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Toward a Rhetoric of Insult$
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Thomas Conley

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226114774

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226114798.001.0001

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Beyond “Traditional” Rhetoric

Beyond “Traditional” Rhetoric

(p.97) Chapter 3 Beyond “Traditional” Rhetoric
Toward a Rhetoric of Insult
University of Chicago Press

The examples in Chapter 2 exhibit a number of features common to traditional rhetorics, including the repeated appearance of loci and the frequent appearance of traditional lines of argument. Here and there, we see the tactical use of humor and the deliberate construction of authoritative character, as well as artful composition at every level, from the smallest units to larger compositions, both verbal and visual. We see tropes and figures in material as varied as formal speeches and the dozens. But, clearly, we are not seeing “rhetoric” as it is traditionally conceived: as a unilateral mode of gaining compliance or belief, usually by means of tactics involving some combination of argument and ingratiation. An art of insult is surely not an art of persuasion, as commonly understood. This chapter approaches the subject from some different angles.

Keywords:   insults, rhetoric, unilateral mode, compliance, belief, argument, ingratiation

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