Kenneth Burke in/and/around Composition: A Look at the Journals

Jeff White

Presented at the Conference on College Composition and Communication
Chicago, March 1997

It seems we are left to do one of two things or both in a historical study: We can look at the material synchronically; that is, since it all exists right now, let's look at it all together, pretty much irrespective of the dates. Or we can do what I have seen Bob Connors do in his historical writing, and what makes perfect sense as the "other" alternative to "synchronic": we can look at the material diachronically. We can see it as a historical process--an evolution. In the first, we listen in; we sense a conversation--thinking we hear responses and finding meaning in dialectic as well as negotiation. In the second, we might imagine a time-line and a series of written lectures--each having improved or disproved the last, a process even more suggestive of dialectic and fully wrought with the agonism of Bloom's "anxiety of influence."

Burke's parlor metaphor engages each of these processes and allows for the assumption of both in concert. He claims:

Imagine that you enter a parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly what it is about. In fact, the discussion had already begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers: you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarrassment or gratification of your opponent, depending upon the quality of your ally's assistance. However, the discussion is interminable. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress. (Philosophy 110-111)

In this description, both elements I mentioned above co-mingle. Often, for participants, the conversation will have a history, but that history is, at times, atemporal: it is at once lost to memory (as epic pasts are and as exemplified in Burke’s phrase "the discussion had already begun long before any of [the current participants] got there") and it is also completely immediate (as in "You come late," so nothing can have a proper historical significance when you first encounter it). I think, then, that the "so what" of historical researchers is quite often to find parlors, to describe their walls, ceilings, and floor space, to listen to the current conversations and at the same time to hear the echoes of arguments long past as they bounce around the room. The job is to tell stories and to make something like little introductory pamphlets for hanging in a rack just outside the parlor door so the new people might make quicker sense of the discussion.

Why This Parlor?

The interest in Burke by Compositionists has long existed. In only the second year of this Conference on College Composition and Communication, 1950, Burke was invited to present his talk, "Rhetoric--Old and New." He told his audience that he would proceed "On the assumption that writing and the criticism of writing have an area in common," and though he would speak from the standpoint of literary criticism, he hoped that his talk "may be found relevant to the teaching of communication" (60). In 1955, Burke's "Linguistic Approach to Problems of Education," argued for an education system that, like older systems, based itself upon language skills as its central area of study. My research has shown that more and more, compositionsists who use Burke tend to be going back to that essay as their starting point despite the fact that Burke does not really make room in it for a "composition branch." His focus is more on linguistics and literary theory as informed by his extensive treatment of other disciplines like anthropology, sociology, psychology, and history.

In 1952, Marie Hochmuth Nichols wrote the essay "Kenneth Burke and the 'New Rhetoric'" which was the first attempt to present Burke as a "systematic thinker" and which began what William Ruekert, editor of Critical Responses to Kenneth Burke, identifies as "a long and healthy relationship between Burke and students of modern rhetoric," including W. Ross Winterowd (286).

Emergence of Composition/Recognition of Burke

Edward P.J. Corbett, in 1967, called Burke "one of the seminal thinkers of our time" and identified that people were finding "a more promising basis for a new rhetoric" in Burke's writing ("Revived?" 171). Winterowd would go on to write a Burkeian rhetoric, Rhetoric and Writing in 1965, and all of his work since (including "Dramatism in Themes and Poem," College English, 1983: discussed below) has exhibited a commitment to Burkeian rhetoric. In 1971, Corbett claimed, in an address titled "Rhetoric—Old and New" to the CCC conference (a definite play on Burke's 1950 presentation title):

Burke seems to have had the greatest staying power and the most influence [of the major figures in the mid-60's]. Burke's insistence that the new rhetoric must avail itself of the findings and insights of disciplines like anthropology, psychology, psycholinguistics, general semantics, and communications theory, has considerably broadened the purview of rhetoric . . . (3)

During that mid-sixties period, the capital "C" was attached to Composition according to Stephen North (15). At the same time Burke was being recognized as a synthesizer of multi-disciplinary methods of inquiry, Composition was emerging and demanding "new kinds of knowledge produced by new kinds of inquiry" and that inquiry would gain its authority by being "modeled in method and rigor on research in the sciences" (North 17).

