Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Literature: An Exploration

Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Literature: An Exploration (Hardback)

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 Rhetoric, Philosophy, and Literature: An Exploration
Purdue University Press
6.00" x 9.00"

Book Description

The word rhetoric has been controversial at least since Plato both condemned and praised differing understandings of the subject in his Gorgias and Phaedrus.  The six essays of this collection indicate that differing understandings as well as considerable interest in this subject continue to this day.  Viewpoints range from Donald Bryant's traditional, Aristotelian conception of rhetoric as "the rationale of the informative and suasory in discourse," which may serve as a touchstone in this collection, to Henry Johnstone's understanding of rhetoric as the evocation of the consciousness required for communication, which grows out of his exploratory journey from philosophy to rhetoric and back.  Five of the essays have frequent and explicit reference to rhetoric, while Wayne Booth's is an entertaining precis of his book A Rhetoric of Irony.


When read serially, the essays of this collection may create for the reader new dimensions of meaning which are not as likely to be discovered if they read singly. The contributions by Booth, Kenneth Burke, and Maurice Natanson deal with indirect meaning and figurative language.  Natanson's work is also suggestive on the problem of validation and may serve as a transition to the essays by Johnstone and Lloyd Bitzer, which, although different from one another in approach, are concerned primarily with the problem of validation and authorization.  Bryant's essay shares with Bitzer's a concern with the relationship of politics and rhetoric, but it is perhaps more related to the discussions of Booth, Burke, and Natanson in its concern with literature.


Together the six essays explore certain relationships between rhetoric, philosophy, and literature, illustrating that rhetoric is the special province of no one academic field and is best understood as an interdisciplinary study.

About the Editor(s):

Don M. Burks, whose Ph.D. is from the University of Wisconsin, is an associate professor of communication at Purdue University, where he teaches courses in contemporary rhetorical theory and principles of persuasion.