Language as Sensuous Action Public

Sir Richard Paget, Kenneth Burke, and Gesture-Speech Theory

This somatic genealogy of Dramatism's core terms—symbolic action, attitude, identification—argues for the importance of keeping rhetoric, rhetorical theory, and rhetorical pedagogy more closely tied to bodies that generate, induce, and respond to rhetoric. It does so by examining Burke's use of Sir Richard Paget's theory that spoken language derives from the use and development of bodily gestures. An examination of Paget's theory in Burke's early work serves as a jarring reminder that rhetoric is always a joint performance of body and mind.

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