Writing is not like chemical engineering. The figures of speech should not be learned the same way as the periodic table of elements. This is because figures of speech are not about hypothetical structures in things, but about real potentialities within language and within ourselves. The "figurings" of speech reveal the apparently limitless plasticity of language itself. We are inescapably confronted with the intoxicating possibility that we can make language do for us almost anything we want. Or at least a Shakespeare can. The figures of speech help to see how he does it, and how we might. Therefore, in the chapters presented in this volume, the quotations from Shakespeare, the Bible, and other sources are not presented to exemplify the definitions. Rather, the definitions are presented to lead to the quotations. And the quotations are there to show us how to do with language what we have not done before. They are there for imitation.
Composition in the Classical Tradition borrows from late antiquity a series of composition exercises called the progymnasmata to teach the art of persuasion. The exercises apply an understanding of the invention and composition of arguments from ancient rhetoric to a writer's own forms of persuasive communication. This book is structured to provide an effectively graded sequence of exercises, manageable at each step, from the simple to the more difficult and from the concrete to the abstract, within an explicit rhetorical framework. Learn how to compose an essay or a speech by first becoming proficient at its parts Composition in the Classical Tradition features a variety of ancient forms myths, historical episodes, descriptions, fables, proverbs, anecdotes, and speeches for readers to enjoy while learning how to write and speak persuasively. For anyone interested in composition and classical rhetoric.