Nail That Bastard Down

Corbett attaches historical significance to 1963 as well. He claims that in that year there was a "noticeable resurgence of interest in rhetoric among teachers of English--certainly among teachers of composition . . . [At that year's CCCC in Los Angeles], an unusual number of panels and workshops carried the word 'rhetoric' in their titles" ("Olden New" 1). During that time, much interaction between Compositionists and Speech/Communications scholars went on. And no doubt, as the influence of Nichols upon Winterowd, many other cross pollenations occurred. Winterowd would go on to write a Burkeian rhetoric, Rhetoric and Writing in 1965, and all of his work since (including "Dramatism in Themes and Poems," College English, 1983: discussed below) has exhibited a commitment to Burkeian rhetoric.

Corbett discusses two conferences held in 1970, of the National Developmental Project on Rhetoric. When Corbett discusses these two conferences in 1971, he admits that they may or may not be successful. And, really, for this project, that is inconsequential. What is consequential is that Burke is discussed by the participants, who come from diverse fields: Compositionists are exposed to Speech/Communications ways of understanding Burke.

Understanding Burke was not the simple task that Burke had hoped it would be. In a letter to Malcolm Cowley, Burke jokingly contested Cowley's criticism of A Rhetoric of Motives:

As regards review of Rhetoric as 'hard to follow.' (As attested by expert reader who has known author since age of three.) We cite (from review by Texas newspaperman in San Antonio Express): "The Rhetoric of Motives is a profound and rewarding book. Despite the newness of its concepts and its unconventional organization, it is not difficult reading.' Down with Babylonic ease; up with the vigor and wholesomeness of the cattleman. (297)

While this example shows a humorous side to Burke's attitude, he really was concerned that people have difficult time reading him. Richard Coe reports, "Though Burke gets upset every time I suggest this, many composition instructors have difficulty reading his work" ("Defining" 39). Of course, despite his annoyance with it, Burke has been consistently considered very difficult reading, even by Corbett, who claims, "like a good many other seminal thinkers, he is not a very lucid expositor of his theory" ("Revived?" 171). Because of this difficulty, many writers have worked to clarify Burke as much as possible so that others may approach him with some sort of grasp on his general principles.

Attempts to understand Burke have come in at least three forms. First, many essays and presentations attempt to focus upon one term or theme in Burke's work. In my own study, both Hassett's and Quandahl's essays on "mortification" and Rick Coe's "Defining Rhetoric and Us," an elaboration of Burke's definition of man, qualify as this sort of approach. Many essays outside of composition attempt this sort of explanation of Burke as do composition textbooks, which often contain sections which focus only on "form" or "the pentad."

Another method used to understand Burke is the attempt to systematize his work--sometimes completely, others across broad sections. The individuals who attempt these explanations often present arguments which cite from a broad range of Burke's terms and works in order to establish a working understanding of Burke's "big picture." Because of its importance to bringing attention to Burke, and because it is cited as influencing Winterowd, who in turn influences many later Burkeians, I have included Nichols "Kenneth Burke and the 'New Rhetoric'" in my study. Her essay is the archetype for systematizing Burke. Other essays in this category include Tilly Warnock's "Reading Kenneth Burke: Ways In, Ways Out, Ways Roundabout," Winterowd's "Dramatism in Themes and Poems," and Virginia Allen's "Some Implications of Kenneth Burke's 'Way of Knowing' for Composition Theory." Aside from Nichols' article, I have excluded most basic introductions to Burke because of my narrowed scope, which I will discuss later in this essay. However, many broad introductions to Burke exist, and I would encourage individuals interested in studying Burke and Composition to begin outside the articles in this survey and with the set of introductions in a book like the Landmark Essays on Kenneth Burke.

