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ERIC Number: ED311473
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Apr
Pages: 33
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Kenneth Burke's Thirties: The 1935 Writers Congress.
Williams, David Cratis
This essay analyzes Kenneth Burke's speech ("Revolutionary Symbolism") to the 1935 Writers Congress, a congress intended to explore the relationship between politics and art, and controlled closely by the American Communist Party. The essay maintains that Burke was prepared to offer to the Communist Party and to all "left-leaning" writers a propaganda strategy, based on what he saw as the potential for cultural transvaluations through politically astute manipulations of artistic form. The essay analyzes Burke's propaganda strategy as an extension--and transformation--of the concept of "form." It also uses the concept as the basis for constructing an account of Burke's reception by the Congress, and ultimately suggests that Burke's speech signals a reconceptualization by Burke of the art of "rhetoric" itself, moving from a primary conceptualization of rhetoric as technique to a primary conceptualization of rhetoric as propaganda (which is itself preliminary to the move toward rhetoric as identification). The paper is in three sections: (1) a historical description of the purposes and nature of the Congress; (2) an exposition of Burke's strategy for revolutionary propaganda; and (3) an assessment of Burke's own strategy in speaking before the Congress and his reception by them in relation to the concepts of "form" and "rhetoric." Twenty-two references are attached. (SR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A