By Kenneth Burke
As critic, Kenneth Burke's preoccupations have been first and foremost only esthetic and literary; yet after Counter-Statement (1931), he started to discriminate a "rhetorical" or persuasive part in literature, and thereupon turned a thinker of language and human conduct.
In A Grammar of Motives (1945) and A Rhetoric of Motives (1950), Burke's notion of "symbolic action" comes into its personal: all human activities--linguisitc or extra-linguistic--are modes of symbolizing; guy is outlined because the symbol-using (and -misusing) animal. The critic's task turns into one of many reading human symbolizing at any place he unearths it, with the purpose of illuminating human motivation. therefore the succeed in of the literary critic now extends to the social and ethical.
A Grammar of Motives is a "methodical meditation" on such complicated linguistic types as performs, tales, poems, theologies, metaphysical structures, political philosophies, constitutions. A Rhetoric of Motives expands the sector to human methods of persuasion and id. Persuasion, as Burke sees it, "ranges from the bluntest quest of virtue, as in revenues advertising or propaganda, via courtship, social etiquette, schooling, and the sermon, to a 'pure' shape that delights within the means of charm for itself by myself, with out ulterior function. And id levels from the flesh presser who, addressing an viewers of farmers, says, 'I was once a farm boy myself,' in the course of the mysteries of social prestige, to the mystic's religious id with the resources of all being."
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Extra info for A Rhetoric of Motives
The appropriate time for such oratory could then be called the present in the sense that the appea1 was directed to the very presence of the words and speaker themselves, not for some ulterior purpose, as with convincing a jury about a past act or moving an assembly to make a decision about the future, but purely because it aimed to give delight in the exercise of eloquence as such. We can see the appeal of subject matter merging with the appeal of diction in and for itself when Cicero selected toil and personal danger as good themes for panegyric on the ground that they get the readiest reception, since they offer "the richest opportunities for praise" and can be discussed "most ornately" (ornatissime).
Formally, you will find yourself swinging along with the succession o£ antitheses, even though you may not agree with the proposition that is being presented in this form. Or it may even be an opponent's proposition which you resent-yet for the duration of the statement itself you might "help him out" to the extent of yielding to the formal development, surrendering to its symmetry as such. Of course, the more violent your original resistance to the proposition, the weaker will be your degree of "surrender" by "collaborating" with the form.
Of al1 rhetorical devices, the most thoroughgoing is amplification (Greek, auxesis). It seems to cover a wide range of meanings, since one can amplify by extension, by intensification, and by dignification. The last two kinds have an opposite: diminution (meiosis). But as extension, expatiation, the saying of something in various ways until it increases in persuasiveness by the sheer accumulation, amplification can come to name a purely poetic process of development, such systematic exploitation of a theme as we find in lyrics built about a refrain.
A Rhetoric of Motives by Kenneth Burke