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Rhetoric of Rhetoric: The Quest for Effective Communication (Wiley-Blackwell Manifestos) Paperback – 22 Oct 2004


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (22 Oct. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405112379
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405112376
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.7 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,955,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"In The Rhetoric of RHETORIC Wayne C. Booth passionately and persuasively demonstrates the centrality of rhetoric to human inquiry and human interaction. Taking Booth s manifesto seriously –– responding to it in the spirit of what he calls listening rhetoric –– can improve the quality of our thought, our interactions, and, thus, our lives." James Phelan, Ohio State University

From the Back Cover

The Rhetoric of RHETORIC is a manifesto addressed to a broadaudience, dramatizing the importance of rhetorical studies andlamenting their widespread neglect. In it, distinguished criticWayne C. Booth claims that communication in every corner of lifecan be improved if only we study rhetoric more closely.

After exploring and combating the various pejorative definitionsof rhetoric and briefly tracing its history, Boothexplores the consequences of bad rhetoric in education, inpolitics, and in the media. A few cures for bad rhetoric areoffered, and a final chapter investigates the possibility ofreducing harmful conflict by practicing a rhetoric that depends ondeep listening by both sides. The key example used is the warfarebetween science and religion.


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Any confident claim about the importance of rhetorical studies requires as a first step some sorting of diverse definitions. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. C. Chamberlain on 27 May 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although I find the history of rhetoric, and the history of teaching rhetoric quite interesting, I found this book too forceful in striking it's opinion. It is very much a means for Booth to display his contempt at anyone who does not appreciate the importance of rhetoric, and him, as an academic of the subject.

I found the quotes and other sources interesting and well placed, and I do appreciate the subject more now, than prior to reading this book. However it is not a substitute for any other book you may be looking for, such as The Rhetoric of Fiction, which is a suggested reading for those studying the Open University's Advanced Creative Writing course (A363).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Are You Talking to Me? Are You Talking to Me? 18 Jun. 2006
By Poison Ivy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the first book I've read by Wayne Booth, and it makes me want to read all of his other well-known and oft-quoted works. I am not a fan of literary criticism, since it is generally poorly written and about as interesting and well-produced as cheap sausage, but The Rhetoric of Rhetoric is the real thing. I actually *enjoyed* reading it -- a page-turner. I learned a great deal about the history and meaning of rhetoric, which I wish I'd known before. But this isn't simply history (though that in itself is worth the book): I was buoyed by his idea of "listening rhetoric" in a world that has become trapped in the futile and belligerent cycle of "win rhetoric," particularly, as he notes, in a global/cyberculture where the whole world is listening--sort of. He is right to note that this global net culture has eliminated the niche audience: no more speaking exclusively to the choir (or at least not without global eavesdroppers).

Buy this book and then, let's talk: I promise to listen.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Rhetoric for the Rhetoric of Rhetoric 23 Nov. 2009
By Stephen Loftus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wayne Booth's book is readable and he argues a strong case for the revival of the study of rhetoric. Booth goes one step further and argues for what can be called dialogical rhetoric. This is where parties to a discussion truly engage with each other in an attempt to understand where the other party is coming from, rather than simply trying to conquer all opposition. Booth's so-called 'Listening Rhetoric' has much in common with Hans-Georg Gadamer's notion of the fusion of horizons where different parties seek deeper understanding of each other, and through this can come to a deeper understanding of their own position. Anyone looking for a primer in rhetoric should look elsewhere as Booth's book provides only an overview of the field. He is more concerned to raise awareness and arouse interest in a subject that has been sadly neglected for too long. Rhetoric needs to be rehabilitated and Booth's book goes some way to achieving this.
11 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A guidebook by �minent grise Wayne C. Booth 11 April 2006
By David Theelen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The latest work by Wayne C. Booth, distinguished critic and author of the seminal book, The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961), claims to be nothing less than a manifesto. The book is addressed to a broad audience and dramatizes the importance of rhetorical studies. In it Booth asserts that communication in every corner of live as well as complex conflict situations can be improved by the study of rhetoric. The book opens with the characteristic problem of the study of rhetoric: the issue of its definition and its inevitable misinterpretations. But whereas conventional contemporary rhetorical study often limit the relevance of this study to insight in the disseminating work of language, Booth becomes somewhat of an optimist. Booth develops a pragmatic idea of rhetoric as a means for, surprisingly, `better' communications. He investigates the possibility of reducing harmful conflict by practising a rhetoric that depends on deep listening by both sides. This makes the book both a compelling read in its relevance for current affairs (politics, media and education), and a small but noticeable leap away from theoretical occupations. The latter shows however that the book's insights depend on an internal contradiction - can rhetoric find positive appreciation outside of theoretic circles -, a conflict that the book itself cannot solve; it needs a benevolent reader to do this.
0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Last Things 13 Dec. 2012
By Mark Shealy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A oddly weak book, reads like the transcript of a series of lectures and notes. Booth must have written this in his last days.
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