Laura Loporcaro

In my thesis, I aim to present a new appraisal of Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria, focusing on its didactic strategies. These are particularly relevant in view of the fundamental tension between theory (the goal of educating the perfect orator) and practice (the fact that, in reality, many factors beyond the author’s reach co-determine a pupil’s success in learning, which is repeatedly acknowledged throughout the work). This tension could potentially undermine the writer’s didactic authority, but it is overcome precisely through strategies such as the careful construction of a didactic persona and of a consistent theoretical framework. For my analysis I concentrate, by way of example, on Quintilian’s treatment of three topics for which he claims novelty and which he signals to be particularly important, or problematic, for his aim to educate the ideal orator: laughter, imitation, and memory.