The Mock Rock Topos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The mock rock topos highlights the thoroughgoing materiality of ancient textual composition and circulation. This chapter focuses on rhetoric, materiality, and criticism, the first by arguing for a more overt treatment of ancient texts as material objects moving through the world. It considers the conditions that sometimes paired text and stone-resulting in their shared aesthetic and critical vocabulary-and other times pitted them against each other. The chapter organizes Greek and Roman examples of each member of the m-heuristic, availing of discourses, dialogues, treatises, biographies, letters, and published speeches. It demonstrates the cultural complexity of ancient text-stone relations, and concludes with a short venture into ancient libraries, wherein the representation competition between text and rock became more nuanced, and the two media complemented each other rather than competed with one another for representational supremacy. The sub-topos of masterpiece comes to prominence in the burgeoning vocabulary of rhetorical criticism that Socrates applies to Lysias’s written logos on love.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFifty Years of Rhetoric Society Quarterly
Subtitle of host publicationSelected Readings, 1968-2018
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781351611398
ISBN (Print)9781138086708
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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