Kenneth Burke

Kenneth Duva Burke (May 5, 1897 – November 19, 1993) was an American literary theorist, as well as poet, essayist, and novelist, who wrote on 20th-century philosophy, aesthetics, criticism, and rhetorical theory.[1] As a literary theorist, Burke was best known for his analyses based on the nature of knowledge. Furthermore, he was one of the first individuals to stray away from more traditional rhetoric and view literature as "symbolic action."

Burke was unorthodox, concerning himself not only with literary texts, but with the elements of the text that interacted with the audience: social, historical, political background, author biography, etc.[2]

For his career, Burke has been praised by The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism as "one of the most unorthodox, challenging, and theoretically sophisticated American-born literary critics of the twentieth century." His work continues to be discussed by rhetoricians and philosophers.[3]

Kenneth Duva Burke
Kenneth Burke
BornMay 5, 1897
DiedNovember 19, 1993 (aged 96)
Known forLiterary theorist and philosopher

Personal history

He was born on May 5 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Peabody High School, where his friend Malcolm Cowley was also a student. While he attended Ohio State University to pursue courses in French, German, Greek, and Latin, he later dropped out to move closer to New York City where he enrolled at Columbia University. During his time there, he was a member of the Boar's Head Society.[4] Due to the constraining learning environment, however, Burke also left Columbia, never receiving a college diploma.[5] In Greenwich Village he kept company with avant-garde writers such as Hart Crane, Malcolm Cowley, Gorham Munson, and later Allen Tate.[6] Raised by a Christian Science mother, Burke later became an avowed agnostic.

In 1919, he married Lily Mary Batterham, with whom he had three daughters: the late feminist, Marxist anthropologist Eleanor Leacock (1922–1987); musician (Jeanne) Elspeth Chapin Hart (b. 1920); and writer and poet France Burke (b. ~1925). He would later marry her sister Elizabeth Batterham in 1933 and have two sons, Michael and Anthony. Burke served as the editor of the modernist literary magazine The Dial in 1923, and as its music critic from 1927-1929. Kenneth himself was an avid player of the piano. He received the Dial Award in 1928 for distinguished service to American literature. He was the music critic of The Nation from 1934–1936, and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1935.[7]

His work on criticism was a driving force for placing him back into the university spotlight. As a result, he was able to teach and lecture at various colleges, including Bennington College, while continuing his literary work. Many of Kenneth Burke's personal papers and correspondence are housed at Pennsylvania State University's Special Collections Library. However, despite his stint lecturing at Universities, Burke was an autodidact and a self-taught scholar.[8]

In later life, his New Jersey farm was a popular summer retreat for his extended family, as reported by his grandson Harry Chapin, a contemporary popular song artist. He died of heart failure at his home in Andover, New Jersey.[9]

Persuasions and influences

Burke, like many twentieth century theorists and critics, was heavily influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche. He was a lifelong interpreter of Shakespeare and was also significantly influenced by Thorstein Veblen. He resisted being pigeonholed as a follower of any philosophical or political school of thought, and had a notable and very public break with the Marxists who dominated the literary criticism set in the 1930s.

Burke corresponded with a number of literary critics, thinkers, and writers over the years, including William Carlos Williams, Malcolm Cowley, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, Ralph Ellison, Albert Murray, Katherine Anne Porter, Jean Toomer, Hart Crane, and Marianne Moore.[10] Later thinkers who have acknowledged Burke's influence include Harold Bloom, Stanley Cavell, J. Hillis Miller, Susan Sontag (his student at the University of Chicago), Erving Goffman,[11] Geoffrey Hartman, Edward Said, René Girard, Fredric Jameson, Michael Calvin McGee, Dell Hymes and Clifford Geertz. Burke was one of the first prominent American critics to appreciate and articulate the importance of Thomas Mann and André Gide; Burke produced the first English translation of "Death in Venice", which first appeared in The Dial in 1924. It is now considered to be much more faithful and explicit than H. T. Lowe-Porter's more famous 1930 translation.

Burke's political engagement is evident—A Grammar of Motives takes as its epigraph, ad bellum purificandum (toward the purification of war).

American literary critic Harold Bloom singled out Burke's Counterstatement and A Rhetoric of Motives for inclusion in his "Western Canon".

Beyond his contemporary influences, Burke took Aristotle's teachings into account while developing his theories on rhetoric. A significant source of his ideas is Aristotle's Rhetoric. Drawing from this work, Burke oriented his writing about language specifically to its social context. Similarly, he studied language as involving more than logical discourse and grammatical structure because he recognized that the social context of language cannot be reduced to principles of pure reason.

