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ERIC Number: EJ1002279
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0895-4852
The Death of Rhetoric
Eagleton, Terry
Academic Questions, v25 n4 p546-551 Dec 2012
Poetry is about the experience of meaning as well as the meaning of experience. To read a poem is to feel one's way into the inner workings of its language, rather than to peer through that speech to an extractable truth. Most students of literature today have difficulty in grasping the performative or rhetorical dimensions of the texts with which they deal. For the most part, they fail to see the signified in terms of the signifier. How did this formal or rhetorical understanding of literary works come to be lost? In the eyes of many, the culprit is scarcely in doubt: literary theory. But this, as it happens, is not the case. It is not theory that has undone the habits of rhetorical reading, but the fate of language in late-modern civilization. The sign does not fare well in social orders dominated by a crassly instrumental rationality. It is stripped of its sensuous specificity and reduced to a mere communicative token. Civilizations under the sway of utility and exchange value are inherently anti-aesthetic. That which exists purely for its own delight is an affront to them.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A