Performing Prose: The Study and Practice of Style in Composition

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In Performing Prose, authors Chris Holcomb and M. Jimmie Killingsworth breathe new life into traditional concepts of style. Drawing on numerous examples from a wide range of authors and genres, Holcomb and Killingsworth demonstrate the use of style as a vehicle for performance, a way for writers to project themselves onto the page while managing their engagement with the reader. By addressing style and rhetoric not as an editorial afterthought, but as a means of social interaction, they equip students with the vocabulary and tools to analyze the styles of others in fresh ways, as well as create their own.
Whereas most writing texts focus exclusively on analysis or techniques to improve writing, Holcomb and Killingsworth blend these two schools of thought to provide a singular process of thinking about writing. They discuss not only the benefits of conventional methods, but also the use of deviation from tradition; the strategies authors use to vary their style; and the use of such vehicles as images, tropes, and schemes. The goal of the authors is to provide writers with stylistic “footing”: an understanding of the ways writers use style to orchestrate their relationships with readers, subject matter, and rhetorical situations.
Packed with useful tips and insights, this comprehensive volume investigates every aspect of style and its use to present an indispensable resource for both students and scholars. Performing Prose moves beyond customary studies to provide a refreshing and informative approach to the concepts and strategies of writing.


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About the author

Chris Holcomb is an associate professor of English at the University of South Carolina, where he teaches rhetoric and composition. His previous publications include Mirth Making: The Rhetorical Discourse on Jesting in Early Modern England and several articles on style and performance.

M. Jimmie Killingsworth is a professor and head of the English department at Texas A&M University, where he teaches American literature and rhetoric. His recent publications include Appeals in Modern Rhetoric: An Ordinary-Language Approach and The Cambridge Introduction to Walt Whitman.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SIU Press
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Published on
May 6, 2010
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Pages
240
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ISBN
9780809385768
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Communication Studies
Language Arts & Disciplines / Composition & Creative Writing
Language Arts & Disciplines / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Now I am terrified at the Earth, it is that calm and patient,
It grows such sweet things out of such corruptions,
It turns harmless and stainless on its axis, with such endless successions of diseas’d corpses,
It distills such exquisite winds out of such infused fetor,
It renews with such unwitting looks its prodigal, annual, sumptuous crops,
It gives such divine materials to men, and accepts such leavings from them at last.
—Walt Whitman, from “This Compost” How did Whitman use language to figure out his relationship to the earth, and how can we interpret his language to reconstruct the interplay between the poet and his sociopolitical and environmental world? In this first book-length study of Whitman’s poetry from an ecocritical perspective, Jimmie Killingsworth takes ecocriticism one step further into ecopoetics to reconsider both Whitman’s language in light of an ecological understanding of the world and the world through a close study of Whitman’s language. Killingsworth contends that Whitman’s poetry embodies the kinds of conflicted experience and language that continually crop up in the discourse of political ecology and that an ecopoetic perspective can explicate Whitman’s feelings about his aging body, his war-torn nation, and the increasing stress on the American environment both inside and outside the urban world. He begins with a close reading of “This Compost”—Whitman’s greatest contribution to the literature of ecology,” from the 1856 edition of Leaves of Grass. He then explores personification and nature as object, as resource, and as spirit and examines manifest destiny and the globalizing impulse behind Leaves of Grass, then moves the other way, toward Whitman’s regional, even local appeal—demonstrating that he remained an island poet even as he became America’s first urban poet. After considering Whitman as an urbanizing poet, he shows how, in his final writings, Whitman tried to renew his earlier connection to nature. Walt Whitman and the Earth reveals Whitman as a powerfully creative experimental poet and a representative figure in American culture whose struggles and impulses previewed our lives today.
With more than three-quarters of a million copies sold since its first publication, The Craft of Research has helped generations of researchers at every level—from first-year undergraduates to advanced graduate students to research reporters in business and government—learn how to conduct effective and meaningful research. Conceived by seasoned researchers and educators Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, this fundamental work explains how to find and evaluate sources, anticipate and respond to reader reservations, and integrate these pieces into an argument that stands up to reader critique.

The fourth edition has been thoroughly but respectfully revised by Joseph Bizup and William T. FitzGerald. It retains the original five-part structure, as well as the sound advice of earlier editions, but reflects the way research and writing are taught and practiced today. Its chapters on finding and engaging sources now incorporate recent developments in library and Internet research, emphasizing new techniques made possible by online databases and search engines. Bizup and FitzGerald provide fresh examples and standardized terminology to clarify concepts like argument, warrant, and problem.

Following the same guiding principle as earlier editions—that the skills of doing and reporting research are not just for elite students but for everyone—this new edition retains the accessible voice and direct approach that have made The Craft of Research a leader in the field of research reference. With updated examples and information on evaluation and using contemporary sources, this beloved classic is ready for the next generation of researchers.
This book combines literary and historical analysis in a study of sexuality in Walt Whitman's work. Informed by his "new historicist" understanding of the construction of literary texts, Jimmie Killingsworth examines the progression of Whitman's poetry and prose by considering the textual history of Leaves of Grass and other works.

Killingsworth demonstrates that Whitman's "poetry of the body" derives its radical power from the transformation of conventional attitudes toward sexuality, traditional poetics, and conservative politics. The sexual relation, with its promise of unity, love, equality, interpenetration, and productivity for partners, becomes a metaphor for all political and social relationships, including that of poet and reader. The effect of the poems is protopolitical, an altering of consciousness about the body's relation to other bodies, a shifting of the categories of knowledge that foretells political action.

Killingsworth traces the interplay in Whitman's poetry between sexual and textual themes that derive from Whitman's political response to the historical turbulence of mid-century America. He describes a subtle shift in Whitman's prose writings on poetics, which turn from a view of poetry in the early 1850s as morally and politically efficacious to a chastened romanticism in the postwar years that frees the poet from responsibility for the world outside his poems.

Later editions of Leaves of Grass are marked by the poet's deliberate repression of erotic themes in favor of a depoliticized aestheticism that views art not as a motivator of political and moral action but as an artifact embodying the soul of the genius.

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