The Elements of Dramatism / Edition 1

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Kenneth Burke was arguably the most important rhetorician and critical theorist of the 20th Century. The Elements of Dramatism is the first pragmatic introduction to the work of Kenneth Burke for those interested in communication and language. This brief paperback focuses on the analytical methods Burke coined as dramatism, which has exerted an enormous influence for many years on people interested in the dynamics of human communication and symbol-use in many areas of study, particularly composition and speech communication. Each chapter includes discussions of key concepts in the context of dramatism and rhetoric, extended applications of these concepts to a variety of rhetorical problems and forms (including literature, photography, and film), and clear guidelines for applying these strategies. Longer applications and illustrations of key concepts are accompanied by readings that elaborate them or serve as sources of analysis. The book makes available some of Burke's most important and accessible discussions and applications of dramatism. For those interested in communication and language

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205334254
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Series: Elements of Composition Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors.

Preface for Students.



I. Dramatism and Rhetoric.

Representative Words.

Gary Larson, The Far Side.

All the Words, a Stage.

Dramatism, Rhetoric, and the Pentad.

On Interpretation.

Kenneth Burke, "All Living Things Are Critics".

Tracking Down Implications.

Identification and Consubstantiality.

Identification and Transformation.

Logomachy: Wars of Words and Nerves.

Cooperation and Competition.

"Road to Victory": The Basis for Dramatism.

The Resources of Ambiguity.

Kenneth Burke, "Introduction: The Five Key Terms of Dramatism".

The Pentad.

The Pentadic Ratios: Scene-Act.

The Scene-Act Ratio: School Violence.


Research and Writing Activities.

Preview of the Following Chapters.

2. The Dramatistic Analysis of Form.

The Writer's Situation.

Burke's Parlor.

Tracking Down Implications.

Piety and Form.

Types of Form.

Syllogistic Progression.

Qualitative Progression.

Repetitive Form.

Conventional Form.

Dramatism on the World's Stage.

Hitler's Polemic.

Kenneth Burke, "The Rhetoric of Hitler's 'Battle'".

Tracking Down Implications.

The Pentadic Ratios: Scene-Agent.

The Scene-Agent Ratio: The Writer as Propagandist.


Research and Writing Activities.

3. Terministic Screens.

Representative Anecdotes.

Scope and Circumference.

Cluster Analysis.

Cluster Analysis: William Carlos Williams's, "The Red Wheelbarrow".

The Image and the Word.

Bryan Singer's The Usual Suspects.

The Pentadic Ratios: Act-Agency.


The Act-Agency Ratios of "Hacktivism".

Civil and Electronic Disobedience.

Henry David Thoreau, "Resistance to Civil Government" (Civil Disobedience).

Tracking Down Implications.


Research and Writing Activities.

4. The Resources of Terminology.

Signs, Signifiers, and Signifieds.

"What Are the Signs of What?"

Entelechy and "Jumping to Conclusions".

The Five Dogs of Meaning.

The Strategies of Dialectic: Merger and Division.

Plato's Gorgias

Tracking Down Implications.

Dialogue and Dialetic.

Plato's Phaedrus.

The Pentadic Ratios: Agent-Purpose.

"Serial Narratives/Serial Murderers": Thomas Harris's Hannibal.

The Rhetoric of Desire.

Thomas Harris, from Hannibal.


Research and Writing Activities.

5. The Public Memory, Spectacle, and Rhetoric.

The Dissociative Memory and "Purposive Forgetting".

Repression, Memory, and Aphasia.

Dramatism and Rhetoric as Ideological Inquiry.


"To Infinity . . . and Beyond!": The Case of Toy Story 2.

The Pentadic Ratios: Scene-Purpose.

Scene-Purpose in Don DeLillo's White House.

Don DeLillo, from White Noise.

Tracking Down Implications.

The Rhetoric of Substance.

Kenneth Burke, "Paradox of Substance".

Tracking Down Implications.


Research and Writing Activities.




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