Thomas Sprat's History of the Royal Society (London, 1667) is the most frequently cited work when it comes to describing the relationship between science and rhetoric in seventeenth-century England. Whereas previous discussions have mostly centered on whether or not Sprat rejects the rhetorical tradition, the present study investigates his manner of approaching past authorities. As a writer, Sprat demonstrates the same kind of utilitarian attitude towards the handed-down material in his field of knowledge as he says is characteristic of the Royal Society's natural philosophers. Making good use of Ciceronian ideas, Sprat emerges, not as a condemner, but as a rescuer of rhetoric.
Science versus Rhetoric? Sprat's History of the Royal Society Reconsidered
An earlier version of this article, written in Norwegian, appeared in Rhetorica Scandinavica 47 (2008): 9-29. I want to thank the referees of both Rhetorica and Rhetorica Scandinavica.
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Tina Skouen; Science versus Rhetoric? Sprat's History of the Royal Society Reconsidered. Rhetorica 1 February 2011; 29 (1): 23–52. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/RH.2011.29.1.23
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