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Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres

Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres

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Hugh Blair. Edited by Linda Ferreira-Buckley and S. Michael Halloran


NLEB (Other formats: Paperback)
640 pages, 6.125 x 9.25

Landmarks in Rhetoric and Public Address


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About the Book

This new edition of Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, edited by Linda Ferreira-Buckley and S. Michael Halloran, answers the need for a complete, reliable text. The book seeks to generate a renewed interest in Blair by provoking new inquiries into the tradition of belletristic rhetoric and by serving as both aid and incentive to others who may join in the project of improving understanding of this landmark rhetorical scholarship.

This editioncontains forty-seven lectures and remains faithful to the text of the 1785 London edition. The editors contextualize Hugh Blair’s motivations and thinking by providing in their introduction an extended account of Blair’s life and era. The bibliography of works by and about Blair is an invaluable aid, surpassing previous research on Blair.

Although the extent of its influence cannot be measured fully, Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres was undoubtedly a primary vehicle for introducing many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scholars to classical rhetoric and French belletristic rhetoric—its success due in part to the ease with which the lectures combine neoclassical and Enlightenment thought, accommodating emerging social concerns. Ferreira-Buckley and Halloran’s extensive treatment revives the tradition of belletristic rhetoric, improving the understanding of Blair’s place in the study of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century discourse, while finding him relevant in the twenty-first century.


Linda Ferreira-Buckley is an associate professor of English and rhetoric at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches courses in writing, the history of rhetoric and English studies, and Victorian literature. Her work has appeared in such journals as College English and Rhetoric Review.

S. Michael Halloran is a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in rhetorical theory and analysis, emphasizing connections with history and communication media. He is the coeditor (with Gregory Clark) of Oratorical Culture in Nineteenth-Century America: Essays on the Transformation of the Theory and Practice of Rhetoric.