At the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Bruce McComiskey is Associate Professor and Cynthia Ryan is Assistant Professor of English. McComiskey is the author of Teaching Composition as a Social Process and Gorgias and the New Sophistic Rhetoric. Cynthia Ryan’s published work focuses on professional writing and medical rhetoric.
Shy and distant, but also independent, her mother didnt often find joy in the roles of wife and mother. The trials of a scarred childhood, marked by poverty and an alcoholic father, made true happiness elusive for her mother. On Christmas Eve of 2000, Cynthia started to see noticeable changes in her mother. A devoted grandmother, she had never forgotten to buy presents for one of her grandchildrenuntil that day. Whats more, she spent the day pouting, because the family was celebrating Christmas one day early. Over the coming months, her behavior grew increasingly erratic and forgetful; she became agitated more and more easily. Cynthia finally took her mother to the doctor, where everyones worst fears were confirmed: Alzheimers.
In this memoir, Cynthia shares their journey of understanding, forgiveness, blessings, healing, and renewed love. She celebrates her mothers life, even as it spiraled out of her control.
In the first two chapters, McComiskey deals with a misconception based on selective and Platonic readings of the extant fragments: that Gorgias's rhetorical technê involves the deceptive practice of manipulating public opinion. This popular and ultimately misleading interpretation of Gorgianic doctrines has been the basis for many neosophistic appropriations. The final three chapters deal with the nature and scope of neosophistic rhetoric in light of the non-Platonic and holistic interpretation of Gorgianic rhetoric McComiskey postulates in his opening chapters. He concludes by examining the future of communication studies to discover what roles neosophistic doctrines might play in the twenty-first century.
McComiskey also provides a selective bibliography of scholarship on sophistic rhetoric and philosophy in English since 1900.