Chapter published in:Style, Rhetoric and Creativity in Language: In memory of Walter (Bill) Nash (1926-2015)
Edited by Paul Simpson
[Linguistic Approaches to Literature 34] 2019
► pp. 57–76
Chapter 3The doubling of design in Walter Nash’s Rhetoric
The Wit of Persuasion
This chapter takes as its point of departure a simple diagram which appears at the beginning of Walter Nash’s (1989) Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion. As argued, this diagram offers a key to understanding Nash’s unique conception of classical, renaissance and modern rhetoric. Focusing upon the rhetorical canon of taxis/disposition, or arrangement, the chapter explores how Nash celebrates the skill of writers of canonical literary texts, and of canny speakers in everyday situations, to design powerful schemes of persuasion. It is suggested that listeners and readers appreciate the aesthetic realization of language designed to persuade. The author observes how Nash’s approach is to encourage receivers of language actively to take power in rhetorical situations by parodying and rewriting, in order to critically understand and creatively revise these schemes of persuasion. These observations are complemented by an analysis of a press conference held by US President Donald Trump’s first press secretary, Sean Spicer.
Keywords: CNN, disposition (in rhetoric analysis), ‘mythogram’, persuasion, political speech, rhetorical, taxis
- 2.Rhetoric, basically defined
- 3.A complication in the definition, a problem in the theory
- 4.Power in parody
- 5.Diagrammatic taxis
- 6.“And Jim Acosta Joins Us Now”: Diagrammatic taxis at CNN
- 7.Conclusion: Design within design = “observing ourselves, while acting”
Published online: 28 November 2019
Anderson Cooper Transcripts
2017 Aired 16 March 2017. CNN 16 March 2017 http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1703/16/acd.01.html (2 March 2018).
2017 Heated White House Exchange You Need to See. CNN Politics 16 March 2017 http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/03/16/spicer-wiretapping-defense-full-clip-sot.cnn (2 March 2018).
Cockcroft, R. & Cockcroft, S. M.
The Forest of Rhetoric
. n.d. http://rhetoric.byu.edu/ (2 March 2018).
Los Angeles Times
2017a Citing no evidence, Trump accuses Obama of tapping his phones during the election. Los Angeles Times 4 March 2017 https://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-citing-no-evidence-trump-accuses-obama-1488639184-htmlstory.html (27 March 2019)
2017b Our dishonest president. Los Angeles Times 15 July 2017 https://www.latimes.com/projects/la-ed-our-dishonest-president/ (27 March 2019).
2017 Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer. The White House 16 March 2017 https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/press-briefing-press-secretary-sean-spicer-031617/ (2 March 2018).
Cited by 1 other publications
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