A third type of categorization that writers have tried with Burke is one which attempts to place Burke within a "school" or to associate him with some "father" of rhetoric. Michael Hassett, who identifies Burke with the Sophists in his "Sophisticated Burke: Kenneth Burke as a Neosophistic Rhetorician," uses the term "namebranding" for this process. While Hassett engages in namebranding in order, he claims, to keep "in the conversation as an important voice" (388), other attempts have been made to make Burke more accessible. Virginia Holland's book,Counterpoint: Kenneth Burke and Aristotle's Theories of Rhetoric (1959), attaches Burke to Aristotle because, Michael Leff claims, when Speech departments first became aware of Burke, "the field was dominated by an Aristotelian paradigm" and "Burke was too important to disregard, but both his idiom and his interests seemed remote from traditional scholarship." It was "comforting" to link "Burke with the then-unchallenged master of the field" (115-6). However, Leff's criticisms are made in an effort to link Burke "reciprocally" with Cicero. In "Burke's Ciceronianism," Leff's goal is to identify the two by citing "certain features (perhaps 'anecdotes') the two share in common and a rationale for classifying those features within the same cluster relative to a conceptual and not a chronological perspective on the history of rhetoric" (116). While each of these attempts to situate Burke in relation to another rhetorical viewpoint, each also leaves room for Burke's own individuality as a theorist.

Another approach to this same method of categorization has been to locate Burke in an "era." Some early attempts to explore Burke and his relationship to Coleridge suggest that Burke has "romantic" tendencies. However, a much larger body of work has explored Burke as a "modernist." Jack Selzer's recent book, Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village: Conversing with the Moderns 1915-1931 (1996), describes Burke's early years as often lost to contemporary theorists and as being extremely modernist. Typically, associating Burke with the modernists is a way of dismissing his importance today or of qualifying uses of his theory. Michael Hassett has been one of the primary voices in arguing for the usefulness of seeing Burke in light of postmodern theories. He claims, "Burke allows us to create a writer who writes with the new deconstructive reader in mind, a writer that finds a responsibility, hence an 'ethic,' within the nature, or principle, of the postmodern reader" (180). Branding Burke as either of these labels allows theorists to impute upon him the general assumptions of those movements. It seems that typical responses to his attitudes toward literary theory and history are somewhat "Modern" while his approach to language is often described with "Postmodern" terms.

Coming to terms with Burke--whether through defining specific terms or clusters, or by arranging his work into some larger system, or in attaching him to more familiar structures of meaning--has pre-occupied many of the guests to the Burkeian parlor. These attempts have moved from the solo province of Speech Communication scholars, like Nichols and Leff, into the territory of Compositionists, like Selzer and Hassett, as Burke has made that move.

So What's a Discipline to Do But Print the Invites?

When in 1967, Corbett said, as quoted above, that "many students of rhetoric" had detected a "promising basis" in Burke's work ("Revived?" 171), he had no idea where the discipline would take Burke. He speculated that:

If the same kind of topnotch people who turned their attention in the post war years to the development of semantics, linguistics, and literary criticism apply their talents to the development of rhetorical theory and practice, then we are likely to have a vigorous revival of rhetoric, and the revival will increase its chances of creating a valuable legacy for the profession.

Attention to the "New Rhetoricians" did, indeed, begin a "revival of rhetoric," and it seems Composition is sure to have a "valuable legacy." I am not asserting a direct causation between the "New Rhetoric" and Composition's solidification into a discipline, but the role of the "New Rhetoric" has been an important one.

