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THE RHETORICAL ACT: THINKING, SPEAKING AND WRITING CRITICALLY, Fourth Edition, teaches liberal arts students how to craft and critique rhetorical messages that influence, inviting and enabling them to become articulate rhetors and critics of their symbolic universe. The new edition maintains a traditional humanistic approach to rhetoric, while extending the scope and relevance of the text. THE RHETORICAL ACT reaffirms the ancient Aristotelian and Ciceronian relationships between art and practice -- one cannot master rhetorical skills without an understanding of the theory on which such skills are based. The text combines thorough coverage of rhetorical criticism, media literacy, and strategic public speaking, providing a solid grounding in essential concepts while helping students hone their skills in each area.
- A new prologue and epilogue address why studying rhetoric is important and what the discipline of rhetoric entails, both within the liberal arts and a general education curriculum. The preface is written for beginning students, while the epilogue is written for advanced students and instructor audiences.
- The new edition features major revisions to key chapters, including additional content; reference to current research and theory; new strategic speaking assignments; examples of complete student speeches; and updated coverage of media, including the latest technology and a special examination of war rhetoric.
- In 10 of the 14 chapters, new material for analysis allows students to apply critical concepts using updated rhetorical artifacts, including both familiar "classics" from U.S. rhetorical history and compelling current examples from popular culture.
- The exercise section of each chapter has been updated and reorganized to reflect the new edition's focus on three areas of rhetoric: critical thinking, analytical writing, and strategic public speaking.
- The text's content and exercises reflect the ancient idea of the relationship between art and practice -- you cannot improve a skill without understanding the theory, concepts, and ideas on which it is based, and you cannot truly understand the theory unless you use and test it in practice.
- The authors treat rhetorical action as a joint effort of rhetor and audience, emphasizing the audience's active, collaborative role, including the creation of enthymemes, arguments produced cooperatively by rhetor and audience, as "the substance of persuasion."
- The text approaches rhetoric in all its varieties as a "strategy to encompass a situation" (Kenneth Burke) and as "that art or talent by which discourse is adapted to its end" (George Campbell).
- THE RHETORICAL ACT: THINKING, SPEAKING AND WRITING CRITICALLY treats all forms of rhetoric as points on a single continuum of influence, rather than distinguishing speaking or writing to inform or entertain.
- The text concentrates on the descriptive, analytical, and evaluative tools that compose the critical process rather than emphasizing "schools of criticism." It introduces students to a comprehensive critical "grammar" and "vocabulary", and provides a critical model to help them discern the meaning of messages.
Prologue: "WHY STUDY RHETORIC?"
Part I: FUNDAMENTALS OF RHETORICAL ACTION.
1. A Rhetorical Perspective.
2. The Rhetorical Act.
3. Crafting Your Rhetorical Act.
Part II: RESOURCES FOR RHETORICAL ACTION.
4. The Resources of Evidence.
5. The Resources of Argument.
6. The Resources of Organization.
7. The Resources of Language.
PART III: CONTEXTS OF RHETORICAL ACTION.
8. Challenges Arising from the Audience.
9. Challenges Arising from the Subject and Purpose.
10. Opportunities and Challenges Arising from the Rhetor.
PART IV: SPECIAL CONSTRAINTS ON RHETORICAL ACTION.
11. Understanding Evaluation.
12. Understanding Visual Rhetoric.
13. Understanding the Medium of Transmission.
14. Understanding Occasion.
Epilogue: "WHAT IS RHETORIC?"
Cengage provides a range of supplements that are updated in coordination with the main title selection. For more information about these supplements, contact your Learning Consultant.
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