October 1, 2016 Prof. DeFrance

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Robert DeFrance

English 1

October 1, 2016

Prof. DeFrance

Proposal Letter Example

Dear Professor DeFrance,

I have enjoyed philosophy since I was in high school, but I became interested specifically in the field of Rhetoric and rhetorical analysis when I began my Master’s program. As I have read more on the subject, I find I really enjoy reading about the rhetoric of Ancient Greece, primarily those of Aristotle, Plato, and Cicero. The areas where they disagree have always interested me.
As I read on, a paradox seemed to appear in that Cicero critiques Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates, but I would also argue he rarely departs from them philosophically. I will focus on Cicero’s relationship to Aristotle. Some questions I intend to address include: what is rhetoric? What are Cicero and Aristotle’s places within the history of rhetoric? What was Cicero’s critique of Aristotle? How does Cicero depart from Aristotle? Where does Cicero conform to the ideas of Aristotle? What do these differences imply? How has it influenced later scholarship? What scholars have later critiqued the work of Cicero?
My primary sources will be Aristotle’s The Rhetoric, Cicero’s De Inventione, and Cicero’s De Oratore.
My secondary sources will likely include:

  • Vladimir Zoric’s “Banished with No Force: Exile and Metonymy in Cicero’s Pro Caecina Oratio” (Diacritics, 2012)

  • Jeffery Martin Green’s “Montaigne’s Critique of Cicero” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1975)

  • Marcia Kmetz’s “'For Want of the Usual Manure’: Rural Civic Ethos in Ciceronian Rhetoric”

The next steps in my research process will be narrowing down my primary source and going to Long Beach State University Library to see what resources they have that might help me in my research paper.


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