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Rhetoric as a Martial Art: Thomas More’s Sparring Exercises
September 18 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
New York, NY – Senior Fellow Dr. Erik Ellis presented a talk, “Rhetoric as a Martial Art: Thomas More’s Sparring Exercises” at the Morningside Institute at Columbia University. The talk presented More’s use of the “progymnasmata,” the series of rhetorical exercises that ancient, medieval, and renaissance orators used to hone their skills and prepare for extemporaneous speaking. Dr. Ellis traced the iterative development of More’s rhetorical art through a series of his epigrams, each a successively less literal but more philosophically profound Latin translation of a single, two-line Greek poem. He also stressed that the exercises can still be usefully employed and demonstrated how today’s writers and speakers can begin a piece and polish it to perfection by following this ancient but still vital regime of “stretching exercises” before the main event, the oral delivery of a rhetorical product.