Rhetoric and Irony: Western Literacy and Western Lies
Oxford University Press, 1991 M09 5 - 344 pages
This pathbreaking study integrates the histories of rhetoric, literacy, and literary aesthetics up to the time of Augustine, focusing on Western concepts of rhetoric as dissembling and of language as deceptive that Swearingen argues have received curiously prominent emphasis in Western aesthetics and language theory. Swearingen reverses the traditional focus on rhetoric as an oral agonistic genre and examines it instead as a paradigm for literate discourse. She proposes that rhetoric and literacy have in the West disseminated the interrelated notions that through learning rhetoric individuals can learn to manipulate language and others; that language is an unreliable, manipulable, and contingent vehicle of thought, meaning, and communication; and that literature is a body of pretty lies and beguiling fictions. In a bold concluding chapter Swearingen aligns her thesis concerning early Western literacy and rhetoric with contemporary critical and rhetorical theory; with feminist studies in language, psychology, and culture; and with studies of literacy in multi- and cross-cultural settings.
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Academica Aeschylus appraisals argument Aristotelian Aristotle Aristotle's audience Augustine Augustine's Categories characterization Christa Wolf Christian Cicero classical concepts copula culture debate deception defends defined definition depicted dialectic dialogue diegesis discourse dissembling dissoi logoi Doctrina doxa eiron Empedocles emphasizes epic epistemology eristic ethical fiction fragment genre Gorgias grammar Greek Havelock Heraclitus hermeneutics Ibid interlocutors Interpretation irony kind knowledge language Latin learning linguistic literacy literate literature logic logos maieutic Manichean Manichees meaning mind models modern modes moral not-being notion object ontology opinion oral Orator Oratore ousia parallels Parmenides Phaedrus philosophical Plato poetic poets practice predicate Preface to Plato Preplatonic Protagoras provides reading relationship rhetoricians Scripture secular semantic shaped Socrates Sophist speaker speaking speech statements Stoic style teacher teaching technical rhetoric texts Theaetetus theory things thought tion Topics topoi tradition treatises treatment tropes true truth understanding voice Western words writing written
Page 175 - And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
Page 128 - Hence poetry is something more philosophic and of graver import than history, since its statements are of the nature rather of universals, whereas those of history are singulars.
Page 3 - This is the source from which has sprung the undoubtedly absurd and unprofitable and reprehensible severance between the tongue and the brain, leading to our having one set of professors to teach us to think and another to teach us to speak.
Page 199 - Just as the Egyptians had not only idols and grave burdens which the people of Israel detested and avoided, so also they had vases and ornaments of gold and silver and clothing which the Israelites took with them secretly when they fled, as if to put them to a better use.
Page 252 - Don't you understand I loved him — I loved him — I loved him!' " I pulled myself together and spoke slowly. "'The last word he pronounced was — your name.' "I heard a light sigh and then my heart stood still, stopped dead short by an exulting and terrible cry, by the cry of inconceivable triumph and of unspeakable pain. 'I knew it — I was sure!
Page 55 - Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction
Page 121 - We can now see that a writer must disguise his art and give the impression of speaking naturally and not artificially. Naturalness is persuasive, artificiality is the contrary; for our hearers are prejudiced and think we have some design against them, as if we were mixing their wines for them.