Rhetoric between Orality and literacy: Cultural memory and performance in Isocrates and Aristotlen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The essay argues for a reconsideration of the role of the "literate revolution" in the disciplining of rhetorical practice in the fourth century BCE. Specifically, the argument addresses the tension between oral memory and literate rationality in Isocrates and Aristotle to illustrate two divergent possibilities of appropriating oral linguistic resources of a culture. Aristotle's literate classification of endoxa (received opinions) and pisteis (proofs) depoliticizes the oral utterances and maxims of contemporary reek culture, thereby rendering discourse a mere accessory of a political agent. By contrast, Isocrates conceives of rhetorical performance as constitutive of political agency and civic identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-178
Number of pages21
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2001


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education

Cite this