James Berlin identifies the New Rhetoric as one of three pedagogical theories to arise in response to Current-Traditional practices. The other two include Neo-Aristotelian, or Classicist, and Neo-Platonic, or Expressionist. He identifies the New Rhetorical theories with those of Ann Berthoff'sForming/Thinking/Writing: The Composing Imagination and Young, Becker, and Pike's Rhetoric: Discovery and Change--each backed by the work of Burke and Richards (773). Berlin admits that he is "convinced that the pedagogical approach of the New Rhetoricians is the most intelligent and most practical alternative available, serving in every way the best interests of our students" (766). His observation is based largely upon the stress which the "New Rhetoric" places upon language play. He heralds the New Rhetoric's applicability to teaching by stating "we are not simply offering training in a useful technical skill . . . We are teaching a way of experiencing the world, a way of ordering and making sense of it" (776). Because of its placement of truth in socially contingent linguistic structures, the New Rhetoric best yields the results Berlin values. Using Berlin’s categories of contemporary pedagogical theories, Lillian Bridwell-Bowles connects the assumptions of the New Rhetoric with "qualitative" research methods. With that, we can remember back to the value Corbett placed upon Burke's use of anthropology, sociology, and other "human sciences," which traditionally use more qualitative approaches.

The importance of developing the assumptions, terminologies, and theories of the New Rhetoric, and hence of Burke, seems to be tied to the importance for developing Composition methods in general--especially if we agree with Berlin's labels and values (which might be harder to sell wholesale than I am pretending).

But even if we do not accept Berlin's assessment, the contributions which Burke's treatment of language have made in Composition pedagogy have been important in their own right. From the discipline come many of the members of the Kenneth Burke Society and at the CCCC special sessions are set aside for the Burke Special Interest Groups. Burke's A Rhetoric of Motives is mandatory reading in most Rhetoric-Composition programs. The recently formed Burke-L discussion list regularly treats matters of Composition pedagogy. And, perhaps most important, citations of Burke makes regular appearances in the discipline's journals, textbooks, and theoretical treatises. Burke's philosophies have made good on the promise that Corbett identified in them thirty years ago.

The scholars who focus most on Burke and who derive pedagogical and theoretical texts from his philosophies are engaged in a conversation with one another. And as the metaphor works in Burke's model, they expect new people to come in and engage in "heated discussion" with them. Many of the articles I examined invited more discussion. Mullican cites Winterowd's request for "a serious effort to make Burke teachable" (12). Coe chides his readers for "honoring North America's greatest rhetorician, Kenneth Burke, more than we use him," and his essay continues, explaining Burke's complex definition of Man so that others may be able to use it ("Defining" 39). Hassett notes that since Burke's death, more and more people seem to be focussing on understanding his rhetoric, and he optimistically suggests that "his influence on composition and rhetoric may actually increase with his passing" ("Increasing" 471). And, in discussing an on going debate with Charles Kneupper, Clayton Lewis suggests a sense of the Burkeian Parlor that I mentioned before: "Burke goes on to show us that, in more ultimate terms, my position, together with Professor Kneupper's, together with that of people fascinated by the secret--all are part of a single ongoing act which recreates again and again our consubstantiality" (312). The conversation invites those "fascinated by the secret."

For Lewis, the conversation and the understanding of whatever the topic is in the Burkeian parlor stems from a scene-act ratio. That is, the conversation is an atemporal synthesis--a constant new, but familiar awareness that is generated by the intense merging of viewpoints. Because of that, because a student entering the conversation for the first time will be greeted with a wealth of merged information, she should be prepared because the scene requires that soon after her entry, she contribute. A historical account of the legacy behind Burke would be helpful, if not necessary, for the students entering the conversation. My project is an attempt to create such an account.

A Researcher's Parlor is His Kingdom; or, What's the Circumference of this Scene?

