StarteKapitelRhetorical Figures and Style as Argumentation

Rhetorical Figures and Style as Argumentation

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(eKapitel) The theory of rhetorical figures and style played an important part in cer­tain periods of the history of rhetoric, but in modern rhetorical criticism it has been treated as subordinate to argumentation. Instead, metaphors and ­rhetorical figur

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Marie Lund Klujeff, Aarhus University

The theory of rhetorical figures and style played an important part in cer­tain periods of the history of rhetoric, but in modern rhetorical criticism it has been treated as subordinate to argumentation. Instead, metaphors and ­rhetorical figures have been the objects of literary studies. This article presents a recent theoretical turn that takes its outset with Jeanne Fahnestock’s book Rhetorical Figures in Science (1999) and has a primary focus on rhetorical figures as well as on argumentation. This rhetorical theory is paralleled with modern theories on metaphors, and the analytical perspectives of the theories are explored in a reading of a Danish debate between the rapper, Niarn, and the author Hanne-Vibeke Holst.

Marie Lund Klujeff (2011) remarks

The article compared different fields of research into rhetorical figures in order to reflect on the insights produced by the differing approaches. It confronted some of the focal points of inquiry in modern theories of meta­phor with rhetorical investigations of the broader field of rhetorical figures in an argumentative context. On this basis, the article aimed at engaging in a discussion of the status of style in contemporary rhetorical criticism. It was suggested that where modern rhetorical criticism has previously treated style and rhetorical figures as subordinate to argumentation, situation, and genre etc., there has, recently, been a revival of theoretical interest in style in its own right. The appearance of titles such as R. Hariman’s Political Style (1995), B. Brummett’s: A Rhetoric of Style (2008), Paul Butler’s Out of Style (2008) and Style in Rhetoric and Composition (2010), as well as the handbook in German and English, edited by U. Fix, A. Gardt and J. Knape: Rhetorik und Stilistik/ Rhetoric and Stylistics I-II (2008-2009) confirms this claim. Even more today, rhetorical criticism seems to be in demand of a thorough investigation into how the vast area of theories concerning rhetorical figures, reasoning, style, invention, lifestyle, and performance of identity can meaningfully be understood and labeled as rhetorical style. Also, an explanation of the affinities between style and some thoughts related to late or post modernity could provide a basis for critical reflection. At least, these are some of the issues that I struggle with for the time being.

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About Marie Lund Klujeff

con infoMarie Lund Klujeff is professor of Rhetoric at Aarhus University, Denmark. She has co-edited the antology Retorikkens aktualitet (2006, 2009) and is currently working on a book about rhetorical style.

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