Legendry and the Rhetoric of Truth

The genre of legend has long been defined in relation to truth and belief, and legend scholars have noted some of the devices that serve to establish legend credibility. In fact, legend employs an extensive rhetoric in establishing its truth, and this essay aims to provide a comprehensive description of the tropes of this rhetoric in terms of Aristotle’s categories of persuasion: ethos, logos, and pathos. Illustrations of these tropes are presented with a discussion of their characteristics. Scholarly attempts to define the legend genre might abandon truth and belief as criteria in favor of a performance of truth realized with this rhetoric.