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Introducing

Kenneth Burke

Lesley Duckworth, Spencer Hill, Chelsea Moore, Rachel Muller, Krissy Zampaglione Illustrations by Spencer Hill


Table of Contents Biography.............................................................. 3 Historical Context.................................................4 Key Terms and Concepts......................................5 Influences.............................................................8 Contemporaries....................................................10 Major Works.........................................................11 Major Contributions to Rhetoric.........................12

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Introducing Kenneth Burke


Biography

Rachel Muller

Kenneth Duva Burke was born May 5, 1897 in Pittsburg Pennsylvania. He attended college at Columbia University for one year before dropping out of school in 1917 to become a writer. Burke then relocated to Greenwich Village in New York which at the time was a bohemian haven for artists. He married Lily Mary Batterham in 1919, with whom he had three daughters. In 1933 he married Lily Batterham’s sister and have two sons with her (Selzer).

Burke was an editor for an American literary magazine called the Dial in 1923 and served as their music critic from 1927-1929. In 1928 he received the Dial Award an award presented to a contributor of the Dial magazine acknowledging their service and giving them $2000 to help provide them “leisure through which at least one artist may serve God (or go to the Devil) according to his own lights.� He was the last of eight people to receive this award, among these eight were noted literary icon T.S. Eliot, E.E. Cummings, and Ezra Pound (The Dial). He died of heart failure at age 96 in his home in Andover, New Jersey on November 19, 1993.

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Rachel Muller

Historical Context

Born into the age of immigration, baseball, and American literature, Kenneth Burke has been considered one of the twentieth century’s most influential critics. Burke spent much of his long and prolific life striving to understand the complexities of humans as the “symbol-using, symbol mis-using animal” (Kunitz). The point in history in which Kenneth Burke was inserted as a rhetorician is important because the timing dictates Burkes’ predecessors as well as his contemporaries. His own theories were advanced on the fusion of the ideas of Freud and Marx. He was first exposed to these ideas by a friend, and a student of Freud-Leon Adler (Gura). Two major themes reoccur in Burkes work throughout his career and both of these themes can be traced back to either Freudian or Marxist roots. Burke says rhetoric is, “concerned with the state of Babel after the fall” (Burke). “Aristotle believed that rhetoric was situational and defined it as ‘the art of finding in any given situation the available means of persuasion.’ Twenty-three centuries later, literary and rhetorical critic Kenneth Burke placed his dramatistic approach to rhetoric in scene which included not only the stage of action but the backdrop of values, attitudes, and opinions for the speech”(Smith).

Works Cited Burke, K. (1966). Language as Symbolic Action: Essays on Life, Literature, and Method. Gura, Philip F. American Transcendentalism: A History. New York: Hill and Wang, 2007 Selzer, Jack. Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village: Conversing with the Moderns, 1915-1931. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1996 Smith, Craig R. Rhetoric and Human Consciousness: A History, March 3, 2009 The Dial magazine’s announcement of award to Eliot, viewed 28 February 2008 Kunitz Stanley, J.Twentieth Century Authors: A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Literature, edited by Howard Haycraft, New York, The H. W. Wilson Company, 1942 4

Introducing Kenneth Burke


Chelsea Moore

Burke’s Rhetoric: Key Terms and Concepts Rhetoric is rooted in an essential function of language itself, a function that is wholly realistic and continually born anew: the use of language as a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols.

Rhetoric is the use of words by human agents to form attitudes or induce actions in other human agents.

Action v. Motion: The animal moves; the human motivates, mediates, and defines those actions with symbols. One must be free to act; there must be the will to act; there must also be motion. Because all human motion and action is based on motive, we need rhetoric to dig out the motives of humans and the world around us. Identification: one of the most crucial elements of rhetoric in Burke’s ideology, he might even say that identification replaces rhetoric. In A Rhetoric of Motives, Burke says “you persuade a man only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his.” Identification can be a highly effective tool in rhetoric.

