Metacriticism: A Bibliography of Criticism of Rhetorical Criticism

What does it mean to be a rhetorical critic? One way to find out is to read about what critics say about rhetorical criticism. There has certainly been a lot of

This list was started by Leah Ceccarelli at the University of Washington when I took an independent reading seminar with her. My original intention was to use it to write my own metacriticism, but it’s a difficult genre to break into. In addition to knowing a lot about rhetorical criticism, you also need to be able to navigate the often polarized perspectives of rhetorical critics. I’ve added to the original list, and will continue to edit it as I read more.

  • Baskerville, Barnet. “Selected Writings on the Criticism of Public Address.” Western Speech 21, no. 2 (1957): 110-118.
  • Black, Edwin. “A Note on Theory and Practice in Rhetorical Criticism.”Western Journal of Speech Communication 44, no. 4 (1980): 331-336.
  • Black, Edwin. Rhetorical Criticism: A Study in Method. New York: Macmillan, 1965.
  • Blair, Carole. “Reflections on Criticism and Bodies: Parables from Public Places.” Western Journal of Communication 65, no. 3 (2001): 271-294.
  • Blau, Joseph L. “Public Address as Intellectual Revelation.” Western Speech 21, no. 2 (1957): 77-83.
  • Browne, Stephen Howard. “Response: Context in Critical Theory and Practice.” Western Journal of Communication 65, no. 3 (2001): 330-335.
  • Bryant, Donald C. “Of Style.” Western Speech 21, no. 2 (1957): 103-110.
  • Campbell, John Angus. “Between the Fragment and the Icon: Prospect for a Rhetorical House of the Middle Way.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 54, no. 3 (1990): 346-376.
  • Campbell, John Angus. “Special Issue on Rhetorical Criticism.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 54, no. 3 (1990): 249-251.
  • Campbell, Karlyn Kohrs. “Cultural Challenges to Rhetorical Criticism.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 358-361.
  • Ceccarelli, Leah. “Rhetorical Criticism and the Rhetoric of Science.” Western Journal of Communication 65, no. 3 (2001): 314-329.
  • Clark, Robert D. “Lessons from the Literary Critics.” Western Speech 21, no. 2 (1957): 83-89.
  • Condit, Celeste M. “Contemporary Rhetorical Criticism: Diverse Bodies Learning New Languages.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 368-372.
  • Condit, Celeste. “Rhetorical Criticism and Audiences: The Extremes of McGee and Leff.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 54, no. 3 (1990): 330-345.
  • Cox, J. Robert. “On ‘Interpreting’ Public Discourse in Post-Modernity.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 54, no. 3 (1990): 317-329.
  • deWinter, Jennifer. “A Bibliographic Synthesis of Rhetorical Criticism.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 388-407.
  • Dickinson, Greg. “Introduction to Special Issue.” Western Journal of Communication 74, no. 1 (2010): 1-3.
  • Dow, Bonnie J. “Response: Criticism and Authority in the Artistic Mode.” Western Journal of Communication 65, no. 3 (2001): 336-348.
  • Enos, Richard Leo. “Classical Rhetoric and Rhetorical Criticism.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 361-365.
  • Enos, Richard Leo. “Introduction: The Inclusiveness of Rhetorical Criticism.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 357-358.
  • Farrell, Thomas B. “Critical Models in the Analysis of Discourse.” Western Journal of Speech Communication44, no. 4 (1980): 300-314.
  • Fisher, Walter R. “Genre: Concepts and Applications in Rhetorical Criticism.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 44, no. 4 (1980): 288-299.
  • Foss, Sonja K. “Rhetorical Criticism as Synecdoche for Agency.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 375-379.
  • Gaonkar, Dilip P. “Object and Method in Rhetorical Criticism: From Wichelns to Leff and McGee.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 54, no. 3 (1990): 290-316.
  • Gaonkar, Dilip P. “The Oratorical Text: The Enigma of Arrival.” In Texts in Context: Critical Dialogues on Significant episodes in American Political Rhetoric, edited by Michael C. Leff and Fred J. Kauffeld, 255–276. Davis, CA: Hermagoras Press, 1989.
  • Gronbeck, Bruce E. “Dramaturgical Theory and Criticism: The State of the Art (or Science?).” Western Journal of Speech Communication 44, no. 4 (1980): 315-330.

