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Expel the Pretender: Rhetoric Renounced and the Politics of Style
Lauer Series in Rhetoric and Composition
Series Editors: Patricia Sullivan, Catherine Hobbs, Thomas Rickert, and Jennifer Bay
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Political fights are not waged over who is speaking the truth but over whether any given claim seems to be authentic. Expel the Pretender: Rhetoric Renounced and the Politics of Style examines how rhetorical style influences judgments about how to communicate integrity and good will. Eve Wiederhold argues that attitudes about style's significance to judgment are both undertheorized and over-determined, especially when style is regarded as an embellishment rather than as a constitutive aspect of language use. Examining news reports covering controversial speakers including President Bill Clinton, Linda Tripp, and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, she demonstrates how rhetorical style is both belittled and yet remains a focal point for assessing public figures who have been publicly rebuked and discredited. Expel the Pretender claims style as a conflicted site of materiality, critiquing contemporary rhetorical theories that configure style as a dependable resource for democratic inquiry. Wiederhold argues that conceptions of style's significance to judgment must be reframed to understand how we make decisions about who and what to believe.
About the Author
Eve Wiederhold received her PhD in English (Language, Literacy, and Rhetoric) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has taught courses in rhetoric and composition studies, literary theory, and feminist rhetorical theory at George Mason University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and East Carolina University. Her articles have appeared in JAC, Rhetoric Review, and The Raymond Carver Review, as well as several edited collections.
1 Authenticating the Liar
2 The Force of the Fit
3 The Politics of Ethos
4 Inhabiting the Call to Change
5 Conclusion: Passionate Linkages