Kenneth Burke

Kenneth Burke is a Modernist who introduced ideas of drama into the rhetorical tradition. Specifically, he noted that all rhetorical interactions rely on the interplay of Act, Scene, Agent, Agency, and Purpose, which became known as the Dramatistic Pentad (Aune 99). Burke was rejected by his contemporaries because New Criticism was the leading literary theory, and his ideas about rhetoric did not align with the idea of a text being separated from its author. According to Aune, Burke “enlarge[d] the scope of rhetoric from its classical conception,” such as including the idea if implicit identification. The example given in Aune shows that this may closely align the symbolism, such as the president being viewed as a father figure (Aunt 98).

Biographical Details:

  • 1897-1993
  • Pennsylvania


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