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Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric

Found In: language arts, 9-12

Silva Rhetoricae: The Forest of Rhetoric is an online rhetoric and dictionary of rhetorical figures and most useful for speech & debate and writing students in grades 9-12. The website is set in frames.

The left section, titled “Trees,” covers rhetorical concepts, including the Persuasive Appeals: reason, emotion, and the speaker’s/writer’s character, and the Canons of Rhetoric: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. A Timeline of Rhetoric covers major authors and texts of Antiquity, Middle Ages, and Renaissance, beginning with Gorgias (ca. 425 BCE) and ending with Johanne Spauter (1623). A list of primary sources outlines many classics. Students and teachers of debate and persuasive writing will find this section of the most interest.

Of more general interest, is the right section titled “Flowers,” a glossary of rhetorical figures from “abating” (the English term for “anesis”) to “zeugma.” Users can vary viewing options to provide a comprehensive list of terms or specific lists for terms in Greek, Latin, English, or rhetorical strategy: figures of speech & thought or schemes & tropes. Figures are described and exemplified, often by quotes from contemporary sources. “Meiosis,” a kind of “litotes” for example, is a reference to something with a name disproportionately lesser than its nature and is illustrated with a quote from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. When The Black Knight loses a leg in combat, he insists “It’s just a flesh wound.” Entries include descriptions and links to related figures and other information.

The site has a Recommended Reading list.



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