By Kenneth Burke
As critic, Kenneth Burke's preoccupations have been at first merely 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 belief 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 analyzing human symbolizing at any place he unearths it, with the purpose of illuminating human motivation. hence the achieve of the literary critic now extends to the social and ethical.
A Grammar of Motives is a "methodical meditation" on such complicated linguistic varieties as performs, tales, poems, theologies, metaphysical platforms, political philosophies, constitutions. A Rhetoric of Motives expands the sphere to human methods of persuasion and identity. Persuasion, as Burke sees it, "ranges from the bluntest quest of virtue, as in revenues merchandising or propaganda, via courtship, social etiquette, schooling, and the sermon, to a 'pure' shape that delights within the technique of charm for itself by myself, with out ulterior function. And id levels from the flesh presser who, addressing an viewers of farmers, says, 'I was once a farm boy myself,' throughout the mysteries of social prestige, to the mystic's religious identity with the assets of all being."
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Extra resources for A Rhetoric of Motives
This definition is in Book 11, Chapter XV. " 49 TRADITIONAL PRINCIPLES OF RHETORIC Augustine's De Doctrina Christiana (written near the beginning of the fifth century) and you have ample material, in these four great peaks stretched across 750 years, to observe the major principles derivable from the notion of rhetoric as persuasion,as inducement to -- action, ad agzdum, in-the [email protected]Íé,%ho - -- elsewhere, in the same book, states that a man is persuaded if ' he likes what you promise, fears what you say is imminent, hates \ what you censure, embraces what you commend, regrets whatever you built up as regrettable, rejoices at what you say is cause for rejoicing, sympathizes with those whose wretchedness your words bring before his very eyes, shuns those whom you admonish him to shun .
And processes of "identification" would seem to figure here, as follows: Longinus refers to that kind o£ elation wherein the audience feels as / d i though it were not merely receiving, but were itself creatively participating in the poet's or speaker's assertion. Could we not say that, in such cases, the audience is exalted by the assertion because it has the feel of collaborating in the assertion? At least, we know that many purely formal patterns can readily awaken an attitude of collaborative expectancy in us.
For however strong Aristotle's bias towards science may have been, it was always modified by a highly dramatistic context. His rhetoric is thoroughly dramatist in its insights. But Aristotle does not discuss varieties of audience with the systematic thoroughness which he brings to the classification of opinion in general. And both Aristotle and Cicero consider audiences purely as something given. general, but for the topics that will appeal to tlie particu-' lar "income group" most likely to be interested in his product, or able to buy it.
A Rhetoric of Motives by Kenneth Burke