Theoretical topics addressed by 20th-century rhetorical critics. Varieties of rhetorical interpretation, from neo-Aristotelian to reader-response, postmodernist views of metaphor.
How are we persuaded? What is rhetoric? What is rhetorical criticism? What can rhetorical criticism do? How can it help us? In this course, we will explore the potential of rhetorical criticism. You will gain knowledge of rhetorical theory and rhetorical criticism, and you will gain experience and skill in practicing rhetorical criticism. “Consider rhetoric to be the ability to see, in each particular case, the available means of persuasion” (Aristotle). “Is not the art of rhetoric, taken as a whole, an art of leading the soul?” (Plato). “Rhetoric … to study discourse, even the discourse of truth, as rhetorical procedures, as ways of conquering, of producing events, of producing decisions, of producing battles, of producing victories” (Michel Foucault).