Rhetoric is essentially the study of communication. According to Kenneth Burke's philosophy, we as humans are symbol-making, symbol-using (and occasionally symbol-misusing!) creatures. It is through sharing symbols that we identify with one another and are capable of communicating at all, so rhetoric is consubstantial.
This encompasses an enormous range of mediums, and includes but is not limited to both written and verbal forms. Contrary to popular belief, rhetoric is not about persuasion or manipulation (although it can be). Rhetoric also extends to behavioral cues, gestures and facial expressions, and imagery and visual rhetoric. Everything that we think, say, or do is an effect of rhetoric and is therefore rhetorical in and of itself, and this alone makes it a worthy and incredibly important subject to blog about.
Much of the information you will find here is from what I have learned (and am learning) from the rhetoric courses I am taking at the University of Winnipeg. With this blog I strive to incorporate as many different kinds of examples of rhetoric to be as well-rounded as possible. My posts are consequently divided into the following five categories:
- Lifestyle Editing: these posts look at how we can apply editing and rhetoric (both literally and metaphorically) to real-life situations and scenarios, drawing upon personal experiences.
- The Practical Guide: practical advice focusing on the appropriate use of grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and word choices. These posts also provide an explanation of how to employ various style guides to your work, and discuss the benefits of using the techniques described. My information comes from a variety of sources but most notably The Writer's Harbrace Handbook and Style: 10 Lessons in Clarity and Grace, which are both excellent books for learning more about how to write.
- In the Media: I'll alert you to articles and links for helpful information regarding rhetoric and the editing process, particularly if there is anything new and exciting going on with current editorial affairs! Reviews of dictionaries and other relevant books and products are included in this category as well.
- Analyzing Everyday Rhetoric: an examination of the rhetoric that we encounter on an everyday basis, these posts demonstrate how, for example, the techniques that we discuss are employed by the media and the effect that is has upon us, the consumer.
- Forms of Rhetoric: this is a compilation of the kinds of rhetoric that we can use. Different situations require different communicative techniques, and these posts will describe how rhetoric can be best used to the rhetorician's advantage.