ABSTRACT

Quintilian’s notion of imitation is often acclaimed for its focus on invention and appropriateness and for highlighting attunement to individual talent. Yet these aspects tend to be somewhat neglected in the practice of imitation as shaped by the classical rhetorical tradition, which primarily focuses on imitation exercises for beginners. This essay accentuates Quintilian’s chapter on imitation, which, as stressed by Murphy, is aimed at the mature student, in order to propel these precepts into today’s teaching. Specifically, this article advances a pedagogy of student-driven imitation constituted of five dimensions and characterized by the student’s own choice of text, valuing reflexive process over mirroring, and strengthening rhetorical agency. The exposition of student-driven imitation is supplemented with questions that students might address and excerpts from a student’s work.

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