Eighteenth- and 19th-century Scottish rhetoric is important to modern language scholars because it serves as the basis of much of their work today in analyzing and creating texts in the fields of literature and composition. The study of English literature developed out of the rhetoric courses in the Scottish universities. Prior to the 18th century, the Greek and Roman classics were the only literature considered worthy of academic study. The vernaculars were considered folk literatures. The term literature as it is known today—as French, Italian, or English literature—did not exist in either the English or French language prior to 1800. Before that time “literature” was exclusively classical. The study of English literature entered the academic world in the Scottish universities through the rhetoric courses. The professors in this northern country realized that examples from their own literature illustrating precepts of rhetoric would serve their students better than examples from Greek and Latin, which, they suspected, many students could not understand.