The similarity between elocution and New Criticism in method of analysis, or hermeneutics, seems patent: because elocutionists taught reading aloud, they necessarily considered a text word by word; New Critics revolutionized literary study through a similar if more sophisticated method of textual analysis, an approach which also necessitated a certain vocalizing of the words. And the two groups were curiously alike in their fumbling attempts to describe the nature of literature, its ontology, as a kind of experience. The progression from elocution to New Criticism actually forms an episode in the ongoing dispersal of rhetoric as an academic subject.
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