Insofar as any study will admit its boundaries as it unfolds, the present one's boundaries can quickly be surveyed. I have limited my examination to disciplinary journal essays which discuss both Kenneth Burke and Composition. In this sense, one could say that I reduced the scope or circumference of my scene to a very narrow aperture. One could look at the entire corpus of writing on Burke, or at the textbooks, conference presentations, and theoretical books on Burke within Composition alone, or one could look at Burke and English Studies (as distinct from Communication Studies). Any of these could provide a fertile scene for extended examination. In fact, I would suggest, based upon the outcome of the current study, that a broader study would be more helpful and more truly informative in tracing trends from one area to another within the discipline.

I chose to focus only on the journal articles for several reasons. The most urgent, of course, was time restraints. Because I had only a semester to perform this study, I felt that looking at one facet of the discipline would be informative and would help me define my search parameters before I engage in another phase of the research. Too, attempting to abstract from specific textbooks their certain "Burkeian" influences would be an extremely difficult process--especially if divorced from the context of the journals since they would inform me of how people were using Burke in the public forum. Because of indexing, computer searches, and works cited pages, the method for searching journals proved to be much more efficient as well. More difficult would be the process of opening textbook after textbook and reading for hints of some use of Burke. Finally, the study of journals has been mounting more and more interest recently (Goggin 340, n5).

Maureen Daly Goggin claims in her recent essay, "Composing a Discipline: The Role of Scholarly Journals in the Disciplinary Emergence of Rhetoric and Composition Since 1950," claims "journals serve as an important locus of disciplinary power, shaping a discipline even as they are shaped by it. It is precisely this dynamic, powerful, reciprocal role played by journals in a discipline that make them important artifacts to study" (324). Of the eight journals her study focusses on, the majority of my articles come from five: College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Journal of Advanced Composition, Rhetoric Reviewand Written Communication. I also include College English and one article from the Canadian journal, English Quarterly.

My selection process was more or less open and driven by my search results. I performed a preliminary search on the computer indices of ERIC (both collections), EXAC, and the MLA. After locating the articles I found via these searches, I first examined their "works cited" and "notes" pages for further articles. Next, I searched the bibliographies provided in Critical Responses to Kenneth Burke and The Legacy of Kenneth Burke, which updates and amends the former. Finally, though the above mentioned bibliographies are quite comprehensive, I made a cursory check of the bound MLA Index for the years not included on the ERIC database. Though it was unnecessary given my findings, I had determined as criteria for inclusion that the journals must be "Composition" or "English" journals. The articles also were required to explicitly discuss writing or composition. I later became a bit more flexible on that criteria if an article seemed to be on the "fringe" of composition or if it was cited by several other articles.

I am positive that I missed articles that could be considered fitting for this study. As I copied an article, I would often look at the works cited for the articles just before and after. As a guess, I would say twenty or thirty percent of the articles adjacent to the selected ones included Burke. Of course citing Burke and being focussed on Burke and Composition are two different things, but so are explicit (read "keywordable") references to Burke and thorough, clearly Burke-driven, but implicit (read "non-keywordable") uses of his work. I am not sure how to remedy this problem in a search unless one were simply to sit down and scan every article in the published history of Composition.

Once Inside: The Method of a Parlor Dweller

After locating all of the essays my search revealed, I began reading through them. At first, I had nothing specific to look for, and admittedly, by the end, I was still not so sure what I wanted to examine. I finally decided on some relatively obvious and external fields. The essay dates, main theses, primary terms or themes from Burke, and references to other essays in the study. I also looked, though found this harder to identify, at the "type" of essays I had: "theoretical," "pedagogical," or "fringe/meta." While the first two categories are somewhat self-explanatory, the third contains essays that discuss circumstances around teaching composition. They are essays which employ Burke's terminology or approach to studying department dynamics or social structures without mentioning writing classrooms or composition specifically.

