Speech Criticism, the Development of Standards for Rhetorical Appraisal

By Lester Thonssen; A. Craig Baird | Go to book overview

Chapter 10
RECONSTRUCTING THE SOCIAL SETTINGS

The Historical Setting as the Framework of Oratorical Criticism

The story is told of a cub reporter who was sent out by a metropolitan newspaper to cover an assignment in an eastern area where flood waters were doing considerable damage. Hours went by; competing newspapers were printing lengthy and dramatic reports of the flood, but still no word came from the young newspaperman. Finally, in a state of frenzy, the city editor wired the reporter, asking why the stories were not being sent. Immediately came the reply: "Can't send reports now; too much excitement."

This anecdote serves to remind us that not all events happening at a moment of crisis or momentous public occasion are likely to be recorded; and that those which do receive tangible expression are selective, that they are dependent upon the judgment of the witnesses or historians who make the decisions as to what shall be included and what omitted from the reports.

Since every judgment of a public speech contains a historical constituent, the critic is peculiarly concerned with determining the nature of the setting in which the speaker operated. Although almost a truism, it cannot be overemphasized that speeches are events occurring in highly complex situations; that responsibility of critical appraisal depends heavily upon the critic's ability to effect faithful reconstructions of social settings long since dissolved. No task is more challenging, none more essential to the successful prosecution of the task. In a restricted sense, it may be possible to evaluate a speaker's written style through a simple examination of the text, without regard to the events which gave rise to the delivery of the speech. But even if possible, such an appraisal would be superficial; the evidence derived from the literature of speech education and criticism attests to the sterility of rhetoric when divorced from the urgency of matter and the imperatives of the particular historical moment.

-312-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Speech Criticism, the Development of Standards for Rhetorical Appraisal
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 542

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.