English R1B

Reading and Composition: Rhetoric, Repetition and Rhyme

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Fall 2006 Tanya Brolaski
MWF 11-12 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"Desiderius Erasmus, On Copia of Words and Ideas

Harryette Mullen, Sleeping with the Dictionary

Lewis Carroll, Jabberwocky, and more nonsense

William Shakespeare, Sonnets

Juliana Spahr, Fuck You-Aloha-I Love You

Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons

William Struck Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style

Sundry short items including Martin Luther King Jr.�s �I Have a Dream,� The Rhyming Poem, Ezra Pound�s translations of Arnaut Daniel, an essay on the color blue from Alexander Thoreaux�s Primary Colours, Gertrude Stein�s Portraits and Repetition and excerpts from How to Write and Stephen Pinker�s The Language Instinct, rhetorical manuals, and new media."


"Roman Jakobson argues that babies first begin to make meaning when they begin to repeat phonemes: ba-ba, da-da, etc. Like Chomsky�s notion of Universal Grammar, repetition is embedded in the structure of language and has aesthetic, rhetorical, performative and political purposes. Rhymes occur in 5 th century Celtic inscriptions and presidential speeches, repetitive gestures occur in ceremonial dance, repetition is seen to have a kind of power in chants, incantations, prayers and songs. In this class, we will be examining the persuasive power of rhetoric as manifested in a variety of texts that use syntactic parallelism, refrain, alliteration, assonance, rhyme (phonetic and ideational). Why is the repetition of like sounds such a powerful and �convincing� device, from selling cars to seducing a lover? We will be looking at various rhetorical and poetical arguments (Shakespeare�s attempt to get a young man to marry, Stein�s claim that she never repeats she only �insists,� Erasmus�s plea for stylistic �copia�) in order to refine our own abilities to

Use persuasive strategies that frame an argument around a central thesis

Become fluent writers of progressively longer, more elaborate arguments

Become proficient researchers by utilizing our vast resources

Utilize certain conventions for citing sources

Imitate and innovate

Draft and re-draft

Respond critically to a wide variety of texts

Develop editing skills

Use writing as a tool to teach and to delight "

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