The main purpose of this paper is to discuss parrhesia (literally “free speech”), in the rhetorical theory of Bartholomew Keckermann (Systema rhetoricae, Hanau 1608) with particular attention to its nature, forms, and functions. For Keckermann, parrhesia is not only one of the rhetorical figures related to expressing or amplifying emotions, but also may be considered as a regulative idea of speech best epitomized in the postulate, to speak “everything freely and sincerely,” since the term includes the Greek notion. Aside from such ancient authors as Quintilian, the major source of theoretical inspirations for Keckermann are the textbooks written by Melanchthon (on the relations between parrhesia and flattery), Ramus (on parrhesia as a kind of exclamation) and Sturm (on the critical power of parrhesia). With a firm grounding in this contextual background, this analysis elucidates Keckermann’s contribution to the Renaissance debate on this rhetorical schema.
Speaking Freely: Keckermann on the Figure of Parrhesia
This paper is part of the research project “Politropia: The Early Modern Theories and Ideas of Figuration,” funded by the Polish National Science Centre (NCN) within the SONATA programme for postdoctoral fellows (DEC-2013/11/D/HS2/04529). An earlier version of the paper was delivered in Tübingen 31 July 2015 at The Twentieth Biennial Conference of International Society for the History of Rhetoric (ISHR). I would like to thank the anonymous reviewers of this paper for their invaluable and generous comments on my text. I am grateful to Mr. Curry Kennedy for polishing my English.
Wojciech Ryczek; Speaking Freely: Keckermann on the Figure of Parrhesia. Rhetorica 1 May 2019; 37 (2): 167–188. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/rh.2019.37.2.167
Download citation file: