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Zoostylistics after Aristotle

Zoostylistics after Aristotle

Chapter:
(p.37) Chapter 2 Zoostylistics after Aristotle
Source:
Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw
Author(s):
Debra Hawhee
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226398204.003.0003

This chapter follows the tradition set forth in Aristotle by which nonhuman animals repeatedly helped theorists draw attention to rhetoric’s visual, aural, and tactile capacities. Nowhere is this phenomenon more evident than in texts focused on rhetorical style, especially those in the Aristotelian tradition, such as Demetrius’s On Style and Longinus’s On the Sublime, all of whom engage Homer. These writers use animals to show how language can enliven the senses—especially vision and hearing, rhetoric’s two leading senses, according to Quintilian. The commentary from Demetrius, Longinus, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus yields what I call a “zoostylistics,” a vital, sensuous style energized by animals. If animals help to animate language, they also help style theorists convey how words get under the skin—how they sting or bite.

Keywords:   style, Demetrius, Longinus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Homer

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