cover of book

The Practice of Rhetoric: Poetics, Performance, Philosophy
edited by Debra Hawhee and Vessela Valiavitcharska
contributions by Marie Secor, Dale Martin Smith, Vessela Valiavitcharska, Cleve Wiese, Jeanne Fahnestock, Debra Hawhee, Susan C. Jarratt, Michele Kennerly, Mark Garrett Longaker, Glen McClish and Ellen Quandahl
University of Alabama Press, 2022
Cloth: 978-0-8173-2137-6 | eISBN: 978-0-8173-9419-6
Library of Congress Classification P301.P6496 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 808.001

Essays that show what a broad conception of rhetoric means and does in relation to practice
Rhetoric is the art of emphasis, in the ancient sense of bringing to light or obscuring in shadow, and it is both a practice and a theory about that practice. In recent decades, scholars of rhetoric have turned to approaches that braid together poetics, performance, and philosophy into a “practical art.” The Practice of Rhetoric: Poetics, Performance, Philosophy presents just such an account of rhetoric that presumes and incorporates theoretical approaches, offering a collection of principles assembled in the heat and trials of public practice. The essays gathered in this volume are inspired by the capacious conception of rhetoric put forth by historian of rhetoric Jeffrey Walker, who is perhaps best known for stressing rhetoric’s educational mission and its investments in both theory and practice.

The book extends that vision through the prisms of poetics, performance, and philosophy of argument. Poetics shows rhetoric’s meaning making in all its verbal possibilities and material manifestations, in contexts ranging from mouse-infested medieval fields to the threat of toxin-ridden streams in the twentieth century. Performance puts what is created into the heat of public life, tapping out the rhythms of Byzantine prose or using collage to visually depict the beliefs and convictions of Martin Luther King Jr. Philosophy of argument enacts the mutually constitutive relationship between rhetoric and dialectic, offering new insights on and contexts for old tools like stasis and disputation, while keeping the focus on usefulness and teachability.

Ranging across centuries and contexts, the essays collected here demonstrate the continued need to attend carefully to the cooperation of descriptive language and normative reality, conceptual vocabulary and material practice, public speech and moral self-shaping. This volume will rekindle long-standing conversations about the public, world-making practice of rhetoric, thereby enlivening anew its civic mission.
Nearby on shelf for Philology. Linguistics / Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar / Style. Composition. Rhetoric: