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Rhetorics of Thomas Hobbes and Bernard Lamy

Rhetorics of Thomas Hobbes and Bernard Lamy

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John T. Harwood


Paperback (Other formats: NLEB)
426 pages, 6.125 x 9.25, 2 illustrations

Landmarks in Rhetoric and Public Address


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About the Book

Makes accessible to modern readers the 17th-century rhetorics of Thomas Hob­bes (1588–1677) and Bernard Lamy (1640–1715)

Hobbes’ A Briefe of the Art of Rhet­orique, the first English translation of Aristotle’s rhetoric, reflects Hobbes’ sense of rhetoric as a central instrument of self-defense in an increasingly frac­tious Commonwealth. In its approach to rhetoric, which Hobbes defines as “that Faculty by which wee understand what will serve our turne, concerning any subject, to winne beliefe in the hearer,” the Briefe looks forward to Hobbes’ great political works De Cive and Leviathan.

Published anonymously in France as De l’art de parler, Lamy’s rhetoric was translated immediately into English as The Art of Speaking. Lamy’s long associa­tion with the Port Royalists made his works especially attractive to English readers because Port Royalists were en­gaged in a vicious quarrel with the Jesuits during the last half of the 17th century.


John T. Harwood is Professor of English at The Pennsylvania State University.