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Saying And Silence

Frank Farmer

Publication Year: 2001

Frank Farmer has contributed important essays to the study of Bakhtin in composition, and in Saying and Silence he gathers some of those, along with several new essays, into a single volume. Scholars who specialize in Bakhtin will find this work engaging, but equally Farmer wants to explicate and apply Bakhtin for readers whose focus is teaching or some other nonspecialist dimension of writing scholarship.

Farmer explores the relationship between the meaningful word and the meaningful pause, between saying and silence, especially as the relationship emerges in our classrooms, our disciplinary conversations, and encounters with publics beyond the academy. Each of his chapters here addresses some aspect of how we and our students, colleagues, and critics have our say and speak our piece, often under conditions where silence is the institutionally sanctioned and preferred alternative. He has enlisted a number of Bakhtinian ideas (the superaddressee, outsideness, voice in dialogue) to help in the project of interpreting the silences we hear, naming the silences we do not hear, and of encouraging all silences to speak in ways that are freely chosen, not enforced.

Published by: Utah State University Press


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pp. vii

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pp. ix-x

The chapters in this book were written over the span of several years and thus represent a chronicle of a sometimes orthodox, sometimes idiosyncratic engagement with the ideas of Mikhail Bakhtin. They also represent, I think, a measure of how my particular struggles with Bakhtin are both reflected in, and refracted through, ...

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pp. 1-8

One development in recent scholarship centers upon what is often referred to as a rhetoric of silence. Not that we have just discovered such a rhetoric, for it is clear from even a cursory look at Richard Lanham’s Handlist of Rhetorical Terms that our predecessors long ago established a whole family of words to describe the power ...

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1 “NOT THEORY . . . BUT A SENSE OF THEORY”: The Superaddressee and the Contexts of Eden

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pp. 9-30

In the closing chapter to Rhetoric in an Antifoundational World, contributor and co-editor Michael Bernard-Donals observes that inour times, “the debate between foundationalism and antifounda-tionalism is moot; foundational notions of the human and naturalsciences have been so discredited as to force us to consider ...

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pp. 31-52

Over a decade has passed since the appearance of Peter Elbow’s essay, “Closing My Eyes As I Speak: A Plea for Ignoring Audience.” In the years since its first publication, Elbow’s article has been cited, praised, disparaged by some, but generally acknowledged as an important counterstatement to a good deal of ...

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3 VOICE REPRISED: Three Etudes for a Dialogic Understanding

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pp. 53-72

When I look back on my exchange with Devlyn, what occurs to me now are the many Bakhtinian ways that our dialogue could have been understood. As readers of the previous chapter know, I originally tried to explain Devlyn’s writings through the frame of Aesopianism, through strategies for writing that managed to say something ...

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4 SOUNDING THE OTHER WHO SPEAKS IN ME: Toward a Dialogic Understanding of Imitation

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pp. 73-94

Among present-day compositionists, there seems to be little doubt that imitation has all but disappeared from serious consideration as a viable practice in writing instruction. Edward Corbett’s claim that imitation has little chance of making a “comeback” seems as prescient now as it did when it was first made some thirty years ago (249). ...

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5 PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION: Bakhtin, Composition, and the Problem of the Outside

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pp. 95-124

Of the many Bakhtinian ideas that have found currency among scholars and teachers in composition—voice, heteroglossia, carnival, dialogue, to name the most obvious—one idea that has not commanded much attention is Bakhtin’s notion of “outsidedness.” This is a bit surprising, since Bakhtin alludes to it in many of ...

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6 DIALOGUE AND CRITIQUE: Bakhtin and the Cultural Studies Writing Classroom

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pp. 125-148

In the excerpt above, Kathleen Dixon repeats what she obviously feels to be a crucial line from one of her student’s papers, a line that expresses the kind of epiphany that would be pleasing to any writing teacher, but perhaps especially gratifying to those writing teachers who employ a cultural studies perspective ...


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pp. 149-158


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pp. 159-167


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pp. 168-171

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pp. 172

Frank Farmer is an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas, where he teaches courses in writing and rhetorical theory. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University, and two graduate degrees from the University of Louisville. Over the course of his career, he has taught in several public schools ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780874214512
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874214147

Publication Year: 2001