[KB] New Story about KB
Edward C Appel
edwardcappel at frontier.com
Sat Nov 25 14:06:43 EST 2017
Anice article on Burke in the SpartaIndependent, Sparta a township adjacent to Andover. The only thing I’d takeexception to is the claim that Burke has become mostly “forgotten.”
Firstoff, Burke was never in his lifetime what we call today a “publicintellectual,” a famous academic or savant of one kind or another we often readand hear about in popular media. Burke was not a Galbraith or Kennan or Lippman, or even a Niebuhr (Burke’sfavorite theologian, he told me). Can’t be “forgotten” in a venue in which hewas never famous.
Second,Burke’s influence in the fields he is most associated with has hardly missed abeat, rhet/comm and literature. I thinkthere’s been a bit of a diminution inthe number of Burke articles appearing in the journals the past quarter of acentury, but not much. I think HaroldBlum of Yale had it right. I wrote to Blum in early 1992, asking him to give aplenary address at ECA in New Haven that spring. One of the topics I suggested: Would Burkesurvive into the future, what with the steamroller of postmodernism seeminglypushing aside everything else in its path. Blum replied he had no doubt at allthat Burke would outlive the “Frenchies.”
(Blumdid not address us. He would be out of town that weekend. Blum had been afeatured speaker at the [literary] BurkeConference at Seton Hall in December, 1986. I was there, Herb Simons was there,Don Burks was there, and a whole contingent of grad students from some Southernstate under the aegis of I forget who. The students were thrilled to get theirpicture taken with Burke.)
Wholives on in public or academic consciousness is always a fascinating query. Irecall a Time mag cover story on By Love Possessed by James Gould Cousinscirca 1958. It suggested that Cousins’work would live on in our “literature.” Haven’t heard anything about Cousins inrecent decades, except for John Updike’s retrospective on a 1949 novel byCousins, in 1999. Those of us in eastern PA who have had some distant association with Updike (know people who knew Updike’sfamily; one such: Of the sexual element in Updike’s novels, “I can’t believelittle Chonny writes like that!”) wonder whether Updike himself will survive.Absent the oversexualized “Rabbit” quartet---now publoished by Knopf as onebook---Updike, it says here, would have won a Nobel.
The“greatest rhetorician since Cicero”! I like that, Dave.
On Friday, November 24, 2017 9:42 AM, David Blakesley <david.blakesley at gmail.com> wrote:
Thought I'd share this new story about KB:
Kenneth Burke: Sage of AndoverBy Joseph PicardThe Sparta Independenthttp://www.spartaindependent.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20171122/FEATURES01/171129981
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