Kenneth Burke: Rhetoric, Subjectivity, Postmodernism

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Overview

Kenneth Burke, arguably the most important American literary theorist of the twentieth century, helped define the theoretical terrain for contemporary literary and cultural studies. His perspectives were literary and linguistic, but his influences ranged across history, philosophy and the social sciences. In this important and original study Robert Wess traces the trajectory of Burke's long career and situates his work in relation to post-modernity. His study is both an examination of contemporary theories of rhetoric, ideology and the subject, and an explanation of why Burke failed to complete his Motives trilogy. Burke's own critique of the "isolated unique individual" led him to question the possibility of unique individualism, a strategy which anticipated important elements of post-modern concepts of subjectivity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521422581
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2011
  • Series: Literature, Culture, Theory Series , #18
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 286
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
List of abbreviations
1 Ideology as rhetoric 1
2 Counter-Statement: aesthetic humanism 39
3 Permanence and Change: a biological subject of history 55
4 Attitudes toward History: the agon of history 84
5 The Philosophy of Literary Form: history without origin or telos 108
6 A Grammar of Motives: the rhetorical constitution of the subject 136
7 A Rhetoric of Motives: ideological and utopian rhetoric 186
8 The Rhetoric of Religion: history in eclipse 217
Index 255
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