By Kenneth Burke
As critic, Kenneth Burke's preoccupations have been before everything only esthetic and literary; yet after Counter-Statement (1931), he started to discriminate a "rhetorical" or persuasive part in literature, and thereupon grew to become a thinker of language and human conduct.
In A Grammar of Motives (1945) and A Rhetoric of Motives (1950), Burke's notion of "symbolic action" comes into its personal: all human activities--linguisitc or extra-linguistic--are modes of symbolizing; guy is outlined because the symbol-using (and -misusing) animal. The critic's task turns into one of many studying human symbolizing anyplace he reveals it, with the purpose of illuminating human motivation. therefore the achieve of the literary critic now extends to the social and ethical.
A Grammar of Motives is a "methodical meditation" on such advanced linguistic varieties as performs, tales, poems, theologies, metaphysical structures, political philosophies, constitutions. A Rhetoric of Motives expands the sector to human methods of persuasion and id. Persuasion, as Burke sees it, "ranges from the bluntest quest of virtue, as in revenues advertising or propaganda, via courtship, social etiquette, schooling, and the sermon, to a 'pure' shape that delights within the strategy of attraction for itself by myself, with out ulterior goal. And identity levels from the flesh presser who, addressing an viewers of farmers, says, 'I was once a farm boy myself,' in the course of the mysteries of social prestige, to the mystic's religious id with the resources of all being."
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Extra resources for A Rhetoric of Motives
But it should not be allowed to give specious justification for inquiries where the sheer absence of intrinsic value is assumed to imply the presence of pragmatic value. Equivalent to the aarrowing and intensifying o£ appeal by the featuring of timely topics, there is another aspect of address more characteristic of modern conditions, particularly the kind of canvassing shaped primarily by postal communication. Both Aristotle and Cicero laid stress upon the differences among audiences. Indeed, Aristotle's recipes that distinguish between the commonplaces as appealing to a young audience and those appealing to an old one could serve as a playwright's formulas for the contrasted stock characters of "fiery youth" and timid age.
1 1 and looked down, intently, to the left. Presumably he alternated these postures for the sake of variety; but we began to speculate: If, by looking upward, and to the right, he can bring forth ideas from heaven, then by the same token, when he has looked downward, and to the left, does he also have other things brought steaming hot from hell? Cicero likens his lists of devices to weapons, which can be used for threat and attack, or can be brandished purely for show. He also mentions severa1 kinds of repetition with variation (the highly inflected nature of Latin, with its corresponding freedom of word order, allows readily for many such effects which English can approximate only with difficulty).
Teachers of Greek and Latin rhetoric had such industry; and they amassed so many such terms that they had a name for the formal design in practically any expression possible to words. Thus, if a statement proceeds by the repeating óf a conjunction ("this and that and the other"), it will be a polysyndeton. Drop the connectives ("this, . ,i TRADITIONAL PRINCIPLES OF RHETORIC that, the other") and it becomes asyndeton. Build up, by expatiation or intensification, and you have amplification (auxesis) ;treat the more dignified in terms of the less dignified, and you have meiosis; amplify a build-up until you have it established as expectation, then break the symmetry of your series with a sudden let-down, and you have bathos.
A Rhetoric of Motives by Kenneth Burke