Burke draws a line between a Platonic and a more contemporary view of rhetoric, described as "old rhetoric" and "new rhetoric" respectively. The former is defined by persuasion by any means, while the latter is concerned with "identification." In Burke's use of the word identification he is describing the process by which the speaker associates herself/himself with certain groups, such as a target audience. His idea of "identification" is similar to ethos of classical rhetoric, but it also explains the use of logos and pathos in an effort to create a lasting impression on the auditors. This theory differs from ethos most significantly in Burke's conception of artistic communication that he believes is defined by eloquence, which is "simply the end of art and therefore its essence." The use of rhetoric conveys aesthetic and social competence which is why a text can rarely be reduced to purely scientific or political implications, according to Burke. Rhetoric forms our social identity by a series of events usually based on linguistics, but more generally by the use of any symbolic figures. He uses the metaphor of a drama to articulate this point, where interdependent characters speak and communicate with each other while allowing the others to do the same. Also, Burke describes identification as a function of persuasive appeal.[12]

Burke defined rhetoric as the "use of words by human agents to form attitudes or to induce actions in other human agents." His definition builds on the preexisting ideas of how people understand the meaning of rhetoric. Burke describes rhetoric as using words to move people or encourage action. Furthermore, he described rhetoric as being almost synonymous with persuasion (A Rhetoric of Motives, 1950). Burke argued that rhetoric works to bring about change in people. This change can be evident through attitude, motives or intentions as Burke stated but it can also be physical. Calling for help is an act of rhetoric. Rhetoric is symbolic action that calls people to physical action. Ultimately, rhetoric and persuasion become interchangeable words according to Burke. Other scholars have similar definitions of rhetoric. Aristotle argued that rhetoric was a tool for persuading people (but also for gaining information). He stated that rhetoric had the power to persuade people if the speaker knew how. One way in which Aristotle formed his arguments was through syllogism. Another example of how rhetoric was used to persuade was deliberate discourse. Here, politicians and lawyers used speech to pass or reject policies. Sally Gearhart states that rhetoric uses persuasion to induce change. Although she argues persuasion is violent and harmful, she uses it as a tool herself to bring about change.


The political and social power of symbols was central to Burke's scholarship throughout his career. He felt that through understanding "what is involved when we say what people are doing and why they are doing it", we could gain insight into the cognitive basis for our perception of the world. For Burke, the way in which we decide to narrate gives importance to specific qualities over others. He believed that this could tell us a great deal about how we see the world.


Burke called the social and political rhetorical analysis "dramatism" and believed that such an approach to language analysis and language usage could help us understand the basis of conflict, the virtues and dangers of cooperation, and the opportunities of identification and consubstantiality.

Burke defined the rhetorical function of language as "a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols." His definition of humanity states that "man" is "the symbol using, making, and mis-using animal, inventor of the negative, separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making, goaded by the spirit of hierarchy, and rotten with perfection."[13][14] For Burke, some of the most significant problems in human behavior resulted from instances of symbols using human beings rather than human beings using symbols.

Burke proposed that when we attribute motives to others, we tend to rely on ratios between five elements: act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose. This has become known as the dramatistic pentad. The pentad is grounded in his dramatistic method, which considers human communication as a form of action. Dramatism "invites one to consider the matter of motives in a perspective that, being developed from the analysis of drama, treats language and thought primarily as modes of action" (Grammar of Motives xxii). Burke pursued literary criticism not as a formalistic enterprise but rather as an enterprise with significant sociological impact; he saw literature as "equipment for living," offering folk wisdom and common sense to people and thus guiding the way they lived their lives.

Rebirth Cycle

Through the use of dramatism, one can ultimately utilize Burke's Rebirth Cycle. This cycle encompasses three distinct phases, which include: Guilt/Pollution, Purification, and Redemption. Burke introduced the phases and their functionality through the use of a poem. The poem follows, Here are the steps In the Iron Law of History That welds Order and Sacrifice Order leads to Guilt (For who can keep commandments!) Guilt needs Redemption (for who would not be cleaned!) Redemption needs Redeemer (which is to say, a Victim!) Order Through Guilt To Victimage (hence: Cult of the Kill)..." (p. 4-5) [15] Burke's poem provides a basis of for the interactions of the three phases. Order's introduction into the life of human enables the creation of guilt. In order to alleviate the results produced by the creation of Guilt, redemption is necessitated. Through the abstraction of redemption, Burke leads to the completion of the cycle.

