Whately, From Elements of Rhetoric

Whately, Richard. "From Elements of Rhetoric." The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. 2nd ed. Eds. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001. 1003-1030. Print.

Richard Whately (English, 1787-1863), wrote Elements of Rhetoric which published in 1828 and became a major contribution to the canon of rhetoric, influencing rhetorical studies in the 19th and 20th centuries. The text focuses on how rhetoric/persuasion work in terms of language and psychology (984; 1001). Whately gives several differing definitions of rhetoric and notes that while it originally focused on public speaking, rhetoric should start to encompass writing (1003).

Whately conducts a literature review, then focuses on the connection between logic and knowledge (1003-9). Whately compares building materials to subject matter knowledge, connecting architecture to rhetoric (1004). He then elaborates by sharing an allegory: a boy finds that adding more straw to a flat roof will not help prevent leaks--he needs to change the structure that the roof slopes, and then the leak will stop; adding more substance is not a solution when the structure itself is the problem (1009).  

Whately discusses technical term and everyday communication (1011-1012). He discusses composition exercises, including creating outlines as a practice for reading and writing, and discusses how to select subjects for written work (1012-14).

In Chapters 2 and 3, Whately describes argument in a formal setting, including examinations of arguments’ use of testimony, who has the burden of proof, and methods of refutation (1014-1030).