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Does Persuasion Occur? Austin, Aristotle, and Cicero

David Bromwich | 12pm, September 13, 2019

The combination of the idea that speakers control the effects of persuasive rhetoric with the modern idea of literary autonomy (“poetry makes nothing happen”) has resulted in a misleading account of the relationship between words and human action. Words can and do make things happen, but they cannot be counted on to produce the result they intend.

David Bromwich is Sterling Professor of English at Yale University.

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