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Unformatted text preview: rem ains to be s hown) they us e the cunning of language, without particularly m eaning to. The language us ed is
a s ocial object and us ing language is a s ocial act. It requires cunning (or, if you prefer, cons ideration) attention
to the other m inds pres ent when one s peaks .
The paying of attention to oneâ€™s audience is called â€˜rhetoricâ€™, a word that I later exercis e hard. One
us es rhetoric, of cours e, to warn of a fire in a theatre or to arous e the xenophobia of the electorate. This s ort of
yelling is the vulgar m eaning of the word, like the pres identâ€™s â€˜heated rhetoricâ€™ in a pres s conference
or the â€˜m ere rhetoricâ€™ to which our enem ies s toop. Since the Greek flam e was lit, though, the word has
been us ed als o in a broader and m ore am iable s ens e, to m ean the s tudy of all the ways of accom plis hing
things with language: inciting a m ob to lynch the accus ed, to be s ure, but als o pers uading readers of a novel
that its characters breathe, or bringing s...
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This document was uploaded on 03/23/2014.
- Summer '14