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The Methodical Memory

Invention in Current-Traditional Rhetoric

Sharon Crowley

Publication Year: 2010

In this first sustained critique of current-traditional rhetorical theory, Sharon Crowley uses a postmodern, deconstructive reading to examine the historical development of current-traditional rhetoric.

Published by: Southern Illinois University Press

Front Cover

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Copyright Page

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pp. iv


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pp. vii-ix

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pp. xi-xv

This book is a study of the theory of invention entailed in two modem rhetorical theories: British "new rhetoric" and the American school rhetoric now called "current-traditional." I undertook this study because the status of current-traditional rhetoric as a historical artifact is not evident to the many people who think of it as a natural, self-evident ...

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pp. xvii-xviii

Many persons have been complicit, like it or not, in the genesis of this book. From the beginning its presiding spirit has been Ed Corbett, whose work as scholar and teacher has provided me with an exemplary but finally inimitable model. I thank everyone who took the time to read drafts at various stages of the book's composition. These persons include E. P. J. Corbett, Win ...

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1. Public Knowledge and Private Inspiration: On Invention, Classical and Modern

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pp. 1-14

In Western rhetorical systems, invention is the first of five canons, or divisions, of rhetoric. It is accompanied by arrangement (the appropriate ordering of arguments within a discourse), style (the clear and felicitous composition of sentences), memory (the memorization of a completed argument or a series of prompts), and delivery (the appropriate ...

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2. How the Outside Gets Inside: The Psychology of the Methodical Memory

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pp. 15-32

On the very first page of The Philosophy of Rhetoric (originally published in 1776), George Campbell defined eloquence as "that art or talent by which the discourse is adapted to its end." He then discriminated four such ends: "to enlighten the understanding, to please the imagination, to move the passions, or to influence the will." For ...

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3. How Insides Get Outside Again: The Logic of the Methodical Memory

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pp. 33-55

Since eighteenth-century discourse theorists accepted the notion that the process of inquiry was constituted by a review of the mind's contents and operations, they next had to find some way to insure that when the results of inquiry "went public" these results exactly represented the primary, internal mental process that had produced them ...

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4. Subjects and Objects: Logical and Psychological Models of Invention in Early Current-Traditional Rhetoric

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pp. 56-69

Institutionalized composition instruction in American colleges has been carried on under a number of disciplinary umbrellas. During the eighteenth century, the classical texts of Cicero and Quintilian were commonly resorted to as sources of advice about effective composing. Twentieth-century teachers of composition relied on neoromantic ...

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5. Select, Narrow, and Amplify: Invention in Mature Current-Traditional Rhetoric

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pp. 70-95

Throughout the nineteenth century and well into the twentieth, other teachers followed in the footsteps of Rippingham, Newman, and the others. The list of those who wrote current-traditional textbooks is impressive, not only because of its size but because some authors held impressive scholarly credentials, often in fields other than composition ...

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6. EDNA Takes Over: The Modes of Discourse

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pp. 96-119

The history of current-traditional invention can be read as a continuing transfer of inventive authority away from writers and onto texts. Eighteenth-century rhetoricians centered their inventional theory on the introspective mind of a sovereign self-aware author. They posited that authors had access to the contents and processes of their minds by ...

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7. The Methodical Memory on Display: The Five-Paragraph Theme

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pp. 120-138

A popular conceit among eighteenth-century rhetorical theorists characterized the relation between thought and its expression as analogous to that between soul and body. George Campbell employed the analogy in the Philosophy of Rhetoric as follows ...

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8. So What's Wrong with Current-Traditional Rhetoric, Anyway?

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pp. 139-154

Recent studies of college writing programs suggest that current- traditional rhetoric is alive and well. At least half of such programs in the country-perhaps more-follow its pedagogy. Current-traditional textbooks are still being published; most go into at least two editions, and many enjoy five or six. Advertisements for the more successful ...

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9. The Limits of Modern Epistemology for Writing Instruction or Why Current-Traditional Rhetoric Is Not a Rhetoric

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pp. 155-169

Historians of rhetoric have routinely emphasized the decidedly scientific bent of the new rhetoric. But the foremost among them are divided as to its ultimate worth. On the down side, Vincent Bevilacqua has taken issue with the limited view of rhetoric that grew out of modern attitudes toward mind ...


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pp. 173-186

References Cited

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pp. 187-196


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pp. 197-207

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Author Bio

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pp. 208

Sharon Crowley is professor of English at Northern Arizona University, where she teaches rhetoric and writing. She has authored articles on the history of rhetoric and composition studies and on postmodernism and the teaching of writing. Her recent monograph is A Teacher's Introduction to Deconstruction ...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780809385935
E-ISBN-10: 0809385937
Print-ISBN-13: 9780809316151
Print-ISBN-10: 0809330016

Page Count: 230
Publication Year: 2010