Ekphrasis, Imagination and Persuasion in Ancient Rhetorical Theory and Practice
This is a study of ekphrasis, the art of making listeners and readers 'see' in their imagination through words alone, as taught in ancient rhetorical schools and as used by Greek writers of the Imperial period (2nd-6th centuries CE). The author places the practice of ekphrasis within its cultural context, emphasising the importance of the visual imagination in ancient responses to rhetoric, poetry and historiography. By linking the theoretical writings on ekphrasis with ancient theories of imagination and emotion and language, she brings out the persuasive and emotive function of vivid language in the literature of the period. In order to explain the ancient understanding of ekphrasis and its place within the larger system of rhetorical training, the study includes a full analysis of the ancient technical sources (rhetorical handbooks, commentaries) which aims to make these accessible to non-specialists.