I am not entirely happy with my method, and if I move beyond this stage of the project, I will alter it; although, I still am not sure how. As will be obvious below, I did not really go far beyond the external factors. Finding inter-relationships and defining "influence" forever alluded me. I could see explicit, cited inter-relationships, and common uses of terms was obvious, but finding theoretical "development" was difficult. I am not entirely sure that what I would call "development" occurred. I went into the project assuming that I would find overlaying or branching in the articles as they proceeded through time--as if one or two key articles inspired two elaborations which inspired two more and so on. While I am not sure if my "method" would have accounted for that anyway, I am pretty sure that it did not occur so neatly.

Discussion...What I Found

I have shown, on Appendix B, a time-line of sorts. As can be easily seen, it is relatively bare. Not much work was done in any one year, except 1993 and 1995 (which, I am guessing is the year Hassett finished a dissertation on Burke--though I don't know). However, an essay on Burke and Composition appears just about every year. Certainly, that is not what we might consider a profound influence. I believe, however, that if one were to expand the scope in some of the ways I mentioned in my "Method" section, one would see that Burke is somewhat more pervasive than this project can claim.

The essays that appear in the first few years are relatively short and not terribly illuminating. Corbett, in 1967, simply calls an awareness of Burke; he does not attempt to use Burke in anyway at all. The next article, in 1976 comes from a Canadian journal, English Quarterly, which is certainly not one of the "biggies" in Composition. Philip Keith's essay, "Burke for the Composition Class" in 1977 provides the first look at an essay designed to examine Burke's "dialectic methods" in order to propose "a teaching paradigm for a composition course" (348). Keith explores several dialectic methods from Burke, including a study of "etymology," "Thesis as Dialectic," "The Complex in the Simple," "Expansion of Circumference," and "Translation." He describes how he uses each of these methods in various ways to open students eyes to "the thinking process rather than the form of the finished product" (348). Certainly Keith was not the first to use Burke in his discussion of writing, Bryant Fillion had completed a dissertation aimed at establishing a "Burkeian rhetoric" in 1968. W. Ross Winterowd had published Rhetoric: A Synthesis which he claims has a heavy "stamp" of Burke upon it. But it is with Keith's essay on Burke for the classroom that an emergence within the journal segment of the discipline begins.

In the next year, Joseph Comprone published an essay on Burke and teaching writing in which he suggests various ways which the pentad can be used to understand the relationships between teachers, students, and the projects they do. I would identify this as an attempt at a "meta-analysis." Comprone's examination is outside of pedagogy, and it anticipates other, more sophisticated articles such as Alice Roy's "The Grammar and Rhetoric of Inclusion" (1995) in which Roy analyzes the nature of "inclusivity" and "diversity" as employed in the discourse of postsecondary reform. Again, this is a use of Burke to examine discourse outside of composition pedagogy, but still effecting it.

In some ways, I saw articles such as the last two as "fringe" as much as they were "meta." Under that heading, I would also include Sheard's "Kairos and Kenneth Burke's Psychology of Political and Social Communication" and Kastely's "Kenneth Burke's Comic Rejoinder to the Cult of Empire." Each of these addressed issues concerning composition--a definition of the classic Greek term kairos and an approach to teaching and criticizing "ways of resisting a hegemony whose very success threatens a new disaster and even deeper forms of alienation" (Kastely 307). Not surprisingly, these articles, as Roy's, appear in College English. The articles are targetted for a broader audience; while at the same time, they draw upon the resources developed by their peers using Burke.

Articles such as these are important in the scope of Burke studies, and in fact, they may get more directly at projects Burke was interested in--criticism and understanding of language as its used in social structures. In his own essay, "Questions and Answers About the Pentad" (1978), Burke admits to his CCC audience that he did not have composition in mind when he discussed the pentad. He did not intend it to be a heuristic device, as it had been (and still is) commonly used. Burke suggested that Compositionists at least begin to incorporate "the ratios" and "circumference" in their teaching of invention through the pentad (333). This short essay is the only piece Burke published in a Composition journal. It's direct impact on Composition Studies was probably minimal. Since only four articles came before this one, no proper balance, or before and after, picture can be generated. However, Burke's words did not go completely unheeded. It is cited in three of the essays I have, and it is discussed in essays outside of Composition. Too, Burke was actually discussing the writers of textbooks, where the precedent had been set to include the pentad along side the five W's and other such devices.

