Rhetorical Questions

Rhetorical Questions : Studies in Public Discourse

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From classical antiquity through the Renaissance, rhetoric was the prime vehicle of education in the West and the discipline that prepared students for civic life. With a comprehensiveness drawn from this tradition, Edwin Black here probes the incongruities between form and substance that open public discourse to significant interpretation. Locating rhetorical studies at the confluence of literature and politics, Black focuses on the ideological component of seemingly literary texts and the use of literary devices to advance political advocacy. The essays collected here range in subject matter from nineteenth-century oratory to New York Times editorials to the rhetoric of Richard Nixon. Unifying the collection are the concerns of secrecy and disclosure, identity, opposition, the scope of argument in public persuasion, and the historical mutability of rhetorical forms. Rhetorical Questions will appeal to those in communication, political science, literary study, composition theory, and journalism. Scholars involved in the considerable number of intellectual disciplines that are rediscovering rhetorical studies--especially law, sociology, and cultural anthropology--will find this book to be a model of rhetorical analysis. Indeed, these essays--five of which have never before been published--are essential reading for anyone, whether specialist or nonspecialist, who is concerned with the moral quality of public life and who values its rigorous exploration.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 220 pages
  • 150 x 220 x 21.59mm | 452g
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 0226055019
  • 9780226055015
  • 2,364,840

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From classical antiquity through the Renaissance, rhetoric was the prime vehicle of education in the West and the discipline that prepared students for civic life. With a comprehensiveness drawn from this tradition, Edwin Black here probes the incongruities between form and substance that open public discourse to significant interpretation. Locating rhetorical studies at the confluence of literature and politics, Black focuses on the ideological component of seemingly literary texts and the use of literary devices to advance political advocacy. The essays collected here range in subject matter from nineteenth-century oratory to New York Times editorials to the rhetoric of Richard Nixon. Unifying the collection are the concerns of secrecy and disclosure, identity, opposition, the scope of argument in public persuasion, and the historical mutability of rhetorical forms. Rhetorical Questions will appeal to those in communication, political science, literary study, composition theory, and journalism. Scholars involved in the considerable number of intellectual disciplines that are rediscovering rhetorical studies--especially law, sociology, and cultural anthropology--will find this book to be a model of rhetorical analysis. Indeed, these essays--five of which have never before been published--are essential reading for anyone, whether specialist or nonspecialist, who is concerned with the moral quality of public life and who values its rigorous exploration.
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Table of contents

Introduction: Rhetoric as Critique 1 Idioms of Social Identity 2 Secrecy and Disclosure as Rhetorical Forms 3 Rhetorical Secrets: Rhetorical Mysteries 4 The Sentimental Style as Escapism 5 Authoritarian Fiction 6 Ideological Justifications 7 Dramatic Form in Rhetorical Transactions 8 The Mutability of Rhetoric
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About Edwin Black

Edwin Black, professor of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, is among the premier scholars in rhetorical studies. He has twice received the Speech Communication Association Golden Anniversary Award. He is the author of three earlier books, including Rhetorical Criticism: A Study in Method.
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