[KB] Editing Redux

James Klumpp jklumpp at umd.edu
Mon Jan 23 16:57:41 EST 2017

I am not certain that I disagree at all with Ed Appel.  But I do think 
that we err when we try to overburden the pentad by loading all Burkean 
insights on it.  Trouble is one of those.  We need to remember that the 
pentad was a vocabulary designed to work with variety of accounts.  
"This book is concerned with the basic forms of thought which, in 
accordance with the nature of the world as all men experience it, are 
exemplified in the attributing of motives. . . We shall use five terms 
as generating principle for our investigation.  In a rounded statement 
about motives . . ."  Now when we accomplish this task of understanding 
the ways in which the symbol using animal attributes motives, provides 
symbolic accounts of situations, we have not said all that is to be 
said.  Very well. Why does the pentad need to capture all of the world's 
insight?  Let Ed say that the dramatistic process is necessary to a 
fuller statement about diachronic narrative (and to human conflict).  I 
am fine with that.  I agree.  And, drama is a natural metaphor because, 
Burke argues elsewhere, the state of Babel creates disorder and 
conflict, as Jim Moore adds.  But let us not lose sight of the necessary 
work that the pentad does so well -- illuminating the variety of motives 
that mark the Babel of human speech.  Let it do that work well and let 
other insights take that necessary work and proceed further in the human 

In short, the addition of Trouble into the pentad does not enhance its 
ability to clarify accounts, in my judgment.  Save the insights that 
flow from Trouble and the many other terms of disorder that Ed has 
cataloged for a fuller discussion of the rich complex of terminologies 
of which the pentad is one.  Let the humble pentad do its work well.  If 
we do, I think that we will have less chance of losing the point that 
the pentad was posited for in the first place: to capture ways that 
symbolic accounts carve up the world differently.

Jim Klumpp

James F. Klumpp, Professor Emeritus
Department of Communication, University of Maryland
409 Upper Haw Dr., Mars Hill, NC 28754
Email: jklumpp at umd.edu
Voice: 828.689.4456
Website: http://terpconnect.umd.edu/~jklumpp/home.htm

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