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Chelsea Moore

Burke’s Rhetoric: Key Terms and Concepts MOTIVES are the factors which give meaning to motions; the action of all humanity arises from motives

Alienation/Dissociation: Burke argues that our egos -- as defined by one of Burke’s major influences Sigmund Freud-- seek to find people that have similar values, motives, etc. as we do. We seek to find someone that we can identify with so that we can gain validation of our own personalities. Alienation or dissociation as the opposite of identification, then, gives rise to the need for rhetoric. Because we feel dissociated from others we must use rhetoric to discover the motives of other people and thus, hopefully, be able to identify with them. Unconscious Motivation: While motivations behind rhetoric can be conscious and intentional, they can also be unconscious (such as the unconscious desire of one’s ego to find similar egos) Self as Audience: similar to the idea that we attempt to convince others in the same way the we convince ourselves, Burke thought that both Inter- and Intra- personal communication could be rhetorical

Definition of Man: according to Burke there are five elements of what it is to be man.Man is: symbol-using animal: we assign meaning, or symbols, to things that place limits on them inventor of the negative: everything is inherently neutral, but because we are symbol using animals that assign meanings to things we create negative. Because we think in abstractions (symbols are abstractions) we cannot think in negative terms because the negative does not exist in nature. separated from his natural conditions by instruments of his own making: man’s own inventions separate him from his natural condition or original state goaded by the spirit of hierarchy: we’re driven to be the best, to achieve our desired reactions; we have egos and like them to be flattered; we also like order; this somewhat exists as a counter to statements like “all men are created equal” rotten with perfection: man is, in a way, made rotten by his desires to achieve perfection 6

Introducing Kenneth Burke


Chelsea Moore

Burke’s Rhetoric: Key Terms and Concepts

Burke’s pentad allows us to discover the motivation of an action through the evaluation of these five components that go into the action. Act: according to Smith this is “the ‘what...’ the action that is taken, the act that makes the drama.” Agent: also referred to as the actor, according to Smith this is the “who” behind the action Agency: related to Lloyd Bitzer’s concept of constraints, agency is how an action is achieved, or the means and methods by which an action is achieved Purpose: this is the why behind any rhetorical action; according to Smith “it features ends over means, and the philosophy of mysticism.” Scene: this is the when and where of a given action or rhetorical situation, or in a way the context that surrounds a situation.

Works Cited Lamoreux, Edward. “Introduction to Kenneth Burke.” Bradley University. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://bradley. bradley.edu/~ell/burke.html>. Smith, Craig R. “Chapter Ten: Kenneth Burke.” Rhetoric and Human Consciousness: A History. Third ed. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland, 2009. 275-96. Print. ENC 3021 Spring 2012

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Kristina Zampaglione

Burkeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Influences

Burke was influenced by Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche. He is also thought to have been very influenced by Thorstein Veblen, who was a American economist and sociologist. Burke did not want to be labeled as a follower of any philosopical or political school of thought; He had a very public break with the Marxists.

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Introducing Kenneth Burke


Influenced By Burke

Kristina Zampaglione

The people that Burke influenced include Harold Bloom who is an American writer and literary critic. He is a Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. He said he have tried to find an alternative father in Mr. Kenneth Burke, who is a charming fellow and a very powerful critic. Stanley Cavell, Susan Sontag who was a student of his.She was an American essayist, literary icon, and political activist whose works include On Photography, Against Interpretation, The Way We Live Now, and Regarding the Pain of Others and Erving Goffman, along with many others.

Works Cited “Kenneth Burke” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 15 March 2012. Web. 25 March. 2012. Kreis, Steven. “Karl Marx.” The History Guide. 30 Jan. 2008. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://www.historyguide. org/intellect/marx.html>. Sigmund Freud. Photograph. Investing Caffeine: Waking Up Your Investment Brain. Sidoxia Capital Management LLC, 25 Apr. 2011. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://sidoxia.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/freud.jpg>. Wilkerson, Dale. “Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.” Nietzsche, Friedrich. University of Tennessee at Martin, 21 Aug. 2009. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://www.iep.utm.edu/nietzsch/>. ENC 3021 Spring 2012

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Lesley Duckworth

Contemporaries

Kenneth Burke corresponded with a number of literary critics, thinkers, and writers over the years including William Carlos Williams, Malcolm Cowley, Robert Penn Warren, Allen Tate, Ralph Ellison, Katherine Anne Porter, Jean Toomer, Hart Crane, and Marianne

