Landmark essays on rhetorical criticism

Deliberative, Judicial, and Epideictic," trans.

Landmark essays on rhetorical criticism

Introduction It is not the unambiguity of a word but its ambiguity that constitutes living language. The ambiguity creates the problematic of speech, and it creates its overcoming in an understanding that is not an assimilation but a fruitfulness.

Together, Buber and Kristeva may be said to comprise one tandem among many for situating Bakhtin dialogically, for interpreting his utterances in the context of those Landmark essays on rhetorical criticism he chose to answer, as well as those he invited or provoked.

To situate him thus, of course, precludes our making Bakhtin a thinker so original that his own work somehow managed to escape the dialogic contexts within which it emerged. Dialogue, Bakhtin would remind us, resists the very thing that introductions like this one are sometimes tempted to provide: This is hardly remarkable, considering that over the course of the last three decades, Bakhtin has been claimed not only by structuralists but also by marxists, deconstructionists, feminists, social constructionists, neo-formalists, cultural critics, traditional humanists, and so on.

Such features lend an uncommon pliability to his work, a pliability that entices and frustrates, true, but a pliability that also makes his ideas remarkably susceptible to a range of appropriations.

It is hardly surprising, then, that there seem to be enough Bakhtins for everybody—a fact that renders Bakhtinian scholarship somewhat vulnerable to a charge of faddishness, and yet, at the same time, lends force to his claims for the radical incompleteness of all dialogue.

It is these ambiguities which Bakhtin explores, and which find consistent expression in his work. But seldom in these contexts is actual conversation given much thought beyond its figural suggestiveness.

In contrast, Bakhtin never abandons dialogue to a strictly metaphoric function. Dialogue, for Bakhtin, is a real, concrete quality of social life, heard in the tones and accents of the human voice, embodied in the complicated relationships between characters and authors, in the heteroglossia of contending perspectives, in the travestying discourses of carnival and parody.

Obviously, Bakhtin will ask the large questions regarding how dialogue might help us understand the relations between cultures, across histories, within consciousness.

Indeed, part of the difficulty in grasping Bakhtin derives from the various contexts in which he employs his central term. Sorting through these myriad senses is a problem too complex to attempt here, but it may be useful to sketch out the broad outlines of what Bakhtin has in mind when he deploys his overarching theme.

In a global sense, there is nothing but dialogue—or rather, nothing that means which can exist apart from dialogue. The first sense of the term dialogue, then, might best be referred to as ontological. Being, for Bakhtin, means being in dialogue, since nothing outside of dialogue can exist—at least not for human beings.

For the rest of us, though, dialogue is a condition of our existence: Life is by its very nature dialogic.

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To live means to participate in dialogue: In this dialogue a person participates wholly and throughout his whole life: He invests his entire self in discourse, and this discourse enters into the dialogic fabric of human life, into the world symposium.

Rather, dialogue precedes us and, hence, is a condition we are born into—swaddling us, as it were, long before we utter our individual first word and long after we utter our individual last.

Dialogue has us, at least as much as we have it. A second understanding of dialogue may be termed epistemological.

According to Bakhtin, a dialogic understanding of knowledge rejects formulations which tend to posit a singular mode of knowing derived from a singular perspective. Thus, truth is never found exclusively in its traditional whereabouts, not above us, outside us, inside us, or behind us.

Landmark essays on rhetorical criticism

What these normative conceptions of knowledge aspire to—whether they derive from theological imagery or empiricism, Romanticism or the wisdom of received discourses—what all these approaches vie for are the spoils of indisputability, the booty which accrues to those who win the prized last word on our common inquiries.

Each posits, in other words, a finalized version of what Introduction xv the truth is, and thus each aims ultimately to preclude authentic exchange. The problem, of course, is that finalized truths render dialogue unnecessary. That being the case, where does Bakhtin locate a dialogic conception of truth?

Bakhtin situates it in the territory between us, thereby making our knowledge of the true both a function and product of social relations.Latin American Studies is a gateway to the region and its cultures, politics and history.

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Landmark Essays on Rhetorical Criticism / Edition 1 This book is an anthology of landmark essays in rhetorical criticism. In historical usage, a landmark marks a path or a boundary; as a metaphor in social and intellectual history, landmark signifies some act or event that marks a significant achievement or turning point in the progress or.

Introduction. Social-scientific criticism is the stage in the exegetical process that brings scrutiny to bear on the religious, geographical, historical, economic, social codes, and cultural values operative within the world of early Christianity.

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Exegesis: Rhetorical Criticism (C. Murphy, SCU)