chapter  3
22 Pages

Interpretive Options in the Historicizing of Classical Rhetoric

Narratives of history of many kinds-rhetorical, military, diplomatic, literary, and so on-continue to be produced with apparently omniscient writers presenting objective realities. This kind of history writing presents material in more or less chronological ways, with the attendant cause and effect arguments that chronological structures imply. This kind of writing constitutes much of popular writing and much of academic writing. Best-seller lists indicate the public desire for this version of narrative. Course reading lists indicate the academic desirein disciplines such as English, history, music, philosophy-for this kind of narrative. The omniscience and apparent objectivity of the narrator in many fields of study teach us many things as they soothe us with the always-implicit idea that truth or at least objective knowledge resides in the pages of the chronicle. The structure of the discourse itself-part of its logos-is not questioned by the writer; rather, the structure is taken for granted as true, self-apparent, and not open to examination.