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Sympathy in Rhetorical Persuasion

av Sari Kivistö
– Two Eighteenth-Century Finnish Dissertations. In the eighteenth century, sympathy was considered a major force in human society, aesthetics and rhetorical communication. The importance of sympathy was also discussed in two Latin dissertations entitled De sympathia animorum humanorum, which were presented at the Academy of Turku inthe late eighteenth century. The article focuses on these two texts and examineshowthey reflect the contemporary discussion. After a general introduction to the role of sympathy in eighteenth-century thinking and human society, the article concentrates on three important means thought to promote sympathy and persuasion: the speaker’s enthusiasm, plausibility of narration and vivid description. In the texts studied, sympathy represents a single multifaceted concept to describe the required bond between a speaker and his audience and provides the basis for a successful rhetorical persuasion

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