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Appeals in Modern Rhetoric

Appeals in Modern Rhetoric

An Ordinary Language Approach

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M. Jimmie Killingsworth


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
190 pages, 6 x 9


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About the Book

Appeals in Modern Rhetoric: An Ordinary-Language Approach introduces students to current issues in rhetorical theory through an extended treatment of the rhetorical appeal, a frequently used but rarely discussed concept at the core of rhetorical analysis and criticism. Shunning the standard Aristotelian approach that treats ethos, pathos, and logos as modes of appeal, M. Jimmie Killingsworth uses common, accessible language to explain the concept of the rhetorical appeal—meaning the use of language to plead and to please. The result is a practical and innovative guide to understanding how persuasion works that is suitable for graduate and undergraduate courses yet still addresses topics of current interest to specialists.

Supplementing the volume are practical and theoretical approaches to the construction and analysis of rhetorical messages and brief and readable examples from popular culture, academic discourse, politics, and the verbal arts. Killingsworth draws on close readings of primary texts in the field, referencing theorists to clarify concepts, while he decodes many of the basic theoretical constructs common to an understanding of identification. Beginning with examples of the model of appeals in social criticism, popular film, and advertising, he covers in subsequent chapters appeals to time, place, the body, gender, and race. Additional chapters cover the use of common tropes and rhetorical narrative, and each chapter begins with definitions of key concepts.


M. Jimmie Killingsworth is a professor of English and the director of writing programs at Texas A & M University. He is the author of several books, including Information in Action: A Guide to Technical Communication and Whitman’s Poetry of the Body: Sexuality, Politics, and the Text.


“M. Jimmie Killingsworth offers a fresh new approach to rhetoric that will be useful for undergraduate and graduate students alike in courses in rhetorical criticism or argument. In clear, simple terms, Appeals in Modern Rhetoric illustrates the practical value of rhetorical theory and introduces students to the key strands of contemporary rhetorical thought. I look forward to using it in my own courses.”—Barbara Johnstone, Carnegie Mellon University