Between Grammar and Rhetoric

Dionysius of Halicarnassus on Language, Linguistics and Literature


The Greek rhetorician Dionysius of Halicarnassus was active in Augustan Rome. For a long time, modern scholars have regarded him as a rather mediocre critic, whose works were only interesting because of the references to earlier scholars and the citations of literary fragments. By interpreting Dionysius’ views within the context of his rhetorical programme, this book shows that Dionysius was in fact an intelligent scholar, who combined theories and methods from various language disciplines and used them for his own practical purposes. His rhetorical writings not only inform us about the linguistic knowledge of intellectuals at the end of the first century BC, but also demonstrate the close connections between philology, technical grammar, philosophy, music studies and rhetoric.

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Casper C. de Jonge, Ph.D. (2006) in Classics, is a Lecturer in Ancient Greek Language and Literature at Leiden University. He was the first winner of the Vivien Law Prize in the History of Linguistic Ideas (2004).
[D]e Jonge's framing and demonstrations of Dionysius' analytic techniques have much to recommend them, since they correct and elucidate many difficult aspects of this under-appreciated theorist. […] While de Jonge is not alone in recent years in reframing Dionysius this way, his book presents many new ways of understanding individual aspects of Dionysius' literary and especially linguistic theory. It should do much to invigorate and advance study of this rich body of work.
Nancy Worman, Barnard College, Columbia University, in BMCR 2012.01.06 (2012)

"De Jonge has absorbed and analysed a very great deal of often very difficult material, and all
students of ancient rhetoric, grammar, and stylistics should be grateful to him; this book will, I
am sure, become a standard point of reference.
Rhetorical Review, July 2009
All those who study the history of rhetoric and the history of linguistics, as well as classical philologists and historians who are interested in the intellectual life in Augustan Rome.
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