This book offers a counter-traditional account of the history of both rhetoric and poetics. In reply to traditional rhetorical histories, which view "rhetoric" as an art of practical civic oratory, the book argues in four extended essays that epideictic-poetic eloquence was central, even fundamental, to the rhetorical tradition in antiquity. In essence, Walker's study accomplishes what in the world of rhetoric studies amounts to a revolution: he demonstrates that in antiquity rhetoric and poetry could not be viewed separately.

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