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An Ideal Critic

Ciceronian Rhetoric and Contemporary Criticism

K. Hvidtfelt Nielsen

The book argues and exemplifies the replacement of philosophy by rhetoric as the more rewarding speech genre for discussing theoretical beliefs. The rhetorical writings of Cicero and Quintilian are carefully sifted and re-organized so as to provide the literary critic with a vocabulary (topicality) for translating recent debates among hermeneutists, speech act theorists, and post-structuralists (Foucault, Bakhtin, Gadamer, Vattimo, Searle, Derrida, and Bloom) into a performative canon of criticism.

«...the book must be praised for its originality and acknowledged as a significant effort to revive Cicero for contemporary interests. Nielsen's insights about performance, imitation, and rhetorical subjectivity are striking and, when taken togehter, they present Ciceronianism as a live option for our own use rather than as an archaic theory about discourse.» (Michael Leff, Rhetorik)