[KB] Question about Resistance to Burke

Bill Balthrop vwb at email.unc.edu
Thu Dec 6 11:43:48 EST 2007

I do enjoy these discussions, although I seldom participate actively.  I 
think that Jim Klumpp and Josh Gunn have raised the most interesting and 
helpful comments on this whole question about "resistance" to Burke (or 
should the focus be on "recalcitrance" that must be resisted to?).

I am somewhat surprised to see some essays/articles/books referred to as 
"attacks" on Burke when they seem to constitute--at least in my reading 
of them--disagreements/questions/extensions (to use a well known phrase) 
and so on.  Burke hasn't disappeared and his work is seen as still quite 
valuable by many scholars...but it just isn't all about Burke and there 
are others who have made/are making/will make contributions that are 
"different."  As Burke himself might have said about his own work, "it's 
more complicated than that."


Edappel8 at cs.com wrote:
> John,
>        Heather's post raises the issue of "Burkean Backsliders" as 
> relevant ingredients in the mix.  Read the QJS Forum articles by Jim 
> Chesebro and Celeste Condit (answered by Phil Tompkins and George 
> Cheney), published in the mid-1990s (don't have the exact issues 
> handy).  Jim was my mentor in Burke at Temple U.  I heard him say at a 
> Burke panel at ECA in Washington, spring 1994, "Now that he's gone, 
> Burke will be disappearing from the scene."  Those Burke-negative 
> articles (no pun intended) by Chesebro and Condit followed soon 
> thereafter.  Celeste had given one of the plenary addresses at the 1993 
> Triennial Burike Conference at Airlie House in Virginia.
>        Subsequently, Jim seemed to disappear from the Burkean scene 
> himself.  I didn't see him at Pittsburgh in 1996, Iowa in 1999, or New 
> Orleans in 2002.  Jim did attend the conference at Penn State in 2005, 
> and presented a paper.  I know he attended the Burke Society business 
> meeting in San Antonio last year.  I was pleased to see him back in the 
> Burkean fold.  He had contributed so much to Burke scholarship and the 
> establishment of the Burke Society itself.  Could we say that Jim was 
> the leading influence in respect to what happened on the "society" front 
> at Philly in 1984?  (I'm not talking about that conference overall: That 
> was the work of Herb Simons and Trevor Melia, who co-edited the book 
> that grew out of that wonderful gathering.)  Didn't Jim write the 
> founding document/bylaws for our organization?
>        I am in no way criticizing Jim and Celeste for their "attack" of 
> a kind on Burke.  I disagreed with much, if not most, of what they had 
> to say, but hey, it's a free country!  What I'm saying here, on behalf 
> of John's quest and query, if you want to locate a case against Burke 
> made by potent voices in our field, read those articles in QJS.
>        Ed 
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