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Contesting Cultural Rhetorics: Public Discourse and Education, 1890-1900s


reviewed by John M. Heffron - 1996

coverTitle: Contesting Cultural Rhetorics: Public Discourse and Education, 1890-1900s
Author(s): Margaret J. Marshall
Publisher: John Wiley, New York
ISBN: , Pages: , Year:
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In his celebrated essay "Politics and the English Language" (1946), George Orwell lamented the "staleness of imagery" and "lack of precision" of modern prose writing, worrying that its sheer bombast and "ugliness" would debase public discourse and turn politics into propaganda. When the writer "is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not," the function of language, Orwell implied, is no longer to create understanding but to discourage it; no longer to make arguments but to avoid them; and no longer to authenticate the self but to submerge it in an empty contextualism. Rhetoric, as the art and science of persuasion, is a very old form of human activity whose modern expression in anything from advertising to jurisprudence to teaching is practically taken for granted. We do not have to teach rhetoric anymore not because, like Latin and Greek, its forms have become archaic but because its... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 97 Number 3, 1996, p. 489-492
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 1447, Date Accessed: 10/20/2019 10:57:39 PM

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About the Author
  • John Heffron
    Soka University of America, Aliso Viejo, California

 
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