rhetoric. The art of persuasion, in speaking, writing, or the production of images. Rhetoric originated in ancient Greece as principles for orators (rhetors) to follow in "discovering all the possible means of persuading in any given case or situation." The rhetorical process included five stages—invention (discovering the logical, ethical, and emotional arguments), arrangement (organizing the arguments), style (choosing words and figures in which to express the arguments), memory, and delivery. Aristotle, who focused on invention in his Rhetoric stressed that learning how to persuade other people required being a competent judge of virtue and character, having a thorough knowledge of human emotion, and possessing skill in reasoning. He also pointed out that the two excellences of style are clarity and propriety (appropriateness) and recommended a style that led to easy learning rather than one that was difficult or showy. Some other early writers of rhetorical guides—known as Sophists—differed from Aristotle in focusing on stylistic devices and tricks of persuasion. Many of these devices are known today as logical and emotional fallacies. As a result of the abuse of its methods by the Sophists and their followers—including modern Madison Avenue advertisers—rhetoric has some negative connotations. People use the phrase "mere rhetoric" to describe speaking or writing that is showy but empty. Nevertheless, the second half of the twentieth century has seen renewed interest in the principles of Aristotelian rhetoric—both for what they have to offer in the teaching of written composition and for insight into the elements of novels and poems that "persuade" the reader to share the author's vision.