Reveals the full range of Kenneth Burke's contribution to the possibility of social change
In Addressing Postmodernity, Barbara Biesecker examines the relationship between rhetoric and social change and the ways human beings transform social relations through the purposeful use of symbols. In discerning the conditions of possibility for social transformation and the role of human beings and rhetoric in it, Biesecker turns to the seminal work of Kenneth Burke.
Through a close reading of Burke's major works, A Grammar of Motives, A Rhetoric of Motives, and The Rhetoric of Religion: Studies in Logology, the author addresses the critical topic of the
fragmentation of the contemporary lifeworld revealing postmodernity will have a major impact on Burkeian scholarship and on the rhetorical critique of social relations in general.
Directly confronting the challenges posed by postmodernity to social theorists and critics alike and juxtaposing the work of Burke and Jurgen Habermas, Biesecker argues that a radicalized rereading of Burke's theory of the negative opens the way toward a resolutely rhetorical theory of social change and human agency.
Jazz is born of collaboration, improvisation, and listening. In much the same way, the American democratic experience is rooted in the interaction of individuals. It is these two seemingly disparate, but ultimately thoroughly American, conceits that Gregory Clark examines in Civic Jazz. Melding Kenneth Burke’s concept of rhetorical communication and jazz music’s aesthetic encounters with a rigorous sort of democracy, this book weaves an innovative argument about how individuals can preserve and improve civic life in a democratic culture.
Jazz music, Clark argues, demonstrates how this aesthetic rhetoric of identification can bind people together through their shared experience in a common project. While such shared experience does not demand agreement—indeed, it often has an air of competition—it does align people in practical effort and purpose. Similarly, Clark shows, Burke considered Americans inhabitants of a persistently rhetorical situation, in which each must choose constantly to identify with some and separate from others. Thought-provoking and path-breaking, Clark’s harmonic mashup of music and rhetoric will appeal to scholars across disciplines as diverse as political science, performance studies, musicology, and literary criticism.
Close Reading: The Reader
Frank Lentricchia and Andrew DuBois, eds. Duke University Press, 2003 Library of Congress PR21.C58 2003 | Dewey Decimal 820.9
An anthology of exemplary readings by some of the twentieth century’s foremost literary critics, Close Reading presents a wide range of responses to the question at the heart of literary criticism: how best to read a text to understand its meaning. The lively introduction and the selected essays provide an overview of close reading from New Criticism through poststructuralism, including works of feminist criticism, postcolonial theory, queer theory, new historicism, and more.
From a 1938 essay by John Crowe Ransom through the work of contemporary scholars, Close Reading highlights the interplay between critics—the ways they respond to and are influenced by others’ works. To facilitate comparisons of methodology, the collection includes discussions of the same primary texts by scholars using different critical approaches. The essays focus on Hamlet, “Lycidas,” “The Rape of the Lock,” Ulysses, Invisible Man, Beloved, Jane Austen, John Keats, and Wallace Stevens and reveal not only what the contributors are reading, but also how they are reading.
Frank Lentricchia and Andrew DuBois’s collection is an essential tool for teaching the history and practice of close reading.
Contributors. Houston A. Baker Jr., Roland Barthes, Homi Bhabha, R. P. Blackmur, Cleanth Brooks, Kenneth Burke, Paul de Man, Andrew DuBois, Stanley Fish, Catherine Gallagher, Sandra Gilbert, Stephen Greenblatt, Susan Gubar, Fredric Jameson, Murray Krieger, Frank Lentricchia, Franco Moretti, John Crowe Ransom, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Helen Vendler
Encounters with Kenneth Burke
William H. Rueckert University of Illinois Press, 1994 Library of Congress PS3503.U6134Z85 1994 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
William H. Rueckert's landmark
1963 study, Kenneth Burke and the Drama of Human Relations, is often
credited with bringing the field of Burke studies into existence. Here, Rueckert
has gathered his "encounters" with Burke over the past thirty years--brieft
talks, position papers, rethinking and reformation of earlier ideas, and detailed
analyses of individual texts--into one volume that offers readers the best of
Focuses criticism upon the writings of Kenneth Burke.
"This is a powerful book. . . . We owe a debt of gratitude to James Chesebro. He and a few others have seen to it that Kenneth Burke's unique thought got a full and fair hearing from a new generation of scholars. This is because Chesebro has done what many others have failed to do. He has treated Burke's work not as a closed system but as a kind of resource that must be shaped anew for every challenge or question.
"This volume is the result of an open call for papers. Forty-three were submitted and considered by a selection committee that included Bernard Brock, James Klumpp, Dale Bertelson and Timothy Thompson. . . . Chesebro organized the volume into four movements [that] represent the ways in which Burke's system might continue to act as a fructifying influence in contemporary thought."—Burke Book Reviews, Kenneth Burke Society Newsletter
Throughout much of his long life (1897–1993), Kenneth Burke was recognized as a leading American intellectual, perhaps the most significant critic writing in English since Coleridge. From about 1950 on, rhetoricians in both English and speech began to see him as a major contributor to the New Rhetoric. But despite Burke's own claims to be writing philosophy and some notice from reviewers and critics that his work was philosophically significant, Timothy W. Crusius is the first to access his work as philosophy.
Crusius traces Burke's commitment and contributions to philosophy prior to 1945, from Counter-Statement (1931) through The Philosophy of Literary Form (1941). While Burke might have been a late modernist thinker, Crusius shows that Burke actually starts from a position closely akin to such postmodern figures as Michel Foucault and Richard Rorty.
