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710 pages

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Readings in
Rhetorical Criticism

fourth edition

Carl R. Burgchardt, editor
Colorado State University

The new edition of this highly acclaimed book, like the previous editions, surveys major approaches to rhetorical criticism through significant essays that explain and illustrate them. In this edition, several significant new essays from the literature and an updated organization reflect current issues, scholarship, critical practices, and classroom needs.

From H. A. Wichelns’s groundbreaking “The Literary Criticism of Oratory” to very recent essays on visual argument, gender issues, and contemporary political discourse, the essays in this volume reflect the historical development, diversity, and current practice of rhetorical criticism.

Collectively, the forty classic and contemporary essays in this book are among the most important and widely cited in the literature.


"Readings meets our needs well. It is comprehensive and well produced. Students leave the course telling me that it gives them a solid foundation in the discipline and useful models for their own practice.”
Thomas W. Benson, Pennsylvania State University

“It’s a solid collection of essays that increasingly serves as a de facto canon for critical literature. The brief introductory essays are concise, clear, and valuable. The recommended readings are a good resource.”
James Darsey, Georgia State University

“It is the standard of its kind, a good collection of ‘fundamental’ essays that also allows me to be flexible with topics.”
Janis L. Edwards, University of Alabama

“It is the most comprehensive and easily accessible collection available.”
Martin Medhurst, Baylor University

“I am pleased with the selection of essays. . . . There are few other books of this kind and none that are so carefully kept up to date.”
David Zarefsky, Northwestern University

“To my mind there is no substitute for Readings in Rhetorical Criticism. It is a real gift to have some of the most important articles in our tradition available in one place and organized in a way that makes sense for students.”
Dana L. Cloud, Syracuse University

“It’s the heart of the field—the ‘core’ of criticism.”
Jody Roy, Ripon College

“The edition presents the foundations of rhetorical criticism—in an accessible format—as well as new extensions and applications of the practice. Moreover, it provides great leads for further articles in the field.”
Jason E. Black, University of Alabama

“It is a good collection. Students need to read how scholars do rhetorical criticism.”
Anne Pym, California State University, East Bay

"It's a good collection."
James L. Cherney, Wayne State University

“It gathers together classic essays in the history of criticism along with more current pieces of criticism. This combination enables students to grasp historical transformations in criticism while never losing sight of its contemporary applicability. “
Larry Prelli, University of New Hampshire

“I chose this book because of all the books I reviewed (and previously used) it did the best job of addressing the origins of the field and providing a combination of classic and cutting edge texts.   I have been very satisfied with the book and plan to continue using it in the future.”
Sara Hayden, University of Montana

“These are the bedrock materials for the subject—it is comprehensive and still within the grasp of undergraduates.”
John Llewellyn, Wake Forest University

“It’s the best (only) anthology of primary reading. . . . Please keep publishing it—it is the best of its type and the only book I would ever have my students purchase for this course.”
Steve Martin, Ripon College

“I adopted RRC for its comprehensive and even-handed treatment of the rich tradition of scholarship in Speech Communication on the theory and practice of rhetorical criticism. I'm satisfied!"
Jean Goodwin, Iowa State University

“It’s an excellent volume of collected readings. I welcomed the text for adoption and students appreciated the resource after our class was over.”
Kelly McDonald, Arizona State University

“Its essays highlight a wide variety of critical perspectives.”
Angela Ray, Northwestern University

“It works beautifully for my purposes.”
Catherine Dobris, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

“It is clearly the best reader.”
Greg Dickinson, Colorado State University

“I wish you the best on the publication of an important and very useful anthology.”
Davis W. Houck, Florida State University


Carl R. Burgchardt teaches rhetorical criticism, critical methodology, history and criticism of United States oratory, and film criticism at Colorado State University. He received his bachelor's degree from Penn State, and his master's and doctorate degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published essays and book reviews in the Quarterly Journal of Speech. His previous book, Robert M. La Follette, Sr.: The Voice of Conscience, won the Outstanding Scholarship Award from the Colorado Speech Communication Association.




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