Pollution initially constitutes actions taken by an individual that result in the creation of Guilt. The creation of Guilt occurs upon the rejection of a hierarchy. Challenges to relationships, changes in power, and appropriateness of behaviors to change are each contributing factors toward the formation of Guilt.[16] It is appropriate to draw parallels between the creation of Guilt, and the concept of original sin. Original sin constitutes "... an offense that cannot be avoided or a condition in which all people share".[17] Guilt represents the initial action that strips a situation of its perceived purity. The establishment of Guilt necessarily leads to the need to undergo purification to cleanse the individual affected by its recognition. Purification is thus accomplished through two forms of "ritual purification." Mortification and victimage represent the available avenues of purification

Stratification within society created by hierarchies allows for marginalization within societies. Marginalization thus is a leading factor in the creation of Guilt, and leads to the need for mortification. Burke stated, "In an emphatic way, mortification is the exercising of oneself in 'virtue'; it is a systematic way of saying no to Disorder, or obediently saying yes to Order".[18] Mortification allows an individual's self-sacrifice which consequently enables them to rid themselves of impurities. Purification will only be reached, if it is equal to an individual's degree of guilt. If mortification cannot be reached, individuals will ultimately be forced to project, "his conflict upon a scapegoat, by 'passing the buck,' by seeking a sacrificial vessel upon which he can vent, as from without, a turmoil that is actually within".[19] Sacrificial vessels allow for the extermination of an individual's Guilt while enabling them to remain virtuous. Victimage is the second form of ritual purification. Burke highlights society's need to rectify division within its ranks. He contended that "People so dislike the idea of division, their dislike can easily be turned against the man or group who would so much as name it, let alone proposing to act upon it".[20] Victimage allows for the creation of a scapegoat that serves as a depository of impurities in order to protect against entities that are alien to a particular society. The scapegoat takes on the sins of the impure, thus allowing redemption for the Guilty party. Unfortunately, through the course of these actions the scape goat is harnessed with the sins of the Guilty.

Redemption is reached through one of two options. Tragic redemption revolves around the idea that guilt combines with the principles of perfection and substitution in order that victimage can be utilized. This can be viewed as the "guilty is removed from the rhetorical community through either scapegoating or mortification".[21] Comic enlightenment is the second form of redemption. This option allows the sins of the guilty to be adopted by Society as a whole, ultimately making Society guilty by association.

Terministic screen

Another key concept for Burke is the Terministic screen—a set of symbols that becomes a kind of screen or grid of intelligibility through which the world makes sense to us. Here Burke offers rhetorical theorists and critics a way of understanding the relationship between language and ideology. Language, Burke thought, doesn't simply "reflect" reality; it also helps select reality as well as deflect reality. In Language as Symbolic Action (1966), he writes, "Even if any given terminology is a reflection of reality, by its very nature as a terminology it must be a selection of reality; and to this extent must function also as a deflection of reality.[22] Burke describes terministic screens as reflections of reality—we see these symbols as things that direct our attention to the topic at hand. For example, photos of the same object with different filters each direct the viewer's attention differently, much like how different subjects in academia grab the attention differently. Burke states, "We must use terministic screens, since we can't say anything without the use of terms; whatever terms we use, they necessarily constitute a corresponding kind of screen; and any such screen necessarily directs the attention to one field rather than another." Burke drew not only from the works of Shakespeare and Sophocles, but from films and radio that were important to pop culture, because they were teeming with "symbolic and rhetorical ingredients." We as a people can be cued to accept the screen put in front of us, and mass culture such as TV and websites can be to blame for this. Media today has altered terministic screens, or as Richard Toye wrote in his book Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction, the "linguistic filters which cause us to see situations in particular fashions." [23][24]

Principal works

In "Definition of Man", the first essay of his collection Language as Symbolic Action (1966), Burke defined humankind as a "symbol using animal" (p. 3). This definition of man, he argued, means that "reality" has actually "been built up for us through nothing but our symbol system" (p. 5). Without our encyclopedias, atlases, and other assorted reference guides, we would know little about the world that lies beyond our immediate sensory experience. What we call "reality," Burke stated, is actually a "clutter of symbols about the past combined with whatever things we know mainly through maps, magazines, newspapers, and the like about the present . . . a construct of our symbol systems" (p. 5). College students wandering from class to class, from English literature to sociology to biology to calculus, encounter a new reality each time they enter a classroom; the courses listed in a university's catalogue "are in effect but so many different terminologies" (p. 5). It stands to reason then that people who consider themselves to be Christian, and who internalize that religion's symbol system, inhabit a reality that is different from the one of practicing Buddhists, or Jews, or Muslims. The same would hold true for people who believe in the tenets of free market capitalism or socialism, Freudian psychoanalysis or Jungian depth psychology, as well as mysticism or materialism. Each belief system has its own vocabulary to describe how the world works and what things mean, thus presenting its adherents with a specific reality (no page reference).

