Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction - Chapter 5, Rhetoric, Poetics, and Poetry Summary & Analysis

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Chapter 5, Rhetoric, Poetics, and Poetry Summary and Analysis

Poetics, the attempt to account for literary effects, is closely related to rhetoric, which is the study of the techniques of language that can be used to create effective writing. Aristotle made a sharper distinction between the two, defining "poetics" as an imitative art and "rhetoric" as the art of persuasion. The Renaissance softened the distinctions by asserting "rhetoric" as the art of eloquence and "poetics" as a superior form of rhetoric. In modern times, rhetoric has become the study of the structuring powers of discourse.

Like rhetoric, poetry, through its imagery, has persuasive powers. Further, it can serve as a method for venting strong emotion. A rhetorical figure uses an ordinary word in a different more powerful way. "My love is like a red, red rose" does not mean the object of...

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This section contains 603 words
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