Thursday, September 5, 2013

Perry on English Legal Rhetoric Books

Lisa Perry, College of San Mateo, has published her 1998 dissertation, Legal Rhetoric Books in England, 1600-1700, on Kindle.  In it, she argues
that the legal treatises and handbooks common lawyers read were also rhetoric books which assisted in the rhetorical education and practice of lawyers. The instruction in rhetoric contained in these legal treatises supplemented and eventually replaced rhetorical instruction in the Inns of Court. These legal rhetoric books can be placed into three categories: method books, legal commonplace treatises, and pleading manuals. In this dissertation I present a detailed textual analysis of works in each category, exploring and discussing the rhetorical aspects of each. The existence of three discernible types of rhetorical treatises sheds new light on a hitherto overlooked area of forensic rhetorical theory in the English renaissance, and these treatises should be included within the recognized canon of renaissance rhetorical treatises.