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Emotional Engagement

  • Robert Cockcroft
  • Susan M. Cockcroft
Chapter

Abstract

The fact that speakers and writers deliberately play on the emotions of their audiences cannot be escaped. This has not only produced a traditional distrust of rhetoric, but also associated it with insincerity, irrationality and rabble-rousing. Yet it would be odd if people seeking to persuade did not appeal to the audience’s emotions! How we feel about an issue relates to our understanding of it, though we should also bear in mind the perspectives of ethos and logos. As we all know from experience, conveying emotion can present difficulties in interaction with people whose ideas and feelings seem alien to our own. Conversely, we know how easy it is to communicate emotion to those we are in sympathy with. This familiar experience provides a starting-point for our discussion.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See M. Allott (ed.), Keats: the Complete Poems, Annotated English Poets (London: Longman, 1970) pp. 539–40.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria, trans. H. E. Butler, Loeb Classical Library (London: Heinemann, 1921) II 434–5.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Edgar Allan Poe, ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’, in D. Galloway (ed.), Poe: Selected Writings (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1967) p. 271.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    From a theatrical review by Jeffrey Wainright, The Independent, Monday 6 November 1989.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    For a clear summary account of the varieties of Marxist thinking in relation to ideology see David Forgacs, ‘Marxist literary theories’, in A. Jefferson and D. Robey (eds), Modern Literary Theory: a Comparative Introduction, 2nd edn (London: Batsford, 1986).Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1776.Google Scholar
  7. 10a.
    See R. E. Spiller and H. Blodgett (eds), The Roots of National Culture (New York: Macmillan, 1949) p. 336.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    All Shakespeare quotations and references are from Peter Alexander (ed.), The Complete Works of Shakespeare (London: Collins, 1951).Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    See C. Ricks (ed.), The Poems of Tennyson, Annotated English Poets (London: Longmans, 1969) pp. 817–8.Google Scholar
  10. 13.
    Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend, New Oxford Illustrated Dickens (London: Oxford University Press, 1952) p. 10.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Robert Cockcroft and Susan M. Cockcroft 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Cockcroft
    • 1
  • Susan M. Cockcroft
    • 2
  1. 1.University of NottinghamUK
  2. 2.Derby Tertiary CollegeMackworthUK

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