Nonetheless, Burke's message comes through very clearly in the next essay published, Virginia Allen's "Some Implications of Kenneth Burke's 'Way of Knowing' for Composition Theory." She attempts to recontextualize the pentad in Burke's behaviorist-semanticist epistemology. She warns her colleagues:

Composition theory has had a prolonged academic infancy. As we learn to examine theories as theories and not just as pedagogical tools, we must begin by recognizing the relationship between the epistemology wihch underlines each of the theories we examine and the implications of the epistemology for the production of discourse. (20)

Her essay reinforces Burke's concern, not by repetition, but by explanation and exploration. Seconding Allen's comments is Charles Kneupper in his short essay, "The Relation of Agency to Act in Dramatism: A Comment on 'Burke's Act'" (appearing in 1985 along with Clayton Lewis' response to Kneupper, who was responding to a longer essay by Lewis--this is the vital parlor banter, no doubt). Kneupper claims that we must realize that "Burke and his followers have devoted comparatively little attention to the application of dramatism to the composing process" (306). An interesting study that needs to follow this one is an examination of teaching practices that focus on the pentad as invention heuristic. While the essayists do not really engage the pentad very much in Composition journals, it still makes it into the textbooks in its more or less watered down versions.

Essayists in the journals, however, picked up on a wide variety of topics from Burke's terminology. Tilly Warnock discussed Burke's textual playfulness with which he "invites his readers to participate in the symbolic action, in the dancing of attitudes" (62). Bill Karis discusses Burke's term "occupational psychosis" in light of how instructors approach collaborative work. Karis suggests that we develop less of a Rogerian and more of a Burkeian attitude toward collaboration. Virginia Anderson works with Burke's concept of "constitutions," and she argues that students must learn to see that constitutions possess gaps between what they promise and what they deliver. In some ways, she does as Hassett does in playing Burke's terms through postmodern assumptions. Her goal is to encourage teachers to help students see how they can "reconstruct democracy" by close exploration of the Constitution and other cultural documents.

As is obvious, Burke's work has gone in many different ways within Composition theory. Much of his work is yet unexplored; however, newer scholars like Michael Hassett, who published three essays on Burke in 1995, and Ellen Quandahl take new turns within Burke's work. Hassett and Quandahl both explore the term "mortification" within Burke. Mortification is the act of exposing "goads" which may potentially harm us or prevent us from keeping our terministic screens under our own control. Quandahl's essay follows Hassett's and both supports and questions it in light of postmodern culture theories. With work like this growing upon the work of previous scholars like Virginia Allen, W. Ross Winterowd, and Rick Coe, who all cleared away much of the "terminological underbrush" they originally found in Burke (a clearing away which is not so much a devaluing, as an exploring and interpretting), the field of Composition still stands to gain much from the work that Corbett identified as "promising" to the newly forming Compositionsists of 1967.

Works Cited

Berlin, James. "Contemporary Composition: The Major Pedagogical Theories." College English4.8 (1982): 765-77.

Bridwell-Bowles, Lillian. "Research in Composition: Issues and Methods." in An Introduction to Composition Studies. Ed. Erika Lindemann and Gary Tate. New York: Oxford UP, 1991. 94-118.

Burke, Kenneth. "Linguistic Approach to Problems of Education." in Modern Philosophies and Education. Ed. Nelson B. Henry. Chicago: National Society ofr the Study of Education, 1955. 259-303.

-----. The Selected Correspondence of Kenneth Burke and Malcolm Cowley. Ed. Paul Jay. New York: Viking, 1988.

Goggin, Maureen Daly. "Composing a Discipline: The Role of Scholarly Journals in the Disciplinary Emergence of Rhetoric and Composition Since 1950." Rhetoric Review 15.2 (1997): 322-348.

