La rhetorique françoise

René Bary, Paris, 1653 (Google Books, 1659)

René Bary (d. 1680) wrote a treatise on language and figures of speech permissible in polite conversation, which went through several editions (1659, 1665, 1669, 1673).

Vernacular rhetorics appeared in western Europe in the sixteenth century, becoming common by the seventeenth.  In the second half of the seventeenth century, ‘French writers made a major effort to recast rhetoric in a form appropriate to the needs of the time and applicable to their own language’, Bary’s work being a major example. 1  Bary’s work would be supplanted by Bernard Lamy’s De l’art de parler (1675).

Lister read Bary’s work on 13 June 1664, perhaps preparing for a salon conversation with Sir Thomas Crew.

  1. George A. Kennedy, ‘The contributions of rhetoric to literary criticism’, The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: The Eighteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), vol. 4, 352.

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