Contingency, Immanence, and the Subject of Rhetoric

SKU: 978-1-60235-363-3

Timothy Richardson

Lauer Series in Rhetoric and Composition
Series Editors: Patricia Sullivan, Catherine Hobbs, Thomas Rickert, and Jennifer Bay

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978-1-60235-363-3 (paperback, $27) 978-1-60235-364-0 (hardcover, $60) 978-1-60235-365-7 (Adobe ebook on CD, $20). © 2013 by Parlor Press. 187 pages, with notes, bibliography, and index.

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Contingency, Immanence, and the Subject of Rhetoric considers rhetoric as the historical counterpoint of philosophical and religious discourses via its correspondences with antique rabbinic exegetical practices and contemporary psychoanalytic insights into causation. Timothy Richardson takes up the rabbinic position to demonstrate how traditional Greco-Christian rhetoric might be insufficient to account for what we now mean by rhetoric as a discipline.  He argues that rhetoric as an academic discipline is different from philosophy insofar as it takes as its object the missing cause of performance, of writing, of inquiry itself inherent in the contingency of their status as events. Rhetorical inquiry offers a mode of reading and writing that is premised upon (for Kenneth Burke) unspoken, often unspeakable motives and (for Jacques Lacan) impossible desire so that rhetorical analysis, in Lacan’s words, “impl[ies] in the text what it itself neglected.” The result is a position from which all events (spoken, written, acted, whatever) are present and contingent acts that resist narrative cohesion because they are founded on a necessary lack in the subject. Contingency, Immanence, and the Subject of Rhetoric includes a Forward by David Metzger.

About the Author

Timothy Richardson’s work has appeared in such journals as JAC, Kairos, Pre/Text, Paris Review, and Western Humanities Review. He is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he teaches courses in antique and contemporary rhetorics, psychoanalytic theory, media studies, and writing. He lives in Fort Worth, Texas with his wife, fiction writer Laura Kopchick, and their two children, Harper and Ben.


Forward by David Metzger
1 An Image to Honor and Worship
2 Rhetoric as Mitzvah
3 But the Greatest of These Is Love
4 Nothing But the Effects of Those Instances of Saying
5 What Stops Not Being Written
Works Cited
About the Author

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