Modern Occult Rhetoric: Mass Media and the Drama of Secrecy in the Twentieth Century (Albma Rhetoric Cult & Soc Crit)

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9780817314668: Modern Occult Rhetoric: Mass Media and the Drama of Secrecy in the Twentieth Century (Albma Rhetoric Cult & Soc Crit)

A broadly interdisciplinary study of the pervasive secrecy in America cultural, political, and religious discourse.

The occult has traditionally been understood as the study of secrets of the practice of mysticism or magic. This book broadens our understanding of the occult by treating it as a rhetorical phenomenon tied to language and symbols and more central to American culture than is commonly assumed.

Joshua Gunn approaches the occult as an idiom, examining the ways in which acts of textual criticism and interpretation are occultic in nature, as evident in practices as diverse as academic scholarship, Freemasonry, and television production. Gunn probes, for instance, the ways in which jargon employed by various social and professional groups creates barriers and fosters secrecy. From the theory wars of cultural studies to the Satanic Panic that swept the national mass media in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gunn shows how the paradox of a hidden, buried, or secret meaning that cannot be expressed in language appears time and time again in Western culture.

These recurrent patterns, Gunn argues, arise from a generalized, popular anxiety about language and its limitations. Ultimately,Modern Occult Rhetoric demonstrates the indissoluble relationship between language, secrecy, and publicity, and the centrality of suspicion in our daily lives.

 

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Book Description:

The occult has traditionally been understood as the study of secrets of the practice of mysticism or magic. This book broadens our understanding of the occult by treating it as a rhetorical phenomenon tied to language and symbols and more central to American culture than is commonly assumed.

Joshua Gunn approaches the occult as an idiom, examining the ways in which acts of textual criticism and interpretation are occultic in nature, as evident in practices as diverse as academic scholarship, Freemasonry, and television production. Gunn probes, for instance, the ways in which jargon employed by various social and professional groups creates barriers and fosters secrecy. From the theory wars of cultural studies to the Satanic Panic that swept the national mass media in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gunn shows how the paradox of a hidden, buried, or secret meaning that cannot be expressed in language appears time and time again in Western culture.

These recurrent patterns, Gunn argues, arise from a generalized, popular anxiety about language and its limitations. Ultimately, Modern Occult Rhetoric demonstrates the indissoluble relationship between language, secrecy, and publicity, and the centrality of suspicion in our daily lives.

From the Back Cover:

A broadly interdisciplinary study of the pervasive secrecy in American cultural, political, and religious discourse.

"Gunn has crafted an exceptionally fine book exploring discourse that hides, disguises, and occludes. He shows how central such discourse is in the world we live in. The book's linkage of 19th-century occult texts with the impenetrable books of today's fasionable postmodern gurus is especially valuable. Scholars across the academy will find that the book is indispensable."--Barry Brummett, author of Rhetorical Dimensions of Popular Culture

"Gunn's work is a comprehensive examination of society's hierarchies of mystery and elitism--a subject that has been largely ignored by rhetorical scholars--and Gunn tackles it with erudition, insight, and most importantly, humor. Modern Occult Rhetoric is original, provocative, extremely well written, and throughtfully argued."--Mark McPhail, author of Zen in the Art of Rhetoric

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Gunn, Joshua
Published by Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press (2005)
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Book Description Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: As New. Dust Jacket Condition: As New. 1st Edition. 8vo. Hardcover. xxix, 340 pages, including list of illustrations, select bibliography and index. Series: Rhetoric, Culture and Social Critique. Publisher's review slip laid in. Green and gold pictorial dust jacket with gold, white and black lettering to front and red and black lettering to spine; as new, unclipped (with a small crease at the top inner flap), mylar covered. Blue paper-covered boards with gilt lettering to spine; as new. This is a very fresh review copy of the first edition. Seller info: Lit Crit/Lit F-I, box #1. Bookseller Inventory # 0030100JS

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Book Description University Alabama Press, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Item may show signs of shelf wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. Includes supplemental or companion materials if applicable. Access codes may or may not work. Connecting readers since 1972. Customer service is our top priority. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000968194

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