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Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology

Studies in the Interaction of Expression and Culture

by Walter J. Ong

Publication Year: 2012

This is not a book on rhetoric in any narrow sense, but rather concerns its general ambiance and also some of its quite specific manifestations. The thirteen chapters that comprise the book move chronologically from the Renaissance up to the present time. Chapter 2 shows the continuity of verbal expression during the English Renaissance with earlier speech and thought patterns before the invention of writing. In the third chapter, a detailed report is given on the entire production of English-language books on rhetoric and poetic and literary criticism or theory during the Tudor age, from the late 15th through the beginning of the 17th century. The fourth chapter indicates the central significance of the art of memory.

The chapters from 5 through 12 treat the interrelationships between social institutions and modes of thought and expression (Latin Language Study as a Renaissance Puberty Rite; Ramist Classroom Procedure and the Nature of Reality; Ramist Method and the Commercial Mind; Swift on the Mind: Satire in a Closed Field; Psyche and the Geometers; Associationist Critical Theory; J. S. Mill's Pariah Poet; Romantic Difference and the Poetics of Technology; and The Literate Orality of Popular Culture Today). The final chapter centers on the history of the humanities to show that they have not been the same in all ages, and that they are always in a state of crisis.

Published by: Cornell University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-11

Contents

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pp. 12-7

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Preface

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pp. vii-xiv

...Cicero used to make the point that the orator needed to know everything that could be known. Hence rhetoric, the art of oratory or public speaking, ultimately took all knowledge as its province. Cicero was not voicing merely a private hope or theory. For most of classical antiquity rheto­ric was the focus of learning and intelligence...

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1. Rhetoric and the Origins of Consciousness

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pp. 1-22

...Until the modern technological age, which effec­tively began with the industrial revolution and romanticism, Western culture in its intellectual and academic manifesta­tions can be meaningfully described as rhetorical culture. Any number of scholars have borne witness to the pervasiveness of rhetoric in the West...

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2. Oral Residue in Tudor Prose Style

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pp. 23-47

...We have recently been growing more aware of the differences between oral cultures and literate cultures. The effects on modes of thought inherent in the successive media of expression--oral speech, analphabetic writing, alpha­betic writing, letterpress printing, the electronic media, wired and wireless-have been studied in some detail...

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3. Tudor Writings on Rhetoric, Poetic, and Literary Theory

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pp. 48-103

...The literature of the Tudor age, like that of earlier and immediately subsequent ages, has some of its deep­ est roots in the rhetorical tradition. Though originally concerned with oratory, as has been seen, rhetoric was also in­ timately associated with what we today would call works of creative imagination...

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4. Memory as Art

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pp. 104-112

...To the unlearned, a recent book by Frances A. Yates, The Art of Memory would appear pedestrian enough in its aims and promise. It undertakes to trace schemes for implementing memory from the ancient Greeks through Cicero and Quintilian, the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance into the Cartesian era...

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5. Latin Language Study as a Renaissance Puberty Rite

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pp. 113-141

...The reasons why any particular society follows the educational curriculum which it does follow are always exceedingly complex. Because, in being a preparation for the future, it is inevitably a communication of what is available from past experience, education is always primarily a traffic in this experience and only secondarily a matter of theory...

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6. Ramist Classroom Procedure and the Nature of Reality

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pp. 142-164

...The Renaissance is an age particularly rich in educators and educational literature, but nowhere in it is there a figure more profoundly involved in educational theory and practice than Peter Ramus. Ramus' involvement is virtually total. If we consider his life apart from his educational ac­tivity, we find very little to consider...

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7. Ramist Method and the Commercial Mind

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pp. 165-189

...One of the persistent puzzles concerning Peter Ramus and his followers is the extraordinary diffusion of their works during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The general pathway of this diffusion has been well known since Waddington's Ramus in 1855 ...

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8. Swift on the Mind: Satire in a Closed Field

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pp. 190-212

...It is with Jonathan Swift as it is with most es­sayists whose pronouncements spring from impulses more strategic than scientific. The frames of thought in which the observations are set are often of more significance than the observations themselves. In Swift's case, certain of these frames of thought, intimately connected with the milieu in which Swift moved...

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9. Psyche and the Geometers: Associationist Critical Theory

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pp. 213-236

...The temper of eighteenth-century criticism is like the compunction recommended by Thomas a Kempis, more readily felt than defined. Attempts to deal with this criticism have operated with such theorems as Locke's sensationalist philosophy, Berkeley's idealism, various forms of authoritar­ianism, Cartesian so-called "anti-authoritarianism...

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10. J. S. Mill's Pariah Poet

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pp. 237-254

...To an age given to prying open psychologi­cal secrets and casting up the accounts of other men's minds, John Stuart Mill's painstaking reports on himself in his Autobiography offer possibilities for the most part still strangely unexploited. Matched against his own psychological states as disclosed in his own story of his life­...

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11. Romantic Difference and the Poetics of Technology

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pp. 255-283

...it is a classic observation that the romantic move­ment can be defined in a great many ways, some complemen­tary and some competing. But whatever way one defines it, one of the movement's characteristics-more or less central de­pending on the particular definition-is a preoccupation with otherness ...

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12. The Literate Orality of Popular Culture Today

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pp. 284-303

...The relationship between present-day orality and the orality of preliterate man is, a subject few discuss in circumstantial detail. Many are aware of the marked orality of our culture today when compared with the culture of thirty years ago, before the electronic potential first mobilized in the 1840's with the telegraph had matured and become interiorized in life styles and world views­...

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13. Crisis and Understanding in the Humanities

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pp. 336-348

...expressing in highly quotable eighteenth-century English form a thought at root so old that no one will ever be able to establish its ultimate origins. The studies collected in the present book are con­cerned not only with man, but often with man's study of himself as he engages in one of his central activities, verbal ex­pression..

Index

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pp. 352-363


E-ISBN-13: 9780801466335
E-ISBN-10: 0801466334
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801478475
Print-ISBN-10: 0801478472

Page Count: 358
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: 1