Too often, general overviews of medieval rhetorical traditions position the period as one of lack—that is, as an epoch defined by alienation from the theoretical Greek rhetorics and from the “mature” thought of Latin orators such as Cicero (e.g., De oratore). Any scholar who wishes to correct this mistaken notion need only consult Rita Copeland’s most recent book. Such a reader will be rewarded with a sweeping, magisterial work that covers a dizzying array of ancient and medieval texts with the goal of elucidating “how subjective experience was imagined as something to be knowable, harnessed, and expressed” as well as “how emotions were understood, articulated, and mobilized” (e-book 1). Despite the range of evidence Copeland reviews, the sheer scope of her analysis (she traces the development of Western rhetoric from antiquity to the late Middle Ages not once but twice) and the sophistication of her argument, Emotion and the...

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