the ways in which rhetoric was incorporated into humanistic theories of princely government, especially in exhortations to virtue and discussions of counsel. Finally, turning to the works of Jean Bodin and Thomas Hobbes, it illustrates the reconsideration—and the downgrading—of the political status of rhetoric in the era of monarchical absolutism.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Rhetoric and early modern politics
ISBN-13: 9780199731596
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199731596.013.039
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199731596.0...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: rhetoric, politics, humanism, republicanism, monarchy, democracy, liberty, absolutism, deliberation, counsel
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1402257
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