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Chapter Summary

The formulation of the concept of genre and the distillation of oratorical production into genres was an achievement of Aristotelian speculation. In the Rhetoric Aristotle defined three genres of rhetorical discourse, the deliberative, judicial, and epideictic genre, conferring a specific identity on each according to a series of parameters. The tripartition-deliberation, judicial debate, Sophistic discourse-which transpires in Thucydides, is strongly reminiscent of that of Aristotle, not least because it is based on criteria and terminology found in the Rhetoric. The writings of Plato registered important steps forward in the conceptualization of "genre", both in the domain of poetry and in that of rhetoric. Isocrates provided his orations with programatic and meta-textual formulations which in many cases focus on the characteristics and functions of the speeches themselves. The tripartition in genres is profoundly rooted in the conceptual structure of Aristotelian rhetoric.

Keywords: Aristotelian rhetoric; deliberative genre; epideictic genre; Isocrates; judicial genre; Plato; Thucydides



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