Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rhetoric - digressio



digressio [dɪˈgrɛsɪəʊ] n.

1.) Digressio is the handling of some matter going out from order, but yet for profit of some pertinent cause, we may digresse for the cause of praising, dispraising, delighting or preparing. Digressons are taken either from the declaration of deeds, the descriptions of persons, places and times, the reporting of Apollogies and similltudes, & likewise from common places (The Garden of Eloquence, Henry Peachum, 1593).

Etymology: from Latin dīgress-, participle stem of dīgredī, to go aside, depart, from di-, dis- + gradī, to step, walk, go.

"And, that it may not appear marvellous to any one of you, that I, in a formal proceeding like this, and in a regular court of justice, when an action is being tried before a praetor of the Roman people, a most eminent man, and before most impartial judges, before such an assembly and multitude of people as I see around me, employ this style of speaking, which is at variance, not only with the ordinary usages of courts of justice, but with the general style of forensic pleading; I entreat you in this cause to grant me this indulgence, suitable to this defendant, and as I trust not disagreeable to you,—the indulgence, namely, of allowing me, when speaking in defence of a most sublime poet and most learned man, before this concourse of highly-educated citizens, before this most polite and accomplished assembly, and before such a praetor as him who is presiding at this trial, to enlarge with a little more freedom than usual on the study of polite literature and refined arts, and, speaking in the character of such a man as that, who, owing to the tranquillity of his life and the studies to which he has devoted himself, has but little experience of the dangers of a court of justice, to employ a new and unusual style of oratory" ("The Speech of M. T. Cicero for Aulus Licinius Archias, the Poet" in The Orations of Marcus Tullius Cicero, C. D. Yonge and B. A. London (trans.), 1856).

(Fanciullo che legge Cicerone, Vincenzo Foppa, ~1464)
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This one may seem obvious, but a good digression can be a powerful rhetorical device. Also, apologies for my absence from the blogosphere recently, but I've been moving house from London to the great state of Colorado. I turned in my thesis a week or so ago and, instead of waiting around in London for my viva, I decided to come back home and climb some 14ers while the weather was still good. Now comes the fun part of applying for PhD programs! Finally, today is the last day to write your paragraphs for the weekly challenge (although jos xx has already submitted one, so it's probably going to have to be good to win). Thanks for reading!

10 comments:

MRanthrope said...

welcome home sir. PhD applications...sounds like a blast!

Henry said...

eh? I'm lost..

HYDRIOTAPHIA said...

To digress, departing from the way is more coherent than to hallucinate, that is, to wander in the mind!

nowaysj said...

This is my old dogs name.

Not really, but would be cool if it was.

Keep this blog going so I can one day write a para.

Mai Yang said...

sounds Italian..hmm..

Mai Yang said...

I think you have this award already but still I wanna give you one..and I wanna ask if it's okay to grab your pic and add it on my post?

http://maiyang1902.blogspot.com/2011/09/sunshine-award-my-second-blog-award.html

JayJay said...

Good luck with the PhD applications. And congrats on handing in your thesis.

Hope the trip home was enjoyable.

DEZMOND said...

wishing you all the luck with PhD, Edmund! Proud of you!

PeaceLoveandSharpies said...

Good luck with the applications.
Though don't stress.
You'll blow their minds.
I promise! :D

HYDRIOTAPHIA said...

Not a quote E, just off the cuff humour. Interesting that you'd not heard of the one-time second city of the realm before, but probably had heard of York, Cambridge and Oxford;
o and the word 'hallucination' is just another highly indicative of his studies, neologism of Browne's.

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