  • Gross, Alan G., and William M. Keith. Rhetorical Hermeneutics: Invention and Interpretation in the Age of Science. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1997.
  • Hasian Jr., Marouf. “Silences and Articulations in Modern Rhetorical Criticism.” Western Journal of Communication 65, no. 3 (2001): 295-313.
  • Henry, David. “Rhetorical Criticism: The State of the Art Revisited.” Western Journal of Communication 65, no. 3 (2001): 229-231.
  • Hochmuth, Marie. “Burkean Criticism.” Western Speech 21, no. 2 (1957): 89-95.
  • Jasinski, James. “The Status of Theory and Method in Rhetorical Criticism.” Western Journal of Communication 65, no. 3 (2001): 249-270.
  • Jensen, Richard J. “Analyzing Social Movement Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 372-375.
  • King, Andrew. “The State of Rhetorical Criticism.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 365-368.
  • Leff, Michael C. “Interpretation and the Art of the Rhetorical Critic.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 44, no. 4 (1980): 337-349.
  • Leff, Michael C. “Introduction.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 44, no. 4 (1980): 264.
  • Leff, Michael. “Lincoln at Cooper Union: Neo-Classical Criticism Revisited.” Western Journal of Communication 65, no. 3 (2001): 232-248.
  • Leff, Michael. “Things Made by Words: Reflections on Textual Criticism.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 78, no. 2 (1992): 223-31.
  • Leff, Michael, and Andrew Sachs. “Words the Most Like Things: Iconicity and the Rhetorical Text.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 54, no. 3 (1990): 252-273.
  • Medhurst, Martin J. “Thirty Years Later: A Critic’s Tale.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 379-383.
  • McGee, Michael Calvin. “Text, Context, and the Fragmentation of Contemporary Culture.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 54, no. 3 (1990): 274.
  • Mohrmann, G. P. “Elegy in a Critical Grave-Yard.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 44, no. 4 (1980): 265-273.
  • Morris, Charles E. “(Self-)Portrait of Prof. R. C.: A Retrospective.” Western Journal of Communication 74, no. 1 (2010): 4-42.
  • Nilsen, Thomas R. “Interpretive Function Of the Critic.” Western Speech 21, no. 2 (1957): 70-76.
  • Nothstine, William L., Carole Blair, and Gary Copeland. Critical Questions: Invention, Creativity, and the Criticism of Discourse and Media. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.
  • Porrovecchio, Mark J. “To Hope Till Hope Creates: A Reply to ‘What Does Pragmatic Meliorism Mean for Rhetoric?’” In Western Journal of Communication, 74:61-67.
  • Redding, W. Charles. “Extrinsic and Intrinsic Criticism.” Western Speech 21, no. 2 (1957): 96-103.
  • Riches, Suzanne Volmar, and Malcolm O. Sillars. “The Status of Movement Criticism.” Western Journal of Speech Communication 44, no. 4 (1980): 275-287.
  • Stroud, Scott R. “What Does Pragmatic Meliorism Mean for Rhetoric?” In Western Journal of Communication, 74:43-60.
  • Wichelns, Herbert A. “The Literary Criticism of Oratory.” In Studies in Rhetoric and Public Speaking in Honor of James Albert Winans, 181-216. New York: Century Company, 1925.
  • Wrage, Ernest J. “Criticism and Public Address.” Western Speech 21, no. 2 (1957): 69-70.
  • Zarefsky, David. “Knowledge Claims in Rhetorical Criticism.” Journal of Communication 58, no. 4 (2008): 629-640.
  • Zarefsky, David. “Reflections on Rhetorical Criticism.” Rhetoric Review 25, no. 4 (2006): 383-387.

2 comments to “Metacriticism: A Bibliography of Criticism of Rhetorical Criticism”

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  1. A Fellow Rhetorican - Dec 09, 2011 Reply

    I have a few humble suggestions:

    – Hart, R. P. & S. Daughton (2005) Modern Rhetorical Criticism. Pearson.
    – Golden, J. & B. F. Goodwin & W. E. Coleman & J. M. Sprolue. (2003) The Rhetoric of Western Thought. Kendall/Hunt
    – Bizzell, P. & B. Herzberg. (2001). Rhetorical Tradition. Bedford/St. Martins

    No worries.. these are just few of the most monumental and important lit. reviews in rhetoric

  2. NRJ - Dec 09, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for the suggestions, AFR. Those are strong textbooks, and I think they would be good for someone learning how to do criticism.

    The reason they weren’t included in the original list is because they are specifically about criticism, and not so much metacriticism. The difference is subtle, but this list is filled with sources that talk about how to analyze rhetorical research — that is, in each case, the object of the study would be someone’s previous rhetorical criticism.

    Another way to think about these readings: they talk about ways to better understand the discipline of rhetorical studies. The texts you suggested (thanks!) are oriented to analysis of just about any rhetorical artifact.

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