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Greek Drama and the Invention of Rhetoric

Greek Drama and the Invention of Rhetoric

David Sansone

ISBN: 978-1-118-35837-5 July 2012 Wiley-Blackwell 272 Pages




  • Asserts a novel and controversial theory on the origins of rhetoric that differs radically from the standard view
  • Argues that it was the theatre of Ancient Greece, first appearing around 500 BC, that prompted
  • the development of formalized rhetoric, which evolved soon thereafter
  • Provides a cogent reworking of existing evidence
  • Reveals the bias and inconsistency of Aristotle


Part One: What Drama Does and How It Does It

1. Setting the Stage
2. Seeing is Believing
3. The Muse Takes a Holiday
4. “It’s counterpoint,” he countered, and pointed.
5. Illusion and Collusion
6. Reaction Time

Part Two: The Second Stage: The Invention of Rhetoric

7. Paradigm Shift Happens
8. Perhaps You Will Object
9. Putting the Accuser on Trial

Works Cited

“Every reader, both novice and expert, will learn a great deal from this insightful and refreshing study.”  (Vorlagen und Nachrichten, 1 November 2014)

""The book is lively and readable, and should be read by everyone interested either in tragedy or in the origins of rhetoric.""  (Bryn Mawr Classical Review, 16 June 2013)  

Sansone considers a wide range of text and offers a valuable discussion of how many features of formal rhetoric may be traced back to drama and earlier literary genres.”  (Anglo-Hellenic Review, 1 March 2013)

“The book is elegantly and often wittily written, with a wide range of cultural reference, and can strongly be recommended to anyone interested in the drama of any period.”  (Rogueclassicism, 26 February 2013)