On the occasion of his visit to the Milton Keynes’ campus of The Open University CC’S Anastasia Bakogianni caught up with Professor Mike Edwards (Roehampton University, London). Mike talks to us about the bad reputation of Rhetoric and how Plato and Aristotle contributed to this negative view of his favourite subject.

Mike tells us how he fell under the spell of Rhetoric while studying with Stephen Usher at Royal Holloway College, London, who taught him that rhetorical speeches are worthy of study in their own right rather than as simply evidence for the study of ancient history and law.  He talks to us about the joy of editing and translating rhetorical texts and his interest in the minutiae of manuscripts and their transmission.

Mike tells us about the rare joy of rediscovering a ‘lost’ text. He was involved with the Archimedes Palimpsest project working closely with other experts in the field to uncover a lost manuscript written by Hyperides, an Athenian orator from the fourth century BCE, that was discovered hidden underneath a thirteenth-century prayer book.

Mike believes strongly that the works of the Greek and Latin orators should be accessible through translations to ensure the survival of the subject. Towards that end he translated the complete works of Isaeus (University of Texas, 2007), another fourth century BCE orator who specialised in inheritance law. Mike’s volume belongs to the Oratory of Classical Greece series edited by Michael Gagarin.

Mike is Vice-President of the International Society for the History of Rhetoric and was editor of its journal Rhetorica (2005-11), which accepts submissions in six languages, including Latin!

He is currently working on a new Oxford text of Isaeus and enjoying the process of going back to the Greek text.

Follow this link or click on the image below to watch the interview!