Kenneth Burke at the MoMA: A Viewer's Theory

When Kenneth Burke visited the Museum of Modern Art exhibition “Road to Victory: A Procession of Photographs of the Nation at War” in the summer of 1942, he most likely did not expect to leave with such intense and intensely contradictory impressions. His visit there offers rhetoric scholars an opportunity to examine the exhibition—important for museum rhetoric because of its propagandistic political message and its innovative visual and material design. Considering the exhibition on its own terms, and the way designers managed problems of circulation and implemented new methods of “extended vision” helps us to present Burke’s then-developing theories (placement, the pentad) as themselves decidedly visual—photographic, even—and concomitantly, for that moment at least, as decidedly war-directed.



Work Title Kenneth Burke at the MoMA: A Viewer's Theory
Open Access
  1. Debra Hawhee
  2. Megan Renee Poole
  1. museum rhetoric
  2. visual rhetoric
  3. Museum of Modern Art
  4. Kenneth Burke
  5. circulation
  6. placement
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Quarterly Journal of Speech
Publication Date 2019
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. 10.1080/00335630.2019.1657237
Deposited March 20, 2021




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Version 1

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  • Added Creator Megan Renee Poole
  • Added Kenneth Burke at the MoMA A viewer s theory.pdf
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    • Quarterly Journal of Speech
    Publisher Identifier (DOI)
    • 10.1080/00335630.2019.1657237
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