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Quintilian, born in Spain about A.D. 35, became a widely known and highly successful teacher of rhetoric in Rome. The Orator's Education (Institutio Oratoria), a comprehensive training program in twelve books, draws on his own rich experience. It is a work of enduring importance, not only for its insights on oratory, but for the picture it paints of education and social at Quintilian, born in Spain about A.D. 35, became a widely known and highly successful teacher of rhetoric in Rome. The Orator's Education (Institutio Oratoria), a comprehensive training program in twelve books, draws on his own rich experience. It is a work of enduring importance, not only for its insights on oratory, but for the picture it paints of education and social attitudes in the Roman world. Quintilian offers both general and specific advice. He gives guidelines for proper schooling (beginning with the young boy); analyses the structure of speeches; recommends devices that will engage listeners and appeal to their emotions; reviews a wide range of Greek and Latin authors of use to the orator; and counsels on memory, delivery, and gestures. Donald Russell's new five-volume Loeb Classical Library edition of The Orator's Education, which replaces an eighty-year-old translation by H. E. Butler, provides a text and facing translation fully up to date in light of current scholarship and well tuned to today's taste. Russell also provides unusually rich explanatory notes, which enable full appreciation of this central work in the history of rhetoric.


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Quintilian, born in Spain about A.D. 35, became a widely known and highly successful teacher of rhetoric in Rome. The Orator's Education (Institutio Oratoria), a comprehensive training program in twelve books, draws on his own rich experience. It is a work of enduring importance, not only for its insights on oratory, but for the picture it paints of education and social at Quintilian, born in Spain about A.D. 35, became a widely known and highly successful teacher of rhetoric in Rome. The Orator's Education (Institutio Oratoria), a comprehensive training program in twelve books, draws on his own rich experience. It is a work of enduring importance, not only for its insights on oratory, but for the picture it paints of education and social attitudes in the Roman world. Quintilian offers both general and specific advice. He gives guidelines for proper schooling (beginning with the young boy); analyses the structure of speeches; recommends devices that will engage listeners and appeal to their emotions; reviews a wide range of Greek and Latin authors of use to the orator; and counsels on memory, delivery, and gestures. Donald Russell's new five-volume Loeb Classical Library edition of The Orator's Education, which replaces an eighty-year-old translation by H. E. Butler, provides a text and facing translation fully up to date in light of current scholarship and well tuned to today's taste. Russell also provides unusually rich explanatory notes, which enable full appreciation of this central work in the history of rhetoric.

