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The Custom of the Country
Edith Wharton, Linda Wagner-Martin
Anna Karenina
Leo Tolstoy, Alymer Maude, Louise Maude

Rhetoric and Human Consciousness: A History

Rhetoric and Human Consciousness: A History - Craig R. Smith Ta da! I'm not teaching this course any more, so I'll never have to use this crushingly boring text again. ...And it's not as though I didn't try to find something more interesting. However, texts that provide an overview of rhetorical theory are difficult to find. Here, what Smith accomplishes in breadth he undoes in depth. Too often, particularly with theorists who warrant more explanation, Smith's commentary is scant (two pages on Derrida, two or three pages on Foucault, perhaps one or two pages on Baudrillard, etc.) and he often drops in critical terms without providing any context or definition. I was honest. I told my students this was an unfortunate text, but the best - after looking at dozens - that I could find.

However, Smith's students fare worse. I saw his online syllabus, and the course must be hell on wheels. Every day featured quizzes, exercises, and other busy work. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion. We use and are assaulted by rhetoric every day. There should be fascinating books on rhetorical theory. Where in the hell are they?

As a further insult, there was a new edition in 2009, and the old edition was unavailable. The only changes were the addition of a few contemporary names - Obama here, Palin there. Otherwise, it was the same dull text, squashed into an edition 60 pages shorter with a microscopic font.