Rhetoric and Irony: Western Literacy and Western Lies
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