Kenneth Burke was heavily influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Works Cited Lamoreux, Edward. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Introduction to Kenneth Burke.â&#x20AC;? Bradley University. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://bradley. bradley.edu/~ell/burke.html>. 10

Introducing Kenneth Burke


Major Works

Lesley Duckworth

Counter-Statement (1931) "Towards a Better Life" (1932) Permanence and Change (1935) Attitudes Toward History (1937) The Rhetoric of Hitler's "Battle" (1939) Philosophy of Literary Form (1941) A Grammar of Motives (1945) A Rhetoric of Motives (1950) The Rhetoric of Religion (1961) Language As Symbolic Action (1966) Dramatism and Development (1972) (lecture) Here and Elsewhere (2005)- collected fiction of Kenneth burke Essays Toward a Symbolic of Motives (2006) Kenneth Burke on Shakespeare (2007)

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Spencer Hill

Major Contributions

In his book Language as Symbolic Action (1966), Burke delineated humankind as a “symbol using animal”. Burke sought the rhetoric of dialect saying, “a symbolic means of inducing cooperation in beings that by nature respond to symbols.” His work is as influential as it is groundbreaking for the field of modern rhetorical theory. Some of his major contributions include his definition of humanity, five elements or dramastistic pentad, and the terministic screen. In his own words he states his definition of humanity as “man” is “the symbol using, making, and mis-using animal, inventor of the negative, separated from his natural condition by instruments of his own making, goaded by the spirit of hierarchy, and rotten with perfection.” In that, some of the most significant problems in human behavior resulted from the symbols of humans using humans rather than humans using symbols. Burke proposed the dramastistic pentad as a means to attribute motives to others behavior. The pentad relies on ratios between five elements: act, scene, agent, agency, and purpose. The pentad is grounded in his dramastistic method, which considers human communication as a form of action. He uses dramaticism as a means to understand our own interactions he says, “ (Dramaticism) invites one to consider the matter of motives in a perspective that, being developed from the analysis of drama, treats language and thought primarily as modes of action” (Grammar of Motives xxii). Burke studied literary critique not as a formalistic enterprise but as an enterprise with deep sociological impact; he saw literature as “equipment for living,” the words are meant to lend common sense and lessons to live by. Our daily interactions that revolve around the pentad are required to do so as well.

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Introducing Kenneth Burke


Major Contributions

Spencer Hill

Another contribution from Burke is the terministic screen. It is supposedly a collection of symbols that becomes a kind of screen or network of intelligibility through which the planet makes all sagacious. This offers rhetorical theorists, critics, or anyone a way of understanding the correlation between idiom and ideology. His method is to infuse that language doesn’t simply “reflect” reality. It helps us opt for reality and in turn we may redirect reality. He asserts, “reality” has actually “been built up for us through nothing but our symbol system” Without our encyclopedias, atlases, and other assorted reference guides, we would know little about the world that lies beyond our immediate sense experience. Burke states reality is, “clutter of symbols about the past combined with whatever things we know mainly through maps, magazines, newspapers, and the like about the present . . . a con-

struct of our symbol systems”. While this only covers his three most impacting theories his lasting contributions to rhetorical analysis are limitless. His quotes are repeated in nearly all works in his subjects, even his critics. His work on human definition attributes to many new ponderings on behavior. The dramastistic pentad allows humanity the ability to organize the deliberate motivations in our normal interactions between one another. Then finally, the terministic screen values us another experience of rhetoric through relative analysis. Daily Kenneth Burke impacts our fundamental beliefs as rhetors and challenges our situated motives, realities, and definitions.

Works Cited Burke, Kenneth. “Language as Symbolic Action (pp.” Department of Communication Studies : University of Minnesota. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://www.comm.umn.edu/burke/LASA.html>. “Kenneth Burke: A Roadmap.” Kenneth Burke Roadmap. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://www.wfu. edu/~zulick/454/roadmap.html>. ENC 3021 Spring 2012

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Introducing Kenneth Burke