Burke's poetry appears in four collections: Book of Moments (1955), Collected Poems 1915–1967 (1968), the posthumously published The Late Poems: 1968-1993 Attitudinizings Verse-wise, While Fending for One's Selph, and in a Style Somewhat Artificially Colloquial (2005), and Here & Elsewhere: The Collected Fiction of Kenneth Burke (2005).

His other principal works are

  • Counter-Statement (1931)
  • "Towards a Better Life" (1932), Googlebooks preview, pp. 25–233 not shown.
  • Permanence and Change (1935)
  • Attitudes Toward History (1937)
  • The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle" (1939)
  • Philosophy of Literary Form (1941)
  • A Grammar of Motives (1945)
  • A Rhetoric of Motives (1950)
  • Linguistic Approaches to Problems of Education (1955)
  • The Rhetoric of Religion (1961)
  • Language As Symbolic Action (1966)
  • Dramatism and Development (1972): a description of the contents of the two part lecture devoted to biological, psychological and sociocultural phenomena
  • Here and Elsewhere (2005)
  • Essays Toward a Symbolic of Motives (2006)
  • Kenneth Burke on Shakespeare (2007)
  • Full list of his works from The Journal of the Kenneth Burke Society

He also wrote the song "One Light in a Dark Valley," later recorded by his grandson Harry Chapin.[3]

Burke's most notable correspondence is collected in:

  • Jay, Paul, editor, The Selected Correspondence of Kenneth Burke and Malcolm Cowley, 1915-1981, New York: Viking, 1988, ISBN 0-670-81336-2
  • East, James H., editor, The Humane Particulars: The Collected Letters of William Carlos Williams and Kenneth Burke, Columbia, USC, 2004


Kenneth Burke was awarded the National Medal for Literature at the American Book Awards in 1981. According to the New York Times, April 20, 1981, 'The $15,000 award, endowed in memory of the late Harold Guinzberg, founder of the Viking Press, honors a living American writer for a distinguished and continuing contribution to American letters. '


  1. ^ Richard Toye, Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  2. ^ "Kenneth Burke." Encyclopædia Britannica. [1] Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013.
  3. ^ "Kenneth Burke." Encyclopædia Britannica. [2] Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013.
  4. ^ Wolin, Ross (2001). The Rhetorical Imagination of Kenneth Burke. University of South Carolina Press. Retrieved 6 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Burke, Kenneth Duva." Edited by Bekah Shaia Dickstein, 2004.
  6. ^ Selzer, Jack. Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village: Conversing with the Moderns, 1915–1931. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996.
  7. ^ Twentieth Century Authors: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature, edited by Stanley J. Kunitz and Howard Haycraft, New York, The H. W. Wilson Company, 1942.
  8. ^ "Letters from Kenneth Burke to William H. Rueckert, 1959-198", edited by William H. Rueckert, Indiana, Parlor Press LLC, 2003.
  9. ^ "KENNETH BURKE, 96 PHILOSOPHER, WRITER ON LANGUAGE", Boston Globe, November 22, 1993. Accessed July 16, 2008. "Kenneth Burke, a philosopher who was influential in American literary circles, has died. He was 96. Mr. Burke died Friday of heart failure at his home in Andover, N.J."
  10. ^ "List of Correspondents in Kenneth Burke Papers", Kenneth Burke Papers, Special Collections Library, Pennsylvania State University.
  11. ^ Mitchell, J. N. (1978). Social Exchange, Dramaturgy and Ethnomethodology: Toward a Paradigmatic Synthesis. New York: Elsevier.
  12. ^ Hanson, Gregory. "Kenneth Burke's Rhetorical Theory within the Construction of the Enthnography of Speaking."
  13. ^ Burke, Kenneth. "Definition of Man." The Hudson Review 16 4 (1963/1964): 491-514
  14. ^ Coe, Richard M. "Defining Rhetoric—and Us: A Meditation on Burke's Definition." Composition Theory for the Postmodern Classroom. Eds. Olson, Gary A. and Sidney I. Dobrin. Albany: SUNY Press, 1994. 332-44.
  15. ^ Burke, Kenneth. The Rhetoric of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961. Print.
  16. ^ Rybacki, Karyn & Rybacki, Donald. Communication Criticism: Approaches and Genres. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1991. Print.
  17. ^ Foss, Sonja K., Foss, Karen A., and Trapp, Robert. Contemporary Perspectives on Rhetoric. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2014. Print.
  18. ^ Burke, Kenneth. The Rhetoric of Religion. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1961. Print.
  19. ^ Burke, Kennth. A Rhetoric of Motives. Berkley: University of California Press, 1969. Print.
  20. ^ Burke, Kenneth"The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle."" Readings in Rhetorical Criticism. Ed. Carl R. Burgchardt. State College: STRATA Publishing, Inc. 2010. 238-253.
  21. ^ Borchers, Timothy. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction, Long Grove: Waveland Press, 2006. Print.
  22. ^ Bizzell; Herzberg. Patricia Bizzell and Bruce Herzberg (eds.). The Rhetorical Tradition (2 ed.). pp. 1340–47. |access-date= requires |url= (help)CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  23. ^ Killian, Justin; Larson, Sean; Emanuelle Wessels. "Language as Symbolic Action". University of Minnesota. Retrieved 2014-02-19.
  24. ^ Toye, Richard (2013). Rhetoric: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. pp. 71–73. ISBN 978-0-19-965136-8.

