his course surveys the history and basic principles of classical rhetoric along with studying the skill of determining the structure of spoken communication (speeches, debates, arguments) and of written works of various kinds. But unlike other rhetoric courses, this one is based on reading and discussing the primary sources rather than modern textbooks.
Because it is taught online, this course focuses on discussion of theory and its application rather than practice. For that, local speech and debate clubs are highly recommended. But a solid grounding in theory is necessary, and that is what this course aims at.
The class is primarily a read, listen, and discuss format with no quizzes or tests. However there are two kinds of written assignments: first, weekly short (one-paragraph) informal responses are required that are read by the teacher though not graded - these give the teacher further feedback about the student's level of engagement and focus. Though the weekly response is not graded, the number of responses turned in will be taken into consideration if evaluations are requested at the end of the course by the student and/or parents. Second, there will also be one graded paper assigned at the end of the course which is intended to show the student's grasp of the year's material and incorporation of it into his or her own thought. This will make up another element of the final evaluation. The student's participation in class is the third part of the final evaluation.
The Art of Memory
The Memory Book
Amusing Ourselves to Death
How to Read a Book
The following required texts are available free online, from a variety of sources:
• Rhetoric, Aristotle
• Rhetorica ad Herennium, Cicero
• De Oratore, Cicero
• Institutes of Oratory, Quintilian
• On the Sublime, Longinus
• Dialogues of Plato:
- The Republic