Abstract This paper pursues the thesis that there was a break in the history of rhetoric around 1700, when the traditional concept of rhetoric as an ars was replaced by that of a rhetoric of emotion. The argument goes back to Quintilians notion of an artificiosa eloquentia. It is demonstrated how, in the early enlightenment, the ars-centered concept of rhetoric was carried over into that of a natural rhetoric which placed the fertile power of emotion above rhetorical tradition. As a result, the currency of ancient theories was permanently diminished.
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