Direct, comprehensive, well organized, simple in statement, Elements of Rhetoric is in all respects well fitted to fulfill its assigned role as a textbook. The remarks on practical problems and the examples and analogies confirm contemporary reports that Whately was himself a talented and stimulating teacher.
The modern field of speech was born near the beginning of the twentieth century, some seventy years after Whately wrote. But influential leaders in the new field endorsed Whately’s judgments, and courses and textbooks in public address have remained strongly influenced by his ideas. Whately’s views on a number of major questions in rhetoric have proved sound and fruitful during many decades of practice, and his book remains one of the most influential works on the subject.