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Colloquium Archive

Kathie Gossett

Name: Kathie Gossett, Department of English

Presentation Title: "Revisioning Medieval Rhetoric"

Date: November 14, 2002


While there has been quite a bit of historiographical work done in rhetoric, the medieval era has mostly been overlooked as a siate for serious rhetorical inquiry. One reason for the lack of inquiry is that rhetoric seems to have disappeared during this period except in very specific usage (e.g., letter writing or preaching). However, as Richard McKeon has elaborated in his "Rhetoric in the Middle Ages," the problem is not that rhetoric ceased to be practiced, rather it was so thoroughly abosrbed into medieval culture that rhetoric itself became a commonplace and infused every medieval discipline and manuscript.

In this presentation, I propose a revisioned medieval rhetoric: one that looks beyond the traditional "rhetorical" texts to expand the boundaries of medieval rhetoric, as well as one that looks at the inherently visual aspects of medieval communication practices. By examining a specific medieval manuscript, we will look for analogous communication practices in modern multimedia and sicuss some of the implications these similarities may present for future historiographical research.