It’s the canon of invention that gives rhetoric its substance

It is, however, the canon of invention that gives rhetoric its substance; without it, rhetoric merely arranges, clothes, and dispatches the arguments and observations other disciplines have discovered. Without invention, rhetoric is not an epistemic activity, and as such it can never hold anything but a secondary place in the English department (to say nothing of the academy at large).

George L. Pullman,  “Rhetoric and Hermeneutics: Composition, Invention, and Literature,” JAC 14.2 (Winter 1994)

Yes, yes, yes. Invention is the juiciest, funnest, deepest part of writing and teaching to write.

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One thought on “It’s the canon of invention that gives rhetoric its substance

  1. Yes, of course, the ideas, everywhere – something that drives students crazy – they cannot decide, they want to pick the perfect topic – when I say, just take the chicken and find one of the millions of delicious ways to cook it today. And tomorrow it can be different. BUT — isn’t invention audience specific? What you write on your blog is for you, and for Lisa? and for colleagues? What you write on FB is for an overlapping but very different audience venue with different expectations. etc. What do you think?

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