Nichols, Marie Hocmuth. "Kenneth Burke and the 'New Rhetoric.'" Quarterly Journal of Speech 38 (April 1952) 133-44.

North, Stephen. The Making of Knowledge in Composition: Portrait of an Emerging Field. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1987.

Appendix A

Alphabetical listing of essays studied

Allen, Virginia. "Some Implications of Kenneth Burke's 'Way of Knowing' for Composition Theory." Journal of Advanced Composition 3.1 (1982): 10-23.

Anderson, Virginia. "Antithetical Ethics: Kenneth Burke and the Constitution," JAC 15.2 (1995): 261-279.

Arrington, Phillip. "A Dramatistic Approach to Understanding and Teaching the Paraphrase." CCC 39 (May 1988): 185-197.

Burke, Kenneth. "Questions and Answers about the Pentad." CCC 29 (1978): 330-335.

Coe, Richard. "Defining Rhetoric--and Us." Journal of Advaced Composition 10.1 (1990): 39-52.

-----. "Beyond Diction: Using Burke to Empower Words--And Wordlings." Rhetoric Review 11.2 (1993): 368-377.

Comprone, Joseph. "Kenneth Burke and the Teaching of Writing." CCC 29.4 (1978): 336-40.

Corbett, Edward P.J. "What is Being Revived?" CCC 18 (1967): 166-172.

Graves, Heather Brodie. "Regrinding the Lens of Gender: Problematizing 'Writing as a Woman.'" Written Communication 10.2 (1993): 139-163.

Hassett, Michael. "Sophisticated Burke: Kenneth Burke as a Neosophistic Rhetorician." Rhetoric Review 13.2 (1995): 371-390.

-----. "Constructing an Ethical Writer for the Postmodern Scene." RSQ 25 (1995): 179-196.

-----. "Increasing Response-ability through Mortification: A Burkean Perspective on Teaching Writing." JAC 15.3 (1995): 471-488.

Karis, Bill. "Conflict in Collaboration: A Burkean Perspective." Rhetoric Review 8.1 (1989): 113-126.

Kastely, James. "Kenneth Burke's Comic Rejoinder to the Cult of Empire." College English 58.3 (1996): 307-326.

Keith, Philip. "Burke for the Composition Class." CCC 28.4 (1977): 348-351.

Kneupper, Charles. "The Relation of Agency to Act in Dramatism: A Comment on 'Burke's Act.'"College English 46.3 (1985): 305-308.

Lewis, Clayton. "Burke's Act in A Rhetoric of Motives." College English 46.4 (1984): 368-376.

Lewis, Clayton. "Clayton Lewis Responds." College English 46.3 (1985): 308-312.

Mullican, James S. "Kenneth Burke's Dramatism and Rhetoric: Implications for Teaching."English Quarterly 8.4 (1976): 11-20.

Quandahl, Ellen. "'It's Essentially as Though This Were Killing Us': Kenneth Burke on Mortification and Pedagogy." RSQ 27.1 (1997): 5-22.

Roy, Alice. "The Grammar and Rhetoric of Inclusion." College English 57.2 (1995): 182-95.

Schiappa, Edward. "Burkean Tropes and Kuhnian Science: A Social Constructionist Perspective on Language and Reality." Journal of Advanced Composition 13.2 (1993): 401-22.

Sheard, Cynthia Miecznikowski. "Kairos and Kenneth Burke's Psychology of Political and Social Communication." College English 55.3 (1993): 291-310.

Warnock, Tilly. "Reading Kenneth Burke: Ways In, Ways Out, Ways Roundabout." College English 48.1 (1986): 62-75.

Winterowd, W. Ross. "Dramatism in Themes and Poem." College English 45.6 (1983): 581-588.

Appendix B:  Dates and Publications of texts in this study








Col Eng






Eng Qua


W Comm