Narrative, Persuasion and Emotion in Classical Athens
What makes a narrative persuasive? How did Athenian authors use language to make narrated events vivid and plausible to an audience who had not seen them? What emotions did they try to excite? This seminar will consider questions like these by focusing on ancient rhetorical theory and Classical Athenian practice. We will read widely in the corpus of Athenian oratory, but we will also consider examples of narrative in drama and historiography. Theoretical readings will include Plato¿s Gorgias and Phaedrus, the pseudo-Aristotelian Rhetoric to Alexander, Aristotle¿s Rhetoric, and selections from later critics and theorists like Dionysius of Halicarnassus and anonymous scholiasts. We will discuss how well ancient rhetorical treatises explain the relationship between narrative, persuasion and emotion as it was practiced in Classical Athens. We will also investigate modern theories of narrative, including narratology and legal storytelling.