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The Language of Persuasion: Linguistic Approaches to its Theory and Practice in the Classical World

Start: Sep 10, 2014 11:00 AM
End: Sep 12, 2014 03:00 PM

Location: Department of Greek & Latin (Gordon House WC1H 0PP) and the UCL Institute of Archaeology (Gordon Square)


Persuasion is a psychological phenomenon which is deeply connected to language. The focus of the conference is to explore the nature and role of persuasion as linguistic exercise in classical literature and culture from a variety of different perspectives.

These include modern linguistics, stylistics, ancient rhetoric and criticism, and comparative approaches taking into account modern and extra-European rhetorical practices and traditions. We hope to discuss the following themes:

  • Persuasion through language: insights into the linguistic strategies put into effect as means of persuasion in classical literature (fiction and non-fiction, including technical and didactic literature)
  • Language through rhetoric: rhetorical literature as a collection of mother-tongue metalinguistic material, which may help us reconstruct language use in precise and well-defined communicative tasks
  • Rhetoric and practice: critical approaches to the ancient rhetorical theories and observations on the psychological effects of language, based on linguistic analysis of texts which aim to persuade
  • Literary representations of persuasion: linguistic analysis of persuasion ‘in action’ as depicted in both classical literary prose and poetry (e.g. historiography, drama, etc.)
  • Persuasion across languages: insights on how rhetorical concepts involving linguistic features have been adapted across linguistic borders (from Greek into Latin down to the modern European languages)

Full Programme

Register for Keynote Speech

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