External links

1966 in philosophy

1966 in philosophy

1993 in philosophy

1993 in philosophy

Definition of man

Definition of Man, also known as the Definition of Human, originated from a summary essay of Kenneth Burke (1897–1993) which he included in his 1966 work, Language as Symbolic Action. Burke's work in communication has spanned many fields and focuses primarily on rhetoric. Perhaps he is best known for his theory of Dramatism, wherein he characterizes life to not just reflect or be like a drama but rather that life is drama.


Dramatism, an interpretive communication studies theory, was developed by Kenneth Burke as a tool for analyzing human relationships. In this theory, our lives are as if on a stage, setting us individuals as actors on that stage as a way to understand human motives and relations. Burke discusses two important ideas – that life is drama, and the ultimate motive of rhetoric is the purging of guilt. Burke recognized guilt as the base of human emotions and motivations for action. As cited in A Note on Burke on "Motive", the author recognized the importance of "motive" in Burke's work. And in Kenneth Burke's concept of motives in rhetorical theory, the authors mentioned that Burke believes that when guilty "combined with other constructs, describes the totality of the compelling force within an event which explains why the event took place."To understand people's movement and intentions, the theorist sets up the Five Dramatistic Pentad strategy for viewing life, not as life itself, by comparing each social unit involved in human activities as five elements of drama – act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose, to answer the empirical question of how persons explain their actions, and to find the ultimate motivations of human activities.

Dramaturgy (sociology)

Dramaturgy is a sociological perspective commonly used in microsociological accounts of social interaction in everyday life. The term was first adapted into sociology from the theatre by Erving Goffman, who developed most of the related terminology and ideas in his 1959 book, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Kenneth Burke, whom Goffman would later acknowledge as an influence, had earlier presented his notions of dramatism in 1945, which in turn derives from Shakespeare. However, the fundamental difference between Burke's and Goffman's view is that Burke believed that life was in fact theatre, whereas Goffman viewed theatre as a metaphor. If we imagine ourselves as directors observing what goes on in the theatre of everyday life, we are doing what Goffman called dramaturgical analysis, the study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance.In dramaturgical sociology it is argued that the elements of human interactions are dependent upon time, place, and audience. In other words, to Goffman, the self is a sense of who one is, a dramatic effect emerging from the immediate scene being presented. Goffman forms a theatrical metaphor in defining the method in which one human being presents itself to another based on cultural values, norms, and beliefs. Performances can have disruptions (actors are aware of such), but most are successful. The goal of this presentation of self is acceptance from the audience through carefully conducted performance. If the actor succeeds, the audience will view the actor as he or she wants to be viewed.A dramaturgical action is a social action that is designed to be seen by others and to improve one's public self-image. In addition to Erving Goffman, this concept has been used by Jürgen Habermas and Harold Garfinkel, among others.

