The Art and Rhetoric of Letter Writing: How Letter Writing Manuals Have Evolved and Preserved Rhetorical Strategies Throughout Centuries

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Rhetorical strategies can be traced back to ancient rhetoricians of the Classical period through the examination of the evolution of letter writing. Letters took the art of oral rhetoric and transferred it to the art of writing in the early Medieval period. Because of the need for documentation, especially in the Church, letter writing became important in order to preserve historical speeches. The art of letter writing soon evolved into the Renaissance period, in which letters became more private and personable. However, although some of the intentions of letter writing changed throughout the centuries, rhetorical techniques have progressed or have been adapted in order to teach basic letter writing today. This paper will research how the art and rhetoric of letter writing has evolved from the Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance periods, through the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, and how some of the techniques and strategies of letter writing from these periods can still be found in different writing genres today.



Letter writing, Rhetoric