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Rhetoric and Politics

Baltasar Gracián and the New World Order

1997

Nicholas Spadaccini and Jenaro Talens, editors

Rhetoric and Politics

Considers current events through an examination of this seventeenth-century philosopher.

Wide-ranging in focus, these essays demonstrate that the work of seventeenth-century Spanish Jesuit Baltasar Gracián offers insights into the deployment of rhetoric under the “New World Order.” “Rhetoric and Politics will do much to stimulate a renewed interest in Gracián and in the originality of Spanish culture.” David William Foster, Arizona State University.

Contributors: Luis F. Avilés, Anthony J. Cascardi, David Castillo, Jorge Checa, William Egginton, Alban K. Forcione, Edward H. Friedman, Carlos Hernández-Sacristán, Isabel C. Livosky, Michael Nerlich, Oscar Pereira, Malcolm K. Read, and Francisco J. Sánchez.

“The renewed interest in Gracián represented by this outstanding collection of essays demonstrates the legitimacy of the enterprise of academic scholarship. Whereas in recent decades Gracián, without denying his cultural importance, has been read primarily for the ingenuity of his rhetorical propositions and the complexity of his intellectual thought, Rhetoric and Politics underscores the importance of ‘Gracián’ as a site of textual production for examining questions regarding subject formation, sign systems and semiotic interpretation, technologies of social control, and social ideology. Rhetoric and Politics will do much to stimulate a renewed interest in Gracián and in the originality of Spanish Baroque culture.” David William Foster, Arizona State University

In recent years there has been a revival of interest in the writings of Baltasar Gracián, a seventeenth-century Spanish Jesuit who explored the political uses of rhetoric. Gracián is best known in the United States for his bestselling collection of aphorisms entitled The Art of Worldly Wisdom, but his pragmatic philosophy has been influential in Europe since the mid-seventeenth century.

The essays in this volume focus on the relevance of Gracián’s writings in our own day, when the importance of rhetoric as a discipline necessary to manage public life is indisputable. Ranging in focus and theoretical perspective from Lacanian psychoanalysis to the sociology of everyday life, from considerations of aesthetics and philosophy to examinations of the culture of the baroque, these essays demonstrate that Gracián’s work offers insights into the deployment of rhetoric under the “New World Order.”

Contributors: Luis F. Avilés, U of Massachusetts, Amherst; Anthony J. Cascardi, U of California, Berkeley; David Castillo, U of Minnesota; Jorge Checa, U of California, Santa Barbara; William Egginton, Stanford U; Alban K. Forcione, Princeton U; Edward H. Friedman, Indiana U; Carlos Hernández-Sacristán, U of Valencia, Spain; Isabel C. Livosky, Knox College; Michael Nerlich, Technische Universität, Berlin; Oscar Pereira, U of Nebraska; Malcolm K. Read, SUNY, Stony Brook; Francisco J. Sánchez, U of Iowa.


Rhetoric and Politics

Nicholas Spadaccini is professor of Spanish and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. Jenaro Talens is professor of literary theory and film at the University of Valencia, Spain. Together they coauthored Through the Shattering Glass: Cervantes and the Self-Made World (Minnesota, 1993).

Rhetoric and Politics

“The renewed interest in Gracián represented by this outstanding collection of essays demonstrates the legitimacy of the enterprise of academic scholarship. Whereas in recent decades Gracián, without denying his cultural importance, has been read primarily for the ingenuity of his rhetorical propositions and the complexity of his intellectual thought, Rhetoric and Politics underscores the importance of ‘Gracián’ as a site of textual production for examining questions regarding subject formation, sign systems and semiotic interpretation, technologies of social control, and social ideology. Rhetoric and Politics will do much to stimulate a renewed interest in Gracián and in the originality of Spanish Baroque culture.” David William Foster, Arizona State University