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The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric Paperback – May 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0967967509 ISBN-10: 0967967503 Edition: Reissue

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The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric + Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology (Wooden Books) + Sciencia: Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Astronomy for All (Wooden Books)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Paul Dry Books; Reissue edition (May 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967967503
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967967509
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,100 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The Trivium is a highly recommended and welcome contribution to any serious and dedicated writer's reference collection. -- Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Sister Miriam Joseph (1898-1982) earned her doctorate from Columbia University. A member of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Sister Miriam was professor of English at Saint Mary's College from 1931 to 1960. She was also the author of Shakespeare's Use of the Arts of Language and many articles on Shakespeare and on the trivium.

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Customer Reviews

Thus, I found the sections on logic very interesting.
Michael Freeman
There are a lot of definitions, and if you think they are hard, you can get them reading the whole book at least twice.
Amazon Customer
Highly recommended - a 6-star book if ever there was one.
Daniel L Pratt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

299 of 301 people found the following review helpful By Daniel L Pratt on September 10, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is as much fun as I've had from a book in quite some time, even though the subject matters (grammar, logic, rhetoric) are usually thought of as serious if not outright grim.
The book was originally written for first-year students at college in the 1930s and 40s. It is simply amazing how much knowledge the teacher could assume from her students and build on. Fortunately, the current edition has been copiously footnoted for us. These and other updatings occasionally give an anachronistic flavor to the material, but more often highlight its timelessness.
After introductory chapters on the liberal arts and on language, two chapters on grammar (which are not dull summaries of long-familiar rules - in the 1930s these could be taken as given) lead smoothly into several chapters on logic, ending with a fine chapter summarizing fallacies. This material will be challenging, but a lot of fun, and for the most part presented with great clarity. (I have to admit, however, that after repeated readings I still do not understand why John is a rabbit.) Along the way you get to meet Barbara Celarent. The book concludes with a sadly brief chapter on composition and reading (i.e., rhetoric) which I wish I had read many years ago. An appendix gives a brief biography of the author, a nun who taught for many years at Saint Mary's College (South Bend). A lecture by Mortimer Adler crystallized her interest in the trivium.
Highly recommended - a 6-star book if ever there was one.
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137 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Michael Freeman on January 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
I wholeheartedly recommend this book; however, it's probably so different from anything you were taught in school that it might be difficult to incorporate anything into your writing style.
I was never taught logic in school--either high school or college. Thus, I found the sections on logic very interesting. The author describes every logical argument you could think of in detail, and (the editor) provides examples for most. Not easy reading, though--I found myself having to go back and re-read/study portions routinely.
As an aside, I think this book, unintentionally, does a lot to point out the failures of modern government-controlled schools. The "trivium" should be taught to all grade-school students.
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148 of 155 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 8, 2002
Format: Paperback
Deftly edited by Marguerite McGlinn, The Trivium: The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar, And Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Rauh (1898-1982) is a "user friendly" guidebook to better understanding the structure and usage of the English language. Individual chapters address everything from syllogisms, to common linguistic fallacies, to hypothetical and disjunctive propositions, and more. A superbly presented and accessible guidebook The Trivium offers a solid grounding for writers of all degrees of experience and background in fiction, nonfiction, as well as especially academic writing where the interpretations and literal truth of linguistic expression is under an exacting scrutiny. The Trivium is a highly recommended and welcome contribution to any serious and dedicated writer's reference collection.
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59 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Historical Bloodhound on June 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
I must applaud the late Sister Joseph along with editor McGlinn for making available this fantastic book on the three fundamental discipline of Classical knowledge - grammar, logic and rhetoric, which were the central building block of scholarly education for the better part of two thousand years.

The book is divided into four major sections: introductory material (first section), grammar (second), logic (third) and rhetoric (fourth).

In the first section, Joseph defines the Trivium and frames it vis a vis the classification of "goods" (valuable, useful and pleasurable); then she goes on to explain the difference between liberal arts, fine arts or "servile" arts. All definitions are sound and solid, the examples are pertinent and the whole is crystal-clear in a way only a classically-educated person can be clear.

The second section contemplates grammar, but not as we understand it in the commonsense meaning (e.g. how to properly conjugate the verb "to be"); rather, the Trivium deals with "general grammar," the way words are used to construct logical symbols to represent reality. This is why an ancient Greek discipline applies equally well to English (or any other language for that matter), since the way the human mind formulates words representing the "substance" and the "accidents" of things is rather universal across geography and time. In all, I think this second section is where Joseph shines the most, although she is also extremely enlightening on the remaining sections.

The last two sections on logic and rhetoric are also treated in strictly Classical terms; we have subjects like the essence and construction of a syllogism, the main logical fallacies, and a compendium on rhetorical devices.
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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By A reader on December 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is certainly a wonderful place to start if you want to begin to understand the concepts underlying Western philosophy. I wish I had read it before starting to study philosophy at Oxford nearly thirty years ago, because it elucidates a lot of concepts my instructors never bothered to explain.

I have taught a course in introductory logic at a community college for the last two years using this as a text. Regretfully, I am dropping it this next term, because my students for the most part aren't at a reading level to be able to make the best use of it.

In short, this is a wonderful book. Some of its concepts and examples are rather quaint, and here and there there are defects in the editing that make the work needlessly obscure. But overall it is superb.
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