Introduction: A Rhetoric of Suffering

  • Bård Norheim
  • Joar HagaEmail author


The opening chapter offers an introduction to the art of speaking well through an innovative view on leadership which highlights the importance of interpreting suffering. Using a wide range of examples, the book offers practical help for the leader who leads through speaking. The chapter presents three fundamental claims that define the art of speaking for a leader: (1) every leader is a speaker; (2) life as suffering; and (3) every speech is a story of life. Based on these three claims, we argue that there are four speeches every leader has to know—the opening speech, the executioner speech, the consolation speech, and the farewell speech.


Leadership rhetoric Rhetoric of suffering Rhetorical persuasion The opening speech The executioner speech The consolation speech The farewell speech 

Select Bibliography

  1. Aristotle: Rhetoric. Mineola, New York: Dover, 2004.Google Scholar
  2. Cicero: On Duties. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  3. Cicero: On the Ideal Orator. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
  4. Eliot, T.S.: The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism: Studies in the Relation of Criticism to Poetry in England (The Charles Eliot Norton Lectures). Harvard: Harvard University Press, 1986 (reprint), p. 144.Google Scholar
  5. Enos, Richard Leo, and Thompson, Roger et al. (eds.): The Rhetoric of St. Augustine of Hippo. De Doctrina Christiana and The Search for a Distinctly Christian Rhetoric. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2008.Google Scholar
  6. Farnsworth, Ward: Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric. Jaffrey: David R. Godine, 2011.Google Scholar
  7. Fafner, Jørgen: Tanke og tale. Den retoriske tradition i Vesteuropa. Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel, 1978.Google Scholar
  8. Heifetz, Ronald A.: Leadership Without Easy Answers. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  9. Humes, James C: The Sir Winston Method: Five Secrets of Speaking the Language of Leadership. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1991.Google Scholar
  10. Kennedy, George: The Art of Rhetoric in the Roman World 300 B.C.–A.D. 300. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2008.Google Scholar
  11. Kennedy, George: Classical Rhetoric and Its Christian and Secular Tradition from Ancient to Modern Times. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  12. Kotter, John P.: Leading Change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press, 1996.Google Scholar
  13. Lausberg, Heinrich et al. (ed.): Handbook of Literary Rhetoric: A Foundation of Literary Study. Leiden: Brill, 2002.Google Scholar
  14. Lindhardt, Jan: Retorik, Copenhagen: Rosinante, 1987.Google Scholar
  15. Machiavelli, Niccolò: The Prince. Charleston: Biblolife, 2008.Google Scholar
  16. Mack, Peter: A History of Renaissance Rhetoric 1380–1620. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.Google Scholar
  17. Pernot, Laurent: Epideictic Rhetoric: Questioning the Stakes of Ancient Praise. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2015.Google Scholar
  18. Quintillian: The Orator’s Education. Volume V: Books 11–12. Harvard: Harvard University Press, Loeb Classical Library (Ed. and Trans. by Donald A. Russell).Google Scholar
  19. Shakespeare, William: The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Ann Arbor: State Street Press, 2001.Google Scholar
  20. Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable. New York: Random House, 2010.Google Scholar
  21. Toye, Richard: Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ueding, Gert (ed.): Historisches Wörterbuch der Rhetorik (12 volumes). Berlin/New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2015.Google Scholar
  23. Vickers, Brian: In Defense of Rhetoric. Cambridge: Clarendon Press, 1988.Google Scholar
  24. Yukl, Gary: Leadership in Organizations (8th ed.) Pearson: Hoboken, NJ, 2013.Google Scholar
  25. The Bible. New International Version.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Theology, Religion and PhilosophyNLA University CollegeBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations