The paper aims at investigating the process of metaphor through which Richard Sennett delves into the evolution of public speaking across the centuries, with particular reference to religious rituals in Athens, public speeches in Rome and academic declamations in medieval Paris. The purpose is to emphasize the restricted relationship between the human body, daily life and communicative efforts, in a time lacking in electric media and amplification devices. The concept of cities as a «work of metaphor» inspiring Flesh and Stone (1994) stems from the human effort to mould urban systems in line with the idea of social functionality and linguistic efficiency. The endeavor of collective sociality matches the target of shared communication, in accordance with specific rhetoric strategies and symbolic paradigms: the Adonia festival in Athens, public orations in the Romanum Comitium, lectiones and disputationes in medieval Paris are three different kinds of institutionalized communication having been developed through the definition of thorough verbal rituals and behavioral gestures. Therefore, it is possible to interpret urban environments as the reflection of this oral sociability, insofar as the power of language may influence urban planning both for lay and religious matters. Cities can be considered as an astonishing process of metaphor referring to the connection between “flesh and words”: this is what Sennett’s socio-historical survey points out about public speaking across the centuries, in line with significant expressive and aesthetic processes.

Metaphor work: Richard Sennett and the urban rhetoric of public speaking

Andrea Lombardinilo
2020

Abstract

The paper aims at investigating the process of metaphor through which Richard Sennett delves into the evolution of public speaking across the centuries, with particular reference to religious rituals in Athens, public speeches in Rome and academic declamations in medieval Paris. The purpose is to emphasize the restricted relationship between the human body, daily life and communicative efforts, in a time lacking in electric media and amplification devices. The concept of cities as a «work of metaphor» inspiring Flesh and Stone (1994) stems from the human effort to mould urban systems in line with the idea of social functionality and linguistic efficiency. The endeavor of collective sociality matches the target of shared communication, in accordance with specific rhetoric strategies and symbolic paradigms: the Adonia festival in Athens, public orations in the Romanum Comitium, lectiones and disputationes in medieval Paris are three different kinds of institutionalized communication having been developed through the definition of thorough verbal rituals and behavioral gestures. Therefore, it is possible to interpret urban environments as the reflection of this oral sociability, insofar as the power of language may influence urban planning both for lay and religious matters. Cities can be considered as an astonishing process of metaphor referring to the connection between “flesh and words”: this is what Sennett’s socio-historical survey points out about public speaking across the centuries, in line with significant expressive and aesthetic processes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11564/719682
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