Gorham Munson

Gorham Bockhaven Munson (May 26, 1896 – August 15, 1969) was an American literary critic.

Gorham was born in Amityville, New York to Hubert Barney Munson and Carrie Louise Morrow. He received his B.A. degree in 1917 from Wesleyan University, where he became a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon. He married Elizabeth Hurwitz on April 2, 1921, in Brooklyn. Gorham died on August 15, 1969 at Hartford, Connecticut, and is buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Camden, Maine.

Gorham became a part of the Greenwich Village scene of avant-garde writers. In 1922 he founded and edited, with Matthew Josephson (August 1922-January 1923) and Kenneth Burke (January–September 1923) as co-editors, the eight issues of the literary review Secession (spring 1922- April 1924). Its contributors included Malcolm Cowley, Hart Crane, E. E. Cummings, Marianne Moore, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams and Yvor Winters.

He joined the faculty of The New School in 1927 and spent the remainder of his career as an academic.Who's Who in America (Volume V, 1969–73) lists Gorham as author of twelve books and three others on which he collaborated or was the editor. He was also a free-lance journalist whose articles appeared in Saturday Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Yale Review, New York Evening Post Literary Review and Commonweal.

Gregory Clark (rhetorician)

Gregory Clark (born 1950 in Provo, Utah) is an American scholar and teacher working in rhetorical studies and American cultural criticism. His project is both theoretical and critical, developing concepts of how influence works that he then uses to study capacities for influence inherent in American cultural practices.His theoretical project centers on an ongoing exploration of rhetorical aesthetics: ways that rhetoric works through aesthetic means and ways that aesthetic encounters do rhetorical work. Clark's primary resource for this work is the work of Kenneth Burke. His critical project has examined early American literature and oratory, American landscapes, and now is focusing on American music in order to trace ways the experiences they provide shape American identity. In 2015 he began an ongoing project pianist and composer, Marcus Roberts, to teach and demonstrate democratic practices of personal and civic interaction through the model of jazz music. [1]

Clark is Professor of English [2] at Brigham Young University where he has led the American Studies and University Writing programs and chaired the English Department and served as associate dean in the College of Humanities. He teaches courses in rhetorical theory, composition theory, and rhetoric and leadership. He has also taught periodically in the graduate program in rhetoric and writing at [[University of Utah][3].

Gregory Clark has been a leader in the Rhetoric Society of America, serving as a member of the Board (1996-1998), Editor of Rhetoric Society Quarterly (2000–2007), and Executive Director (2008-2012). In July 2016 he became President [4].

In 2011 Gregory Clark was appointed as the inaugural fellow of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem [5]. In 2012 he was awarded the University Professorship at Brigham Young University.

He and his wife have three daughters, and seven grandchildren.

Kenneth Burke (hurler)

Kenneth Burke (born 1984) is an Irish hurler who played as a left wing-forward for the Galway senior hurling team.An All-Ireland-winning captain in the under-21 grade, Burke made his first appearance for the senior team during the 2003 National League and became a regular member of the team over the next few seasons. During that time he failed to claim any honours at senior level. His brother, David, also plays hurling for Galway.

At club level Burke plays with the St Thomas' club.

Language As Symbolic Action

Language As Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature and Method is a book by Kenneth Burke, published in 1966 by the University of California Press. As indicated by the title, the book, Burke's 16th published work, consists of “many of Burke's essays which have appeared in widely diverse periodicals” and has thus been regarded as one of the most significant resources for studying and comprehending Burke’s ideas.

List of works in critical theory

This is a list of important and seminal works in the field of critical theory.

Otto Maria Carpeaux

História da Literatura Ocidental, 8 vol. (Portuguese, 1959–66)

M. H. Abrams

The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition

Theodor Adorno

Aesthetic Theory

Negative Dialectics

Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer

Dialectic of Enlightenment

Louis Althusser

For Marx

Lenin and Philosophy

Erich Auerbach

Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature

Mikhail Bakhtin

Discourse in the Novel

Rabelais and his World

Roland Barthes

Image, Music, Text


Jean Baudrillard

The Perfect Crime

Simulation and Simulacra

Walter Benjamin


The Origin of German Tragic Drama

Homi K. Bhabha

The Location of Culture

Pierre Bourdieu

La distinction

Kenneth Burke

A Rhetoric of Motives

A Grammar of Motives

John Brannigan

New Historicism and Cultural Materialism

Cleanth Brooks

The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry

Sean Burke

The Death and Return of the Author

Judith Butler

Bodies That Matter

Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity

Cathy Caruth

Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Biographia Literaria

Jonathan Culler

Structuralist Poetics

The Pursuit of Signs

Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction

Gilles Deleuze

Difference and Repetition

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (pt.1) and A Thousand Plateaus (pt.2)

