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Beast Fables, Deliberative Rhetoric, and the Progymnasmata

Beast Fables, Deliberative Rhetoric, and the Progymnasmata

Chapter:
(p.70) Chapter 3 Beast Fables, Deliberative Rhetoric, and the Progymnasmata
Source:
Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw
Author(s):
Debra Hawhee
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226398204.003.0004

This chapter considers the sensuous work of fables in the tradition of Aesop or beast fables, a genre largely ignored by rhetorical scholars, owing (perhaps) to its association with children and trivial matters. But it is exactly that association that makes the genre worth considering in the joint context of rhetoric’s history and of animal studies. Fables exploit the liminal status of children and of storied animals vis-à-vis logos by simultaneously depriving them of logos in the way that Aristotle is thought to have done, while also at the same time conferring on them the capacities of logos. The chapter’s survey of fable’s role in the contexts of political oratory and early rhetorical education therefore continues to show the centrality of sensation to political imagination, this time in the context of deliberative rhetoric.

Keywords:   oratory, fable, deliberative rhetoric, sensation, children, education, Aesop

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