30 review for The Orator's Education, Books 1–2

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jon

    The "Orator's Education" is a book that is exactly that--or the next closest thing. Quintilian's project is to outline the course for an orator's career, its full schedule, from fledgling to full-adult. The collection of books, which are twelve, this edition containing the first two, is conspicuously large size. And on first consideration the project of Quintilian's might be reasonably analogized to a latter-day rhetorical textbook. Very importantly, the discussion is not addressed to the studen The "Orator's Education" is a book that is exactly that--or the next closest thing. Quintilian's project is to outline the course for an orator's career, its full schedule, from fledgling to full-adult. The collection of books, which are twelve, this edition containing the first two, is conspicuously large size. And on first consideration the project of Quintilian's might be reasonably analogized to a latter-day rhetorical textbook. Very importantly, the discussion is not addressed to the student but rather the instructor. And the audience who he imagines then colors the entire face of the discourse. The discussion is more technical; goals are emphasized over method; taboo subjects get passing mention. *** Other than Aristotle and Cicero, there is no one who stands higher in honor among the ancient instructors of rhetoric than Quintilian. And as far as the subject reaches, so to does his authority extend. But despite his great reputation and illustrious company Quintilian is hardly known to history, and only appears on the radar for those who pursue the subject actively. Why then should this be? Is he undeserving of his rhetorical stature? Or has he been roughly handled by the mistresses of history? My first impression is that both have truth to their side. Quintilian's arrangement is clear, comprehensive, and lights upon the entirety of issues in oratory, from the simple to the sophisticated, and the obvious to the esoteric. He draws in wonderful anecdotes, such as Gaius Gracchus's penchant for keeping a musician by him during his public speaking so as to strike the perfect note in his perorations. He provides a very advanced discussion on the fine points of grammar, spelling, and pronunciation that, though bordering on the fastidious, offers a fascinating excursion to the frontier of Roman grammar. The pace he keeps is exactly tuned to the material--that expands or restrains itself in beautiful harmony with the subject-matter. Quintilian is conscious of his excess for technicalities, and excuses himself endearingly. He keeps his object always close at hand, and never lets his wandering obscure from his main purpose. His use of metaphors and poetic devices is infrequent, but when it appears, he does so with great effect. And, so as to give scope and significance to his instructions, Quintilian sets out all that proceeds in the context of the great philosophical condemnations of rhetoric--and gives his books the second dimension of a refutation as well as an education. These qualities all sum to create a great work of rhetoric. But even then, it is understandable that it would never find immense celebrity and see its star rise to the inimitable heights of scholarship. First the book is possessed with a sort of rigidity that is irritating. Sort of like a master chef who has a taste only for gourmet cuisine, Quintilian seems to bear a disdain for dishes that don't express fine craftsmanship. Style that does not conform to exact forms of perfection get short shrift. For instance, poetry out of the epic style, such as elegy, are necessarily judged inferior products by that manufacture alone. Quintilian is well aware that usages change and standards age, but he sees in Cicero and Caesar timeless moments of excellence. And if his Education can produce statesman of that species, that will be all that it produces. This all is to say that his attitude to oratory is uncompromising, perhaps even stifling. In his defense, he is writing for the purpose of educating; and it might be that he has exchanged the deliberative for the definitive. But even so, there is an unmistakable joyless disposition present in the writing. Quintilian is clearly miffed by orators of different stripes, and from other schools; and the sense for his impatience is felt in the reading. But I think I may have overstated things. Quintilian is not glib in his dismissal of countervailing sentiments, and his arguments are always cogently arranged. His instruction on oratory, though admittedly rigid, is not so far as to be adamantine. His critique of the various specimens of oratory are most often fair, and always insightful. And if he has taken is formula for rhetoric too far, in any case, it is so thoughtful in its elaboration and comprehensive in extent that Quintilian excels beyond all but a few peers. It is a fantastic shame Quintilian is hardly read. Or when he is, only for abstruse, academic interests. Much of his instruction is as relevant today as it was at the summit of Rome's empire.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Dewulf

    Nog steeds actueel en daarom zo boeiend!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nena Veenstra

    ***Nederlandse vertaling gelezen voor bachelorscriptie***

  4. 4 out of 5

    Colin

    Quintilian's classic on the proper education of an orator! Quintilian's classic on the proper education of an orator!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brent Pinkall

    11/27/20 Read again on 11/27/20. Changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars. Having studied and taught rhetoric for 5 years now, I've come to appreciate (and understand) Quintilian far more than I did the first time I encountered him. Can't wait to read through the rest of these again. 11/26/15 A classic, thorough treatise on rhetoric. I find Quintilian more helpful and enjoyable than Cicero or Aristotle. In this book particularly, I enjoy Quintilian's commentary on education. The only thing I didn't lik 11/27/20 Read again on 11/27/20. Changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars. Having studied and taught rhetoric for 5 years now, I've come to appreciate (and understand) Quintilian far more than I did the first time I encountered him. Can't wait to read through the rest of these again. 11/26/15 A classic, thorough treatise on rhetoric. I find Quintilian more helpful and enjoyable than Cicero or Aristotle. In this book particularly, I enjoy Quintilian's commentary on education. The only thing I didn't like was the extended section on the nature of words in the first third of the book. Most of his examples are Greek or Latin words, which I don't understand.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Quintilian's perspective on early childhood education is spot on. It's precisely the younger years that can't afford to have uneducated or foolish teachers/role models. The other volumes are good, but Volume 1 is necessary. Quintilian's perspective on early childhood education is spot on. It's precisely the younger years that can't afford to have uneducated or foolish teachers/role models. The other volumes are good, but Volume 1 is necessary.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Cicero and Aristotle were both pretty dry. Quntilian puts the rhetoric back into rhetoric theory. There was good advice and the book was written compellingly.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Athena Danoy

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pete

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Alan

  13. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  14. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Quinn

  15. 5 out of 5

    Claire

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laurabauer

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michal

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dumnonius

  19. 4 out of 5

    Griff

  20. 4 out of 5

    Hyusein

  21. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  22. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Alders

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scott Mitchell

  24. 4 out of 5

    Davíð Vilmundarson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melbourne Bitter

  26. 5 out of 5

    Blanche

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Tranchina

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cody Foster

  29. 5 out of 5

    John Cairns

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tim

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