Complete Story


Summer 2007, 37:3, pages 251 - 273

The Myth of Rhetoric: Korax and the Art of Pollution

This article reconsiders the debate over the origins of rhetoric by the historical reconstructionists and neosophists beginning in the 1990s. It contends that both are misled by relying only upon texts overtly identified as "rhetorical theory" and suggests that other ancient sources offer significant insights into the "origins" and contemporary theorizing of rhetoric. It examines the legend of Corax and Tisias, arguing that the narrative of rhetoric's originator is folkloric expression intimately related to other narratives of the korax -- "raven" -- in natural histories and myths of Apollo. It concludes by theorizing rhetoric as a "koractic" art of pollution.

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