This article examines the mythologies and materialities informing the ludic performance of sophism and lucid practice of scholarship to show that after two and a half millennia of standing in sharp opposition to one another the two are starting to converge. The article documents the return of rhetoric and poetics and argues that, far from simply reflecting changes in academic fashion, this event signals a complete reorientation of the scholarly apparatus. The argument calls attention to the material and historical alignment of scholarship with the medium of literacy and suggests that challenges to the literate apparatus from new media are also challenges to the scholarly apparatus and its inbuilt antipathy for rhetoric and poetics. In what amounts to a reversal of the inaugural gesture of the very first academy, scholars are rediscovering the value of rhetorical and poetic play as functional elements of their craft. With this change a new scholarly myth begins to emerge, giving us a new scholar-hero: a sophist with close ties to the world of poetry and poetics.

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