The State of Speech: Rhetoric and Political Thought in Ancient Rome

Princeton University Press
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Rhetorical theory, the core of Roman education, taught rules of public speaking that are still influential today. But Roman rhetoric has long been regarded as having little important to say about political ideas. The State of Speech presents a forceful challenge to this view. The first book to read Roman rhetorical writing as a mode of political thought, it focuses on Rome's greatest practitioner and theorist of public speech, Cicero. Through new readings of his dialogues and treatises, Joy Connolly shows how Cicero's treatment of the Greek rhetorical tradition's central questions is shaped by his ideal of the republic and the citizen. Rhetoric, Connolly argues, sheds new light on Cicero's deepest political preoccupations: the formation of individual and communal identity, the communicative role of the body, and the "unmanly" aspects of politics, especially civility and compromise.

Transcending traditional lines between rhetorical and political theory, The State of Speech is a major contribution to the current debate over the role of public speech in Roman politics. Instead of a conventional, top-down model of power, it sketches a dynamic model of authority and consent enacted through oratorical performance and examines how oratory modeled an ethics of citizenship for the masses as well as the elite. It explains how imperial Roman rhetoricians reshaped Cicero's ideal republican citizen to meet the new political conditions of autocracy, and defends Ciceronian thought as a resource for contemporary democracy.

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About the author

Joy Connolly is assistant professor of classics at New York University. She is the author of Talk about Virtue (forthcoming, Duckworth), a book about Roman political theory.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Jan 10, 2009
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Pages
320
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ISBN
9781400827947
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Ancient / General
Language Arts & Disciplines / Communication Studies
Literary Criticism / Ancient & Classical
Philosophy / Political
Political Science / Political Process / Leadership
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Joy Connolly
In recent years, Roman political thought has attracted increased attention as intellectual historians and political theorists have explored the influence of the Roman republic on major thinkers from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Held up as a "third way" between liberalism and communitarianism, neo-Roman republicanism promises useful, persuasive accounts of civic virtue, justice, civility, and the ties that bind citizens. But republican revivalists, embedded in modern liberal, democratic, and constitutional concerns, almost never engage closely with Roman texts. The Life of Roman Republicanism takes up that challenge.

With an original combination of close reading and political theory, Joy Connolly argues that Cicero, Sallust, and Horace inspire fresh thinking about central concerns of contemporary political thought and action. These include the role of conflict in the political community, especially as it emerges from class differences; the necessity of recognition for an equal and just society; the corporeal and passionate aspects of civic experience; citizens' interdependence on one another for senses of selfhood; and the uses and dangers of self-sovereignty and fantasy. Putting classicists and political theorists in dialogue, the book also addresses a range of modern thinkers, including Kant, Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, and Philip Pettit. Together, Connolly's readings construct a new civic ethos of advocacy, self-criticism, embodied awareness, imagination, and irony.

Alyssa Mastromonaco
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With the publication of Servant Leadership in 1977, a new paradigm of management entered the boardrooms and corporate offices of America. Robert K. Greenleaf, a retired AT&T executive, proposed that service ought to be the distinguishing characteristic of leadership. Not only would it create better, stronger companies, he said, but business leaders themselves "would find greater joy in their lives if they raised the servant aspect of their leadership and built more serving institutions." In the quarter century since these ideas were first articulated, the notion of servant leadership has gained ever more disciples in business schools, among executives, in government and in public and private institutions. Greenleaf was among the first to analyze the qualities of leaders and followers--and the necessity for leaders to be attentive to the needs of others. In this respect the leader becomes a follower. Such a leader, said Greenleaf, constantly inquires whether "other people's highest priority needs are being served. Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants?" The true leader is also a seeker--alert to new possibilities, open, listening and ready for whatever develops. True leadership, then, is an inner quality as much as an exercise of authority. The present volume originated as essays and talks treating servant leadership as a general principle and the way it has been lived by particular people. Sections of the book deal with leadership in education, in foundations, in churches, in bureaucracies, and with the role of the United States as a world leader. It closes with a spiritual reflection on Robert Frost's poem "Directive". The reflection, in Greenland's words, is "partly an acknowledgment of [Frost's] influence on me and partly a sharing with those who are the search for what I have now come to see as servant leadership, and who, sooner or later and in their own way, come to grips with who they are and where they are on the journey."
Joy Connolly
In recent years, Roman political thought has attracted increased attention as intellectual historians and political theorists have explored the influence of the Roman republic on major thinkers from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. Held up as a "third way" between liberalism and communitarianism, neo-Roman republicanism promises useful, persuasive accounts of civic virtue, justice, civility, and the ties that bind citizens. But republican revivalists, embedded in modern liberal, democratic, and constitutional concerns, almost never engage closely with Roman texts. The Life of Roman Republicanism takes up that challenge.

With an original combination of close reading and political theory, Joy Connolly argues that Cicero, Sallust, and Horace inspire fresh thinking about central concerns of contemporary political thought and action. These include the role of conflict in the political community, especially as it emerges from class differences; the necessity of recognition for an equal and just society; the corporeal and passionate aspects of civic experience; citizens' interdependence on one another for senses of selfhood; and the uses and dangers of self-sovereignty and fantasy. Putting classicists and political theorists in dialogue, the book also addresses a range of modern thinkers, including Kant, Hannah Arendt, Stanley Cavell, and Philip Pettit. Together, Connolly's readings construct a new civic ethos of advocacy, self-criticism, embodied awareness, imagination, and irony.

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