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Rewriting The Classics. Dionysius And The Method Of Metathesis

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Chapter Summary

The method of metathesis can be considered a language experiment intended to demonstrate the merits and defects, or more generally the particularities of a text. This chapter focuses on the use of metathesis by Dionysius of Halicarnassus. It argues that, in the rhetorical works of this author, metathesis is a very useful and versatile method, which he applies in order to point out the virtues, faults or particularities of certain original texts. Metathesis enables Dionysius and his readers to compare such an original text with a new formulation of the same thought. Therefore, it is an important didactic instrument for Dionysius, whose aim it is to teach his audience to write in a clear and pleasing style. The method of metathesis thus offers a versatile instrument enabling Dionysius to isolate and highlight characteristics of a given text under one aspect, while leaving other aspects unaffected.

Keywords: Dionysius; Halicarnassus; method of metathesis; rhetorical works



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