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definite article and of the perfects in xa and themselves be separated by any appreciable interval of time.1

The Iliad and the Odyssey belong to the same era of linguistic development, and whether they are the work of one poet or not they are surely the product of the same age.


1 I have not added to the list of perfects in κa, ¡λýкŋσɩ & 365, since it is generally regarded as a present from a verb ¡ýкw. I have omitted dédoɩka, found in both poems, since the shift in the vowels of the diphthong clearly mark it as a different formation. I have also not admitted μéμvкev μ 395, since the x is part of the root of the verb and is not an addition of the perfect stem.





The De Compositione of Dionysius of Halicarnassus is a work that deserves more attention from students of language and literature than it has received. Now that so excellent an edition and translation has been published, that of W. Rhys Roberts, there is every incentive for the study of the treatise. A comparison of it with the Rhetoric of Aristotle promises to throw some new light upon the methods and results of both authors.

In this paper I purpose to indicate the attitude of each writer to his problem by disclosing and comparing the fundamental presuppositions that underlie the two treatises. I shall endeavor also, from the standpoint of aesthetics, to explain their divergent positions. Finally I shall refer to certain similar standpoints in modern rhetorical theory.

Of the two treatises the scope of the De Compositione is much the more limited. In c. i Dionysius suggests the following rhetorical classification:

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The De Compositione confines itself pretty strictly to the topic of arrangement; the other topics receive only occasional mention.

The scope of the Rhetoric is less easily defined. The search for it reveals a significant progression in Aristotle's point of view.

His avowed purpose is to establish rhetoric on a scientific basis by relating it to dialectics. Thus he hopes to avoid, on the one hand, the fragmentary treatment found in the ordinary rhetorical hand

1 Cf. Clayton Hamilton Materials and Methods of Fiction, p. 206.

2 It is, however, only fair to state that this essay (together with some other studies of similar nature) was prepared several months before Professor Roberts' edition was announced as forthcoming.


books, and, on the other hand, the sophistical method, which involves numerous devices or tricks, such as introducing matters foreign to the issue but designed to work on the feelings of the audience.1 In opposition to these methods he declares: "It is clear then that the only proper subjects of artistic treatment are proofs" (i. 1). Accordingly he defines rhetoric as "a faculty of discerning all the possible means of persuasion in any subject" (i. 2). That no reference to the domain of form or expression is implied at this point is indicated by the threefold analysis of the subject which he immediately makes: "The proofs provided through the instrumentality of the speech are of three kinds, consisting either in the moral character of the speaker, or in the production of a certain disposition in the audience or in the speech itself by real or apparent demonstration" (i. 2). Again he says: ". . . . a speech is naturally composed of three elements, viz., the speaker, the subject of the speech, and the persons addressed" (i. 3). To these topics, then, which he calls the only proper subjects of treatment in rhetoric, he devotes the first two books, comprising about three-fourths of the entire treatise. But at the outset of the third book he makes a new analysis in which all that he has before discussed constitutes only a third part. "There being three proper subjects of systematic treatment in rhetoric, viz., the possible sources of proof, style, and the right ordering of the parts of the speech, the first of these has already been discussed. . . . We have next to discuss the question of style" (iii. 1).

Why, then, did Aristotle at the outset of his discussion analyze discourse so as to leave out of consideration the topic of expression? And why did he afterward change his point of view so as to admit it?

To take up each question in turn: Several reasons may briefly be set down which will throw light on the first point. The element of style or expression, which term may serve for the moment to include both the remaining topics of Aristotle, is not easily susceptible of intellectual comprehension-not, at least, in comparison with the subject to which Aristotle gives his main attention, the sources of proof. Also, the principles of style cannot well be worked out deductively. Likewise, they cannot easily be related to rhetoric's

1Cf. Rhet. ad Alex., c. 15.

"counterpart," dialectics. These perhaps are the main reasons why Aristotle did not include style in his first analysis of his subject.