Jacques Derrida

Of Grammatology

Writing and Difference

Peter Dews

The Limits of Disenchantment

The Logic of Disintigration

Terry Eagleton

Marxism and Literary Criticism

The Idea of Culture

Antony Easthope

The Unconscious

William Empson

Seven Types of Ambiguity

Some Versions of Pastoral

The Structure of Complex Words

Norman Fairclough

Language and Power

Critical Discourse Analysis

Frantz Fanon

Black Skins, White Masks

Stanley Fish

Is There a Text in this Class?

Northrop Frye

Anatomy of Criticism

Gerald Graff

Literature Against Itself

Jürgen Habermas

Legitimation Crisis

The Theory of Communicative Action, volumes 1 & 2

The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity

Wolfgang Iser

The Act of Reading: a Theory of Aesthetic Response

Leonard Jackson

The Poverty of Structuralism

Fredric Jameson

The Political Unconscious

Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

The Prison-House of Language

Frank Kermode

Romantic Image

Julia Kristeva

Desire in Language

Powers of Horror

Jacques Lacan


The Seminars

F.R. Leavis

The Great Tradition

Ania Loomba


Herbert Marcuse

Reason and Revolution. Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory

Eros and Civilization

Soviet Marxism. A Critical Analysis

One-Dimensional Man

Toril Moi

Sexual/Textual Politics

I.A. Richards

Practical Criticism: A Study of Literary Judgement

Principles of Literary Criticism

K.K. Ruthven

Critical Assumptions

Edward Said

Culture and Imperialism

Orientalism (1978)

Jean-Paul Sartre

What Is Literature? (1947)

Ferdinand de Saussure

Cours de linguistique générale (posthumously 1916)

Alfred Schmidt

The Concept of Nature in Marx (1962)

Zur Idee der Kritischen Theorie (German, 1974)

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Between Men

Epistemology of the Closet

Susan Sontag

Against Interpretation

Styles of Radical Will

Under the Sign of Saturn

Where The Stress Falls

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

"Can the Subaltern Speak?"

In Other Worlds

Raymond Tallis

Not Saussure

Scott Wilson

Cultural Materialism

W.K. Wimsatt

The Verbal Icon

Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own

Slavoj Žižek

The Sublime Object of Ideology

The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology

Logology (theology)

In theology, logology deals with the verbal nature of doctrines in suggesting a further possibility that there may be analogies between "logology" and theology. According to literary theorist Kenneth Burke, logology works through the forms of religious language and its functions in the political sphere when rhetoric acts as a symbolic action. If it is true that language is symbolic, then speech is the result of man acting as a symbol-using animal, making it necessary to understand that logology can also be defined as the study of "words about words".In rhetoric, logology focuses not in finding the truth or falseness of a statement or phrase, but rather why that particular word or string of words was chosen and how those choices influenced the way those words were interpreted and understood by the receiver. There is a belief that there is an analogy between the words chosen and the word that those words express.For example, if theology is discourse concerning God, then there is a difference between "God" and the word "God". In relating the definition of logology to the term "theology", it then becomes clear that the correct meaning of theology is not "words about God" but instead "words about the word God".

Modern rhetoric

Modern rhetoric has gone through many changes since the age of ancient Rome and Greece to fit the societal demands of the time. Kenneth Burke, who is largely credited for defining the notion of modern rhetoric, described modern rhetoric as, "Rooted in an essential function of language itself, a function that is wholly realistic, and is continually born anew; the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols." Burke’s theory of rhetoric directed attention to the division between classical and modern rhetoric. The intervention of outside academic movements, such as structuralism, semiotics, and critical theory, made important contributions to a modern sense of rhetorical studies.

Pro-war rhetoric

Pro-war rhetoric is rhetoric or propaganda designed to convince its audience that war is necessary. The two main analytical approaches to pro-war rhetoric were founded by Ronald Reid, a Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Robert Ivie, a Professor of Rhetoric and Public Communication and Culture at Indiana University (Bloomington). Reid's framework originated from inductively studying propaganda. Ivie uses a deductive approach based on the work of Kenneth Burke, claiming that "a people strongly committed to the ideal of peace, but simultaneously faced with the reality of war, must believe that the fault for any such disruption of their ideal lies with others" (Ivie 279).


