[KB] Editing Redux

Leslie Bruder bruderian at gmail.com
Tue Jan 31 01:38:59 EST 2017

Ed, James Klump, Robert Wess, Stan Lindsay and other Burkophiles,

Ed, I do wish I had more time on my hands (not to say blood) in order to
respond to the excellent posts in this thread.  The list of related
concepts you provided from Archetype and Entelechy is certainly exhaustive
and there isn’t any obvious or damning evidence that Burke strategically
avoided the term “archetype,” as you and Robert Wess have pointed out.   My
impression had been that he didn’t want his line of thought confused with
the Jungian vein and that until he could readily distinguish his ideas of
symbolic action from the archetypal symbols central to Jung’s theory of the
collective unconscious he would find ways to avoid or talk around those
ideas.  I look forward to reading Archetype and Entelechy as I am sure it
will enrich and deepen my understanding of the interplay of the diachronic
(dramatism) and the synchronic (logology).

The Pentad is a good candidate for the symbol, a sort of verbal equivalent
of the pentagon or pentagram.  As a generator of the basic forms of thought
its thorough employment would appear to be holistic and organic. I find it
easy to agree with James Klump and Stan Lindsay that its terms are not so
much separate categories as they are sets of relationships.  While the
Pentad’s terms are “stripped of specifics” the texts or phenomena examined
through its lens certainly are not.  Analogies are never total but the use
of the Pentad is something like taking an X-ray; clothing, the flesh seem
to disappear and we are left with a structure, a skeleton, which is no less
individuated than the outward form.  Unlike an autopsy, however, the X-ray
is taken of a living, still acting being.  Instead of trying to determine
cause of death, reconstruct the crime or even set the atomized and
dissected Frankenstein monster back into motion, a more organic and
minimally invasive procedure is used to understand what makes the living
thing tick.  Perhaps Burke is simply moving us toward a more organic and
ecologically sound way of being and thinking already manifest in the world
as perennial philosophy or any number of working world views, but that
conclusion would mask what is unique about his vision.

As archetype of archetypes or pattern of patterns, the conflict and
resolution of drama, as Wess reminds us, is analogous to the conflict and
resolution of ideas.  That “characters in a drama can be viewed as ideas”
(allegory) and “ideas in a philosophy can be viewed as characters in a
drama” (reverse allegory) not only alleges the interchangeability of idea
and character, it proves an excellent interface for the diachronic and the
synchronic, the two halves of Burke’s Symbolon.  Of the four kinds of form
outlined in Counter-Statement, progressive form was further broken down
into syllogistic and  qualitative (It may be more accurate to say “broken
up”).   So when we say that it is the “tragic rhythm” of a well constructed
plot that makes it comparable to a “well conducted deductive and inductive
argument,” (Rueckert 22) we are on the verge of determining the perhaps
intimate relationship between epiphany and proof.

There is a third category of reasoning which Burke all but abstracted
(abducted) from Poe’s *The Philosophy of Composition* and I anticipate it
will throw a lot of light on the resolution of the conflict between the
poetic and the mathematic mind, but for the moment I need to shut down.


On Wed, Jan 25, 2017 at 7:23 PM, <wessr at oregonstate.edu> wrote:

> Hi all, interesting discussion. Just want to add a comment on the pentad--
> The pentad comes from drama, of course, and drama is conflict and
> resolution. Burke sees characters and ideas as interchangeable--that is,
> characters in a drama can be viewed as ideas and ideas in a philosophy can
> be viewed as characters in a drama ("Poetic Motive," p. 60). Ideas can
> conflict and their conflict can be resolved, analogous to drama. A
> particularly clear example is Burke's analysis of Kant in GM. Agent in Kant
> resolves conflict, both the particular conflict that Hume uncovered and
> that awoke Kant with a "jolt" (GM 186) and more generally the conflict
> between motion and action. Agent is where Kant positions both empirical
> science (motion) and moral freedom (action). Philosophy's "basic ways and
> aims," Burke insists, "are to be viewed in terms of poetic action" (GM 190).
> Drama is also arguably the archetype of archetypes.
> Bob
> Quoting Edward C Appel <edwardcappel at frontier.com>:
> Jim M,
>>           There?sno doubt that Burke did not invent or first discover and
>> explore the ?Trouble?or ?conflict? inherent in drama. Such analysis has
>> been around for a long, longtime, as we know.
>> Phil,
>>           Thanksfor those quotes from your letter from Burke back in the
>> 1970s. The more we getgeneral access to those more informal statements of
>> Burke?s, the better. Thenotion of Burke urging a further ?perfecting? of
>> his philosophy by his readersand interpreters is both encouraging and
>> characteristic of his style of thoughtand composition.
>>           JimK,
>>           Yousay you basically agree with me. I say I basically agree
>> with you. In sayingthat I agree with the way you characterize the pentad
>> and its function is tosay, also, that I agree with the authors of the
>> ?Trouble[some]? article in the KBJ on that score. They can?t find?Trouble?
>> in the Grammar. There?s no need for ?Trouble,? i.e.,the ?conflict? of
>> full-fledged drama and all its consequences, to be in the Grammar. These
>> ?basic forms of[pentadic] thought,? as Burke calls them, for ?attributing
>> motives,? derived asStan says from the grammar of language itself, can be
>> used on what Burkeindicates is a ?general,? high level of abstraction to
>> bring to the surface ina discourse the motivational strategies at work to
>> finesse listeners andreaders into concerted action. Those twists, feints,
>> and sleights of hand maynot be apparent on the surface.
>>           WhatI disagree with in the KBJ article inquestion is the
>> authors? broader statement that ?Trouble? is not to be foundanywhere in
>> Burke?s corpus, that, indeed, this implicit and ultimatelynecessary
>> dramatic concept should be attributed to Jerome Bruner, as Bruner
>> hasinterpreted and employed Burke. Various terms and uses of the
>> ?Trouble[some]?guilt-sacrifice-redemption cycle are scattered throughout
>> Burke?s earlywritings, and then in more detailed anatomical analysis,
>> starting at least inBurke?s Princeton conference paper (1951), published as
>> an appendix to the 2ndedition of P&C in 1954. Thechapter, ?The First Three
>> Chapters of Genesis,? in RR, we surely know, brings this trajectory to a
>> most thoroughgoingconclusion.
>>           Now,in my Primer, I do two relevantthings: In the first three
>> chapters, I show, I do believe, how theguilt-redemption cycle, or terms
>> implicit in the idea of order, devolve fromthe pentad, or the basic grammar
>> of language. Drama in all its aspects isimplicit in the language humans use
>> even ?trivially,? as Burke says early in RR, the book that brings this
>> trajectoryof implications into full view, ifelliptically. I entitled
>> Chapter 1 in the Primer, ?The General, Implicitly MoralPattern of Verbal
>> Action?; Chapter 2, ?The Specific, Explicitly Moral Patternof Verbal
>> Action?; Chapter 3, ?A Paradigm for Invention of Discourse andAnalysis of
>> Texts That Combines the Two Patterns.? This generic pattern thenbrcomes the
>> basis for distinguishing Burke?s notions of ?tragic? drama, ?comic?drama,
>> and ?burlesque? drama, by way of various levels of dramatic intensity. Iadd
>> my conception of ?melodrama,? about which Burke does not have as much tosay.
>> In my Addendum 3, Iexplain, in my humble way, how the pentad can be
>> detached from the trajectoryof implications Burke explicitly offers in
>> ?Terministic Screens? in LASA, and used as a ?Separate CriticalTool.? I
>> highlight three aspects of Burke?s creative employment of thesefundamental
>> grammatical concepts:
>> First, in discurse, asin philosophies, one pentadic term, one of these
>> basic forms of thought, tendsto get emphasized. I tie this tendency to
>> Burke?s notions of ?perfection? or?entelechy.?
>> Second, another pentadicterm will often be coupled with this source of
>> overarching explanation in whatBurke calls a ?ratio.?
>> Third, these basicforms of thought that imply one another are, in each
>> case, not tied down to anyparticular entities or processes whatsoever.
>> Pentadic terms are eminently?flexible.? I use ?war? and the ?human body? to
>> show how they each can be anagent, act, purpose, means, or scene, depending
>> on the route of strategicambiguity a rhetor chooses. Burke?s metaphor of
>> the ?alembic? of transformationvia the melting of metal serves as
>> descriptive such strategic transformation. Ireference Clark Rountree?s
>> superb book on ?Motives in Bush vs. Gore? asillustration.
>> So I don?t think I?mstinting on the value and uniqueness of pentadic
>> theory and criticism. I justhave not personally used it. I excuse that
>> lacuna by reference to my admittedly?morbid? personality. That?s what Burke
>> says is the drawback in pentadic theoryand criticism alone. It?s not MORBID
>> enough. And ?morbid[ity]? is ?Trouble?!
>> All this raises theissue of late Burke in relation to early Burke. My
>> simple mind sees morecongruities than dislocations between Burke before the
>> 1950s, and Burke afterthe turn of the half-century.
>> But time?s up fortoday. That question for later.
>> Ed
>>     On Monday, January 23, 2017 4:57 PM, James Klumpp <jklumpp at umd.edu>
>> wrote:
>>  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
>> drama.
>> 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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