Monday, April 26, 2010

Topic: Genre

10-second review: One purpose in choosing reading assignments is to provide texts from different genres.

Title: “From Hitler to Hurricanes, Vietnam to Virginia Tech: Using Historical Nonfiction to Teach Rhetorical Context.” Lisa Decklehimer. English Journal (March 2020), 55-60.

Quote: “…expanding their view of what counts as ‘genre’ helps them to see that rhetoric can take shape in any text—speeches, political cartoons or blogs. As teachers, we will always be able to draw in historical nonfiction as learning resources.”

Comment: In other words, rhetoric occurs regardless of genre?

Think of “rhetoric” as persuasion. Hard not to think of rhetoric in this sense as manipulative. It is not simply the display of rhetoric in genre but real emotions. An excellent source is Best American Essays of the [20the] Century. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Antwan. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.

Joyce Carol Oates, one of the editors, had to say about this collection of essays: “My belief is that art should not be comforting; for comfort, we have mass entertainment, and one another. Art should provoke, disturb and arouse our emotions, expand our sympathies in directions we may not anticipate or even wish.” Most of these essays provoke. They paint a vivid portrait of issues in the twentieth century.

In other words, art as propaganda?

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