Rereading the Sophists: Classical Rhetoric Refigured

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ISBN-13: 978-0809322244
ISBN-10: 0809322242
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Editorial Reviews


"Rereading the Sophists is a fine example of new rhetorical history."                 Composition Chronicle

"Rereading the Sophists contributes to our understanding in several ways: new historical insights about the sophists, a new paradigm for viewing our present concerns, and a new openness to how we study rhetoric."Quarterly Journal of Speech

"In attempting to view the sophists from outside the filter of Plato and Aristotle, Jarratt has provided an intriguing reinterpretation of an important movement in the history of classical rhetoric. . . . Because of the questions it may raise, this is an important book that does an admirable job of interpreting the sophists from the perspective of the Dialectical School."Southern Communications Journal


"This perspective is both dynamic and refreshing. Jarratt's most important contributions and her most valuable pages have to do with the history of the evaluation of the sophists and her attempts to delineate just how they may serve as exemplary figures today."Ancient Philosophy


"Jarratt's reexamination of sophistic history and its application to contemporary concerns succeeds in provoking thought along some important new lines."Philosophy and Rhetoric



About the Author

Susan C. Jarratt is associate professor of English at Miami University and is the recipient of several research awards.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809322242
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809322244
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #267,588 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charles Michelsen on April 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a professor and director of comparative literature studies at the University of California (Irvine), feminist Susan C. Jarratt was, by the fall of 2010, especially well situated to "advance a reinterpretation of the history of classical rhetoric in order to forward the cause of politically progressive composition pedagogy" (Rereading the Sophists, 117). Everyone else who feels that the history of rhetoric needs to be revised in order to advance worthy, modern socio-cultural agendas (e.g., feminism) will no doubt enjoy Jarratt's 1991 attempt to revise rhetorical history. In Rereading, the former professor of English at Miami University unapologetically declares that "the rhetorical historian ... has a strong obligation to action in the social and pedagogical world" (24), and Jarratt does her best to fulfill that obligation with Rereading. However, those who prefer to take their phallocentric history neat, i.e. those political regressives who think that accounts of the distant past that contain factually dubious but "culturally relevant" creative narrative are, all things considered, less intellectually satisfying than those that do not, would probably be well advised to take a pass on Rereading.

In the lengthy introductory section of Rereading, Professor Jarrett, to her credit, makes perfectly clear her own rhetorical agenda: the Fifth Century rhetors that most classical historians have always esteemed as highly as most modern laymen esteem lawyers, i.e. the "Sophists," need to be rehabilitated in order to dislodge "the implicit control `philosophic' thought inherited from Aristotle and Plato" (XX).
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book changed the way I think about Classical Rhetoric. Jarratt's writing is a little difficult to get through, but the ideas are well worth the effort. Her work on contextualizing the Sophists shows a way to integrate the fields of Rhetoric/ Composition and Cultural Studies as well as pave the way for understanding genre theory.
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