This book is a unique examination of the phenomenon of the call. Characterizing the call as a rhetorical event, the book identifies how speakers can use eloquence in the service of truth. Authors Craig R. Smith and Michael J. Hyde offer the rare combination of a phenomenology of the call linked closely to eloquence and explore this linkage by examining the components of eloquence, including examples of its misuse by George W. Bush and Donald Trump. The bulk of the text examines case studies of eloquence in the service of truth including epideictic, forensic, and deliberative eloquence, with examples drawn from addresses by Barack Obama, Daniel Webster, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Chase Smith, Susan Collins, and Mitt Romney. The authors also examine the Epistles of St. Paul, the writings of St. Augustine, and the preaching of Jonathan Edwards. Finally, the book explores eloquence in filmic narratives and dialogic communication between artists and writers, concluding with a study of the sublime and how it is evoked with awe using the work of Annie Dillard.
About the Author
CRAIG R. SMITH is the director emeritus of the Center for First Amendment Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where he taught for twenty-seven years. In 2010 he received the Douglas W. Ehninger Distinguished Rhetorical Scholar Award from the National Communication Association for his contributions to rhetorical theory.
MICHAEL J. HYDE is professor and University Distinguished Chair in Communication Ethics at Wake Forest University. He is a distinguished scholar of the National Communication Association, a fellow of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and a recipient of national, state, and university research grants for his work in “the rhetoric of medicine.”
Craig R. Smith and Michael J. Hyde’s The Call: Eloquence in the Service of Truth details the existential reality of call, explicating the eloquence of listening and response. The work provides philosophical insight and simultaneously acts as a call to the reader, demanding our own responsible listening and ethical responsiveness. This book is a must-read for those in philosophy of communication and communication ethics, and for all interested in existential ethics and responsiveness.—Ronald C. Arnett, chair and professor, Department of Communication & Rhetorical Studies, and Patricia Doherty Yoder and Ronald Wolfe Endowed Chair in Communication Ethics, Duquesne University
This is an important new work. In many ways it returns to the rhetorical tradition of rhetoric in the service of the social good and of the good man skilled in speaking, and it does so through the creative and generative figure of ‘the call.’ This volume addresses issues of personal and social commitment that are central to understanding discourse today. Every scholar of rhetoric and ethics will want to read and use this important work.—Barry Brummett, Charles Sapp Centennial Professor, Department of Communication Studies, University of Texas at Austin
A fervent and timely defense of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s dictum that “eloquence is the power to translate truth into language perfectly intelligible to the person to whom you speak.” Presenting a wide range of cases from antiquity to the present, the authors make a compelling case for linking eloquence with the service of truth, not just as a theoretical ideal, but as a pragmatic necessity.—Stephen E. Lucas, professor emeritus, Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin