In The Rhetorical Potential of Images in Popular Accounts of Historical Events,
I develop a methodological toolkit for analyzing persuasive visuals and use those
lenses—technological, perceptual, semantic/semiotic, societal pragmatic, and
inferential—to evaluate a multimodal narrative in Matthew Paris's thirteenthcentury
Chronica Majora. Focusing on the sententious role of the chronicling
narrative form and the moralizing purpose of the exemplars that most influenced
Matthew's style, I argue that Matthew's practice of image-construction was an
historiographic—not decorative—act and explore the ways in which the layout,
organization, and illustration of Chronica Majora produced a mnemonic and
epistemic machine—a purposