The merging of civic republicanism, polite culture, and christianity in Hugh Blair's lectures on rhetoric and belles lettres

Arthur E. Walzer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

The focus of this paper is Lecture 34 of Hugh Blair's Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, the last of ten lectures Blair devoted to classical rhetoric and a most interesting instance of the challenges of historical appropriation. Blair is deeply committed to classical rhetoric and, therefore, to the formative ideal inherent in civic republicanism. But the ethos of civic republicanism, with its emphasis on public, political, aristocratic virtues, is not particularly applicable to Blair's polite, Christian, Scottish, commercial context. Yet Blair is unwilling to abandon the civic republicanism of the rhetorical tradition. This paper examines the tensions in Blair's Lecture 34 as he seeks to reconcile the conflicting ideals of civic republicanism, politeness, and Christianity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNew Chapters in the History of Rhetoric
EditorsLaurent Pernot
PublisherBrill Academic Publishers
Pages303-310
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9789004175020
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

Publication series

NameInternational Studies in the History of Rhetoric
Volume1
ISSN (Print)1875-1148

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