[KB] Conversation Editing in Sum

Edward C Appel edwardcappel at frontier.com
Fri Feb 3 20:45:11 EST 2017


Just a few morethoughts before letting go of Burke’s “Trouble[free],” basic grammar-related“reenvisioning”---may I put it that way?---of dramatism (see Stan Lindsay’sposts on how basic the quest for the roots of a “grammar of motives” can be).

For pentadic criticism,I like the suggested metaphors of the X-ray and/or the MRI as replacements forskeleton (from Les, I believe). The connotation of a more living, breathing,developing document seems to make for a better fit. That proposal is a usefuloutcome of our discussion. The MRI suggests visually the “from what,” “throughwhat,” “to what” of PLF, as appliedvia the flexible and potentially transformative pentad.

I suggest the term“reenvisioning” as perhaps applicable to the Grammar, because it drains the blood (literally as well asfiguratively) out of the full-fledged “drama” of both pre-logological andlogological Burke (with the transition, as I see it, between 1950, with the Rhetoric, and 1951, with the Princetonpaper and the articles on the negative in QJSin ’52 and ‘53).  Both “perfection” andthe more thorough exploration and application of “Original Sin and Redemption,”and their relation to “Hierarchy” and social order, can be seen to commence in“On Human Behavior Considered ‘Dramatistically’” (Appendix, P&C, 2nd edition, 1954,the Princeton paper revised).

As for how closely ordistantly related are the pentad and the terms for order, I obviously opt forclose; others may opt for distant. Observe, though, that, even in his“Introduction: The Five Key Terms of Dramatism” (Grammar, pp. xv-xxiii), not just in that passage in “TerministicScreens” I already referenced, Burke says:

“And we shall note, inpassing, how the Rhetoric [the locus of that rowdy “Trouble” of “the Human Barnyard,”Rhetoric, p. 23; see, also, p. 19 inthe Rhetoric for a list of those“Troubles”] and the Symbolic hover about the edges of our central theme, theGrammar” (p. xviii).

That “vexing problem”that “Dramatism is always on the edge of” (LASA,p. 55), that “Trouble,” is always implicit in the terms of an utterance thatnames an act, a scene, an agent, an agency, and/or a purpose, in the discoursesof our species (the “Symbolic Species,” as Terrence Deacon [1997]analogously calls us). For heuristic purposes, we can disjoin, but not totallyeradicate, the implicit.

This “implicitness,”and Burke’s rather clear following through on it, is why I see late Burke,logological Burke, as not dislocative, but rather consistent, “entelechialized.”Sure, he didn’t write a book entitled Asymbolic of Motives, as appeared to be his wont. And yes, that “book” on“identity,” “self-expression,” “modes of appeal and expression in the finearts,” the “forms and method of art,” concern with “purely psychological orpsychoanalytic matters,” was sort of downplayed into separatecritical/theoretical essays of his in the ‘50s, ‘60s, and beyond. There’s asharp break in Burke’s trajectory in that regard.

 But what Burke did do, book-wise,logology-wise, seems to me to have been a thorough implementation of one ofBurke’s definitions of “logology” itself: Tracking down the implications ofwords in terms of the way in which they do our thinking for us via the kinds of“commonsense” observations and discriminations they suggest. The logologicalemphasis on the negative, the motive of perfection, the cycle of terms implicitin the idea of order, and theological drama as epistemic master screen (yes,Burke resonates with both “ironic” and “straight” readings of such) seems to meto be the entelechial flowering of what’s pivotal in ontological dramatism.

However, I think we’vechewed over that one before.

Stan, best wishes onyour new book!

Phil, daughter Beth gotback from a conference in Denver the night before your post. She called it an“awesome” city. Too bad Burke’s near coinage, “Ecology” (ATH, p. 150 n), has suddenly become, under our new regime, analmost invisible “little fellow.”

Bob, Burke’s highlightingof non-“neutral” terms (for Burke, the only kind there is) as characters in adrama gets play, also, in ATH, p.312.

Thanks for all thecontributions to this thread. I think the pentad has been nuanced.

Back to my dogmaticslumbers.


P.S. Remember, youcan’t really get to genre criticism with only the pentad, I don’t believe. Youneed full-bodied drama, with guilt-redemption.

Burke’s toolbox ischock-full.  I list 34 Burkean toolsand/or concepts in my summary chapter in the Primer, and add one more in an Addendum, the paradox of puresubstance. And there are more still.  Toborrow phrasing from Tilly Warnock, Burke affords many, many “ways in, waysout, ways roundabout” for the analysis of discourse.  


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