Crusius then examines Burke's work from A Grammar of Motives (1945) up to his last published essays, drawing most heavily on A Rhetoric of Motives, The Rhetoric of Religion, and uncollected essays from the 1970s. This part concerns Burke's contributions to human activities always closely associated with rhetoric-hermeneutics, dialectic, and praxis. Burke's highly developed notion of our species as the "symbol-using animal," argues Crusius, draws together the various strands of his later philosophy—his concern with interpretation, with dialectic and dialogue, with a praxis devoted to awareness and control of the self-deceiving and potentially self-destructive motives inherent in language itself.
Dramatism provides us with a seemingly endless array of stages from which to perform our analysis of human action. By enlarging or reducing the scope of our endeavors, as has been done throughout the present work, we can use the Dramatism method to reveal almost any sort of relationship.
The Legacy of Kenneth Burke
Herbert W. Simons University of Wisconsin Press, 1989 Library of Congress PN75.B8L44 1989 | Dewey Decimal 818.5209
Capturing the lively modernist milieu of Kenneth Burke’s early career in Greenwich Village, where Burke arrived in 1915 fresh from high school in Pittsburgh, this book discovers him as an intellectual apprentice conversing with “the moderns.” Burke found himself in the midst of an avant-garde peopled by Malcolm Cowley, Marianne Moore, Jean Toomer, Katherine Anne Porter, William Carlos Williams, Allen Tate, Hart Crane, Alfred Stieglitz, and a host of other fascinating figures.
Burke himself, who died in 1993 at the age of 96, has been hailed as America’s most brilliant and suggestive critic and the most significant theorist of rhetoric since Cicero. Many schools of thought have claimed him as their own, but Burke has defied classification and indeed has often been considered a solitary, eccentric genius immune to intellectual fashions. But Burke’s formative work of the 1920s, when he first defined himself and his work in the context of the modernist conversation, has gone relatively unexamined.
Here we see Burke living and working with the crowd of poets, painters, and dramatists affiliated with Others magazine, Stieglitz’s “291” gallery, and Eugene O’Neill’s Provincetown Players; the leftists associated with the magazines The Masses and Seven Arts; the Dadaists; and the modernist writers working on literary journals like The Dial, where Burke in his capacity as an associate editor saw T. S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland” into print for the first time and provided other editorial services for Thomas Mann, e.e. cummings, Ezra Pound, and many other writers of note. Burke also met the iconoclasts of the older generation represented by Theodore Dreiser and H. L. Mencken, the New Humanists, and the literary nationalists who founded Contact and The New Republic. Jack Selzer shows how Burke’s own early poems, fiction, and essays emerged from and contributed to the modernist conversation in Greenwich Village. He draws on a wonderfully rich array of letters between Burke and his modernist friends and on the memoirs of his associates to create a vibrant portrait of the young Burke’s transformation from aesthete to social critic.
On Symbols and Society
Kenneth Burke University of Chicago Press, 1989 Library of Congress PN51.B86 1989 | Dewey Decimal 801.95092
Kenneth Burke's innovative use of dramatism and dialectical method have made him a powerful critical force in an extraordinary variety of disciplines—education, philosophy, history, psychology, religion, and others. While most widely acclaimed as a literary critic, Burke has elaborated a perspective toward the study of behavior and society that holds immense significance and rich insights for sociologists. This original anthology brings together for the first time Burke's key writings on symbols and social relations to offer social scientists access to Burke's thought.
In his superb introductory essay, Joseph R. Gusfield traces the development of Burke's approach to human action and its relationship to other similar sources of theory and ideas in sociology; he discusses both Burke's influence on sociologists and the limits of his perspective. Burke regards literature as a form of human behavior—and human behavior as embedded in language. His lifework represents a profound attempt to understand the implications for human behavior based on the fact that humans are "symbol-using animals." As this volume demonstrates, the work that Burke produced from the 1930s through the 1960s stands as both precursor and contemporary key to recent intellectual movements such as structuralism, symbolic anthropology, phenomenological and interpretive sociology, critical theory, and the renaissance of symbolic interaction.
Previously unpublished writings by and about Kenneth Burke plus essays by such Burkean luminaries as Wayne C. Booth, William H. Rueckert, Robert Wess, Thomas Carmichael, and Michael Feehan make the publication of Unending Conversations a significant event in the field of Burke studies and in the wider field of literary criticism and theory.
Editors Greig Henderson and David Cratis Williams have divided their material into three parts: “Dialectics of Expression, Communication, and Transcendence,” “Criticism, Symbolicity, and Tropology,” and “Transcendence and the Theological Motive.”
In the first part, Williams’s textual introduction and Rueckert’s essay analyze the genesis and composition of Burke’s A Symbolic of Motives and Poetics, Dramatistically Considered. Henderson opens part two by showing how these two essays’ concerns with literary form hearken back to Burke’s first book of criticism, Counter-Statement.
Thomas Carmichael discusses Burke’s relationship to thinkers such as Paul de Man, Jacques Derrida, Stanley Fish, Fredric Jameson, Jean-François Lyotard, and Richard Rorty. Wess analyzes the relation between Burke’s dramatistic pentad of act, agent, scene, agency, and purpose and his four master tropes—metaphor, metonymy, synecdoche, and irony.
In the third part, Booth mines his unpublished correspondence with Burke to demonstrate that Burke is a coy theologian. Michael Feehan discusses Burke’s revelation in a 1983 interview that rather than rebounding from a naive kind of Marxism in Permanence and Change, he was rebounding from what he had “learned as a Christian Scientist.”