In the inaugural series of "Landmark Essay" books, this is the only volume which focuses on the work of one scholar. Kenneth Burke -- poet, scholar, critic, iconoclast, eccentric, and Yankee crank -- is the major figure in American humanities in the twentieth century. He does not fit tidily into any philosophical school, nor is he reducible to any simple set of principles and ideas. Scholars from many fields -- communication, English, history, sociology, and more -- have studied Burke's theories and critical methods which have spawned reams of commentary, extension, debate, and application. More than a single intellectual worker, he is the ore for a scholarly industry. This book contains a few outstanding examples of the products of that industry. Readers will find models of what it means to be Burkean, to study Burke, and to use Burke in developing an understanding of the human condition.
The essays in this volume show that one can borrow ideas from Burke, or one can become wholly immersed in him. However, his work cannot be reduced to or equated with any other figure, method, or school of thought. The reader may find some striking similarities among the papers in this book. Written by scholars from several disciplines, they nevertheless address many of the same themes during the course of their exposition. What is also striking is the fact that most of the essays enter that Burkean system of themes from different starting points. Thus, they are models of what Burke claims for any critical vocabulary -- including his own -- that they are cycles of terms, any one of which leads into another.
Table of Contents
Contents: B. Brummett, Introduction: Landmark Essays on Kenneth Burke (1993). Part One:Overviews and Surveys. M.H. Nichols, Kenneth Burke and the "New Rhetoric" (1952). S.E. Hyman, Kenneth Burke and the Criticism of Symbolic Action (1948). H. Nemerov, Everything, Preferably All At Once (1971). J. Blankenship, E. Murphy, M. Rosenwasser, Pivotal Terms in the Early Works of Kenneth Burke (1974). M. Overington, Kenneth Burke and the Method of Dramatism (1977). Part II:A Focus on Critical and Philosophical Issues. R.B. Gregg, Kenneth Burke's Prolegomena to the Study of the Rhetoric of Form (1978). J.W. Chesebro, Epistemology and Ontology as Dialectical Modes in the Writings of Kenneth Burke. Part III:Politics and Intervention. W.H. Rueckert, Towards a Better Life Through Symbolic Action (1963). H.D. Duncan, "Introduction" to Symbols in Society (1968). L. Griffin, A Dramatistic Theory of the Rhetoric of Movements (1969). F. Lentricchia, Reading History with Kenneth Burke (1982). W.C. Booth, Kenneth Burke's Comedy: The Multiplication of Perspectives (1979). C. Condit, Post-Burke: Transcending the Sub-stance of Dramatism (1992).