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Philosophy, Rhetoric, Literary Criticism

Philosophy, Rhetoric, Literary Criticism


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NLEB (Other formats: Hardcover)
264 pages, 6 x 9


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About the Book

Gary A. Olson presents six in-depth interviews with internationally prominent scholars outside of the discipline and twelve response essays written by noted rhetoric and composition scholars on subjects related to language, rhetoric, writing, philosophy, feminism, and literary criticism. The interviews are with philosopher of language Donald Davidson, literary critic and critical legal studies scholar Stanley Fish, cultural studies and African American studies scholar bell hooks, internationally renowned deconstructionist J. Hillis Miller, feminist literary critic Jane Tompkins, and British logician and philosopher of science Stephen Toulmin.

Susan Wells and Reed Way Dasenbrock provide distinctly divergent assessments of the application of Donald Davidson’ s language theory to rhetoric and composition, and especially to writing pedagogy. Patricia Bizzell and John Trimbur explore how Stanley Fish’ s neopragmatism might be useful both to composition theory and to literacy education. And Joyce Irene Middleton and Tom Fox discuss bell hooks’ s notions of how race and gender affect pedagogy. In two frank and sometimes angry responses, Patricia Harkin and Jasper Neel take J. Hillis Miller to task for seeming to support rhetoric and composition while continuing to maintain the political status quo. Similarly, Susan C. Jarratt and Elizabeth A. Flynn express skepticism about Jane Tompkins’ s vocal support of composition and of radical pedagogy particularly. And Arabella Lyon and C. Jan Swearingen analyze Stephen Toulmin’ s thoughts on argumentation and postmodernism.

Internationally respected anthropologist Clifford Geertz provides a foreword; literacy expert Patricia Bizzell contributes an introduction to the text; and noted reader-response critic David Bleich supplies critical commentary.

This book is a follow-up to the editor’ s (Inter)views: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Rhetoric and Literacy, already a major work of scholarship in the field.


Gary A. Olson is a professor of English at the University of South Florida, where he teaches in the graduate program in rhetoric and composition and is finishing his tenure as editor of the Journal of Advanced Composition. Among his books are Writing Centers: Theory and Administration and Advanced Placement English: Theory, Politics, and Pedagogy (coedited with Elizabeth Metzger and Evelyn Ashton-Jones).