The Perfect Response: Studies of the Rhetorical Personality

Overview

The Perfect Response: Studies of the Rhetorical Personality is a lucid account of the social origins of fluency. In this imaginative study, Gary C. Woodward creates and explains the idea of "the rhetorical personality" using a deft blend of communication theory, social history, and rhetorical criticism. With unusual capacities for expressiveness, persuasiveness, and sensitivity, rhetorical personalities thrive in settings calling for communication that transcends differences and engages other people. They ...

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The Perfect Response: Studies of the Rhetorical Personality

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Overview

The Perfect Response: Studies of the Rhetorical Personality is a lucid account of the social origins of fluency. In this imaginative study, Gary C. Woodward creates and explains the idea of "the rhetorical personality" using a deft blend of communication theory, social history, and rhetorical criticism. With unusual capacities for expressiveness, persuasiveness, and sensitivity, rhetorical personalities thrive in settings calling for communication that transcends differences and engages other people. They typically have a heightened sense of their own persuasive power, a skill for "reading" audiences, and the capacity to function effectively in unfamiliar settings. Each chapter of The Perfect Response probes the nature of these uniquely social persons from a different perspective: the sympathetic characters of a prolific Hollywood filmmaker; the nature of the social isolation in individuals with autism-spectrum disorders; cross-cultural comparisons; and seminal and recent social science research on key benchmarks of rhetorical skill, such as "high self-monitoring," "other-direction," and "the capacity for engagement with others." Focusing on public figures ranging from comedian Steve Martin to political leaders such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, Woodward builds a detailed "conceptual map" for profiling the kinds of individuals who naturally maximize the possibilities of communication in public settings.

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
In this wide-ranging inquiry, Woodward (communication, The College of New Jersey) identifies what he considers significant markers of public persuasion. In seven chapters, the author considers a willingness to engage in public communication with others, self-monitoring, empathy, motivation, adherence to goals, responsiveness, and comfort level as indicators of influence; defines a rhetorical personality as someone who possesses significant numbers of these indicators; discusses autism and the Williams Syndrome (a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with unusual language skills) as arguable evidence that communicative interactions are fragile and unpredictable; and examines the rhetoric of public figures (President Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, George W. Bush) and of the films of James L. Brooks and comedian Steve Martin....A good resource for comprehensive collections in public rhetoric. Summing Up: Recommended.
Choice
In this wide-ranging inquiry, Woodward (communication, The College of New Jersey) identifies what he considers significant markers of public persuasion. In seven chapters, the author considers a willingness to engage in public communication with others, self-monitoring, empathy, motivation, adherence to goals, responsiveness, and comfort level as indicators of influence; defines a rhetorical personality as someone who possesses significant numbers of these indicators; discusses autism and the Williams Syndrome (a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with unusual language skills) as arguable evidence that communicative interactions are fragile and unpredictable; and examines the rhetoric of public figures (President Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, George W. Bush) and of the films of James L. Brooks and comedian Steve Martin....A good resource for comprehensive collections in public rhetoric. Summing Up: Recommended.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Gary C. Woodward is professor of communication studies at The College of New Jersey and author of Center Stage: Media and the Performance of American Politics. Check out the new book website found at http://www.theperfectresponse.com

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

Chapter 1 Introduction: A Conceptual Map of the Rhetorical Personality 1

Chapter 2 Empathy: Finding Ourselves in Others 23

Chapter 3 Saving the World One Person at a Time: The Inclination to Engage 43

Chapter 4 Confirming Our Acceptability: The Impulse for Self-Monitoring 69

Chapter 5 Autism, the Williams Syndrome, and the Rhetoric of Sociality 91

Chapter 6 Finding a Way Through: The Films of James L. Brooks 113

Chapter 7 Lessons from the Political Stage: The Role of the Other in the Rhetorical and Hortatory Styles 135

Selected Bibliography 185

Index 193

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