Post #6: Rhetoric of the Holocaust


Due by the class period on Monday, October 17th

On Monday, October 17th, we’ll discuss Burke’s essay, “The Rhetoric of Hitler’s Battle” (191-220 in Philosophy of Literary Form).  Here are your blogging prompts on this essay:

1) At the beginning of his essay, Burke states: “The appearance of Mein Kampf in unexpurgated translation has called forth far too many vandalistic comments.  There are other ways of burning books than on the pyre–and the favorite method of the hasty reviewer is to deprive himself and his readers by inattention.  I maintain that it is thoroughly vandalistic for the reviewer to content himself with the mere inflicting of a few symbolic wounds upon this book and its author, of an intensity varying with the resources of the reviewer and the time at his disposal” (191). What is Burke’s claim here? What are the implications of this claim?

2) Burke provides a list of features that explain Hitler’s rhetorical “unification” device. List those features, and give an example of how each is evident in Hitler’s rhetoric.

3) Which (if any) of Burke’s list of unification devices are currently being used by any of the candidates in the ongoing presidential campaign (for example, at the second presidential debate)? Mark those ideas in your hard copy of the essay and take a note about them in your blog. If  possible, incorporate a link or a video to your posting exemplifying the use of the rhetorical device. Be ready to share your ideas during our discussion on Monday.

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