Rejecting rhetoric as a prescriptive system which obstructs creativity is an attitude found in writers from all epochs of literature. This essay looks at three writers from different periods, writing in different languages, whose hostile statements about rhetoric stand in stark contrast to their extensive and original use of its devices as an effective tool of literary creation. Goethe, Victor Hugo, and Mario Vargas Llosa each find innovative ways of integrating the ancient techniques and their described functions into their writing. This article identifies the rhetorical devices that play a crucial role in shaping each author's characteristic tone, and capture the spirit of their epoch.
- writers' anti-rhetoric
- rhetorical figures in literary creation
- J.W. Goethe
- art v. nature
- Victor Hugo
- prescription v. creative freedom
- Mario Vargas Llosa
- superficial effects v. true passion
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