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The field of rhetoric includes a long, complex history and tradition, including the classical rhetoric of Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintilian all the way to the present day. An attempt to define rhetoric can be just as complex as its history, as caution must be taken to avoid a definition that is too restrictive. Perhaps the simplest and most accurate definition of rhetoric is that it is a form of communication that includes both the art and practice of effective speaking and writing, often with the intent of persuasion. This wide-ranging field produces rich areas of research to be cultivated by communication scholars. In this entry, how rhetoric shapes reality, as well as the intent behind rhetoric, is examined, followed by a discussion of rhetorical criticism ...

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