Then, too, the topic style, like the appeal to the emotions of the audience, was a feature of the sophistical treatments of rhetoric, which Aristotle was opposing. We know that Gorgias, for example, devoted considerable attention to it. Moreover, while the Rhetoric was designed to be philosophical or scientific in its basis, it was practical in its aim. The matter of style is not of immediate importance from either of these points of view.

Finally, it may be that Aristotle's own appreciation of style was weak. In his extant works he assuredly exposes himself to this charge, although certain ancient critics, among them Dionysius himself, especially commend his style. Whether their judgment is without adequate grounds, or whether they are referring to works of Aristotle now lost, we can scarcely say. But so far as the evidence afforded by his own extant works is concerned, we should be justified in ascribing to him a lack of artistic ability. As for his appreciation of style in others, the fact that he disregards the works of his great contemporary Demosthenes has perhaps some bearing on the matter; and below, in the discussion of his treatment of style, his lack of interest in the details of expression will be shown.

The other question now remains for consideration: why Aristotle, after outlining his subject in such a way as to exclude the topic of style, changed his point of view and did discuss it. While perhaps no decisive answer can be given to such a question, some attempt at explanation may be offered. It is altogether likely, then, that Aristotle intended his treatment of rhetoric, as we have it in the first two books, to embrace the subject completely; which it does, so far as the logical aspect of the subject is concerned. Then, probably, his further studies drew his attention to the importance of the elements he had before neglected, and he added the third book as a sort of appendix. If it is true, as many scholars have concluded, that the Poetics was composed after the second book of the Rhetoric and before the third, the theory would receive considerable support.1 For

1On the question of the genuineness of the third book and its relation to the rest of the Rhetoric and to the Poetics, see Christ Griechische Litteraturgeschichte, 3o Aufl., p. 483 and note, together with the references there given.

Aristotle's study of poetry would naturally bring him to a consideration of the stylistic element in oratory. Some confirmation of this is afforded by the frequent references in the third book to the Poetics, and especially by Aristotle's efforts to distinguish the appropriate styles of prose and poetry (for a discussion of which, see below).

At any rate, Aristotle assigns to the whole topic of style or expression only the brief third book of the Rhetoric; while Dionysius, having subdivided expression into selection and arrangement, devotes his entire treatise to the latter topic alone. It now remains to consider what are the fundamental rhetorical presuppositions of the two writers and to see how these underlie their respective treatments of the subject of style. In this investigation I shall view the treatises from the three standpoints which Aristotle distinguishedthat of the hearer, that of the speaker, and that of the discourse itself.

Regarded from the point of view of the hearer, the fundamental principle of Aristotle's theory of rhetoric is what may be termed intellectual hedonism. "The acquisition of knowledge is pleasant" (i. 11. 2). "To receive information easily is naturally pleasing to all" (iii. 10. 2). "Accordingly, in style and enthymemes all those are pointed and lively that convey to us instruction rapidly" (iii. 10. 4). "Such a style is agreeable because the hearer is constantly thinking he has got hold of something" (iii. 9. 3). Other passages of the Rhetoric (e.g., iii. 11. 6, iii. 8. 2, i. 11. 21) convey the same idea. It is found elsewhere in his works also. At the opening of the Metaphysics, for example, he says: "All men have a natural longing for knowledge"; in the Problems: "The pleasure we receive from rhythm derives from the natural love of a recognizable (yvópiμov) regularity"; in the Poetics: ". . . . learning is most delightful not only to philosophers but in like manner to other persons" (iv. 4).

Indeed, Aristotle's very theory of art, as expressed in the Rhetoric, seems based upon this principle. "From the pleasure of learning and wonder it results that there is a pleasure in such things as the imitative arts, e.g., painting, sculpture and poetry, or in any successful imitative work, even if the actual object of imitation is not pleasant; as it is not the pleasantness of the object which produces the

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