Scapegoating is the practice of singling out a person or group for unmerited blame and consequent negative treatment. Scapegoating may be conducted by individuals against individuals (e.g. "he did it, not me!"), individuals against groups (e.g., "I couldn't see anything because of all the tall people"), groups against individuals (e.g., "Jane was the reason our team didn't win"), and groups against groups.

A scapegoat may be an adult, child, sibling, employee, peer, ethnic, political or religious group, or country. A whipping boy, identified patient or "fall guy" are forms of scapegoat.

Sociological criticism

Sociological criticism is literary criticism directed to understanding (or placing) literature in its larger social context; it codifies the literary strategies that are employed to represent social constructs through a sociological methodology. Sociological criticism analyzes both how the social functions in literature and how literature works in society. This form of literary criticism was introduced by Kenneth Burke, a 20th-century literary and critical theorist, whose article "Literature As Equipment for Living" outlines the specification and significance of such a critique.

Sociological criticism is influenced by New Criticism; however, it adds a sociological element as found with critical theory (Frankfurt School), and considers art as a manifestation of society, one that contains metaphors and references directly applicable to the existing society at the time of its creation. According to Kenneth Burke, works of art, including literature, "are strategic namings of situations" (Adams, 942) that allow the reader to better understand, and "gain a sort of control" (Adams, 942) over societal happenings through the work of art.

This complicates the basic trend of New Criticism which simply calls for a close textual reading without considering affective response or the author's intentions. While Burke also avoids affective response and authorial intention, he specifically considers pieces of art and literature as systematic reflections of society and societal behavior. He understands the way in which these artworks achieve this to be strategically employed through the work, and he therefore suggests the standardization of the methods used by the artists and authors so as to be able to consider works of art within a social context.

Sour Grapes (poetry collection)

Sour Grapes: a book of poems is an early work by William Carlos Williams. Published in 1921, the collection includes poems such as "A Widow's Lament in Springtime", "The Great Figure", "Complaint", and "Queen-Ann's-Lace".

Williams was still struggling to find his audience at the time that he published Sour Grapes and he was forced to pay for some, if not all, of the publishing expenses himself. As a book, it is highly representative of Williams's early writing. The book is filled out with improvisational pieces that Williams seems to have thrown together in the spare moments that he stole from his medical practice. However, this poetic improvisation produced remarkable language, which is evident in "A Widow's Lament in Springtime". and "Complaint".

Like most of Williams' early works, Sour Grapes was ignored by most critics at the time, but it was well received by Kenneth Burke in The Dial in February 1922.

The Dial

The Dial was an American magazine published intermittently from 1840 to 1929. In its first form, from 1840 to 1844, it served as the chief publication of the Transcendentalists. From the 1880s to 1919 it was revived as a political review and literary criticism magazine. From 1920 to 1929 it was an influential outlet for modernist literature in English.

The Kenyon Review

The Kenyon Review is a literary magazine based in Gambier, Ohio, US, home of Kenyon College. The Review was founded in 1939 by John Crowe Ransom, critic and professor of English at Kenyon College, who served as its editor until 1959. The Review has published early works by generations of important writers, including Robert Penn Warren, Ford Madox Ford, Robert Lowell, Delmore Schwartz, Flannery O'Connor, Boris Pasternak, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Taylor, Dylan Thomas, Anthony Hecht, Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Derek Walcott, Thomas Pynchon, Don Delillo, Woody Allen, Louise Erdrich, William Empson, Linda Gregg, Mark Van Doren, Kenneth Burke, and Ha Jin.The magazine's short stories have won more O. Henry Awards than any other nonprofit journal—most recently, two in 2004. Many poems that first appeared in the quarterly have been reprinted in The Best American Poetry series, and the magazine is one of the most frequent sources for the series, where poems originally in The Kenyon Review have appeared in the editions for 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2006.

The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle"

The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle" is an influential essay written by Kenneth Burke in 1939 which offered a rhetorical analysis of Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany. Much of Burke's analysis focuses on Hitler's Mein Kampf ("my struggle"). Burke (1939; reprinted in 1941 and 1981) identified four tropes as specific to Hitler's rhetoric: inborn dignity, projection device, symbolic rebirth, and commercial use. Several other tropes are discussed in the essay, "Persuasion" (Burke: 1969).

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