Ethos Edited by Michael J. Hyde Foreword by Calvin O. Schrag

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The Ethos of Rhetoric
Edited by Michael J. Hyde
Foreword by Calvin O. Schrag
“The Ethos of Rhetoric is an indispensable volume for the rhetorical critic and student of
contemporary public address. It is the single most important study of ethos since Eugene
Garver’s Aristotle’s Rhetoric: An Art of Character.”—John Angus Campbell, Department
of Communication, University of Memphis
In The Ethos of Rhetoric, fourteen noted rhetorical theorists and critics answer a
summons to return ethics from abstraction to the particular. They discuss and explore a
meaning of ethos that predates its more familiar translation as “moral character” and
“ethics.” Attentive to this more primordial meaning of the term, the contributors understand the phrase “the ethos of rhetoric” to relate to the way discourse is used to transform
space and time into “dwelling places” where people can deliberate about and collectively
understand some matter of interest. Such dwelling places define the grounds, abodes,
and habitats where a person’s ethics and moral character take form and develop. Together
the contributors define ethical discourse and describe what its practice looks like in particular communities.
In the volume’s introduction, Michael J. Hyde maintains that the ethos of rhetoric
provides a foundation for all else that can be said about the discipline. Craig R. Smith,
Margaret D. Zulick, and Robert Wade Kenny explore in their essays the relationship
between place and the performance of communal discourse. Barbara Warnick, in a contribution addressing how an expansion of ethos might enrich the critic’s understanding
of rhetoric, rounds out the theoretical grounding of the book.
The final seven essays turn to the ethos of rhetoric’s manifestations in everyday existence. Case studies by Walter Jost, John Poulakos, Eric King Watts, Martin J. Medhurst,
David Zarefsky, Carole Blair and Neil Michel, and Carolyn R. Miller develop the idea of
ethos as genius loci of region, nation, and tribal identity. Among the phenomena these
contributors examine are the rhetoric of a Black Arts movement leader, the 2000 presidential campaign, President George W. Bush’s response to the September 11 terrorist
attack, and the cold war computer culture.
Studies in Rhetoric/Communication • Thomas W. Benson, series editor
MICHAEL J. HYDE is the Unive r s i t y
Distinguished Professor of Communication
Ethics at Wake Forest University in WinstonSalem, North Carolina. He is the author of
The Call of Conscience: Heidegger and
Levinas, Rhetoric and the Euthanasia
Debate (University of South Carolina Press,
2001), which received the National
Communication Association’s Diamond
A n n iversary Book Award and the Marie
Hochmuth Nichols Award from the NCA’s
Public Address Division. He lives in
Winston-Salem.
THE ETHOS OF RHETORIC
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