[KB] The Ongoing Conversation

Edappel8@cs.com Edappel8 at cs.com
Mon May 5 16:01:51 EDT 2008

       In saying what I said about deleting my postings on kb, I am not 
advocating a restriction on our discusssions.  I am more or less expressing concern 
for the mental health of particular subscribers.  To quote from Michael 
Hassett's article in JAC, "Increasing Response-ability through Mortification: A 
Burkean Perspective on Teaching Writing":

       "By teaching composition from a Burkean, or mortifying, 
perspective---encouraging students to mortify the goads within their own terminologies 
[those toward "entelechy," "completion," "closure"]---we can help our students move 
toward an approach to composition that allows us to invite response, that 
emphasizes 'parliamentary' criticism rather than unification [what Hassett 
earlier calls "unified" criticism], that sees discussion, instability, and disorder 
as important elements of discourse rather than as immature writing techniques" 
(1995, p. 480).

       Hassett is building on several things Burke says in his essay, 
"Linguistic Approach to Problems of Education" (1955).  You may recall a panel on 
Burke's essay at NCA in Chicago a few years back.  David Cratis Williams was, I 
think, one of the presenters.  Hassett's notion of "mortification" as applied 
to composition comes directly from Burke's chapter here, and indirectly from 

       Burke once said, as I recall, that his composition practice began in 
fury, and then modified in the direction of a "come now, let us reason 
together" equanimity by the end.  I've not attained to Burke's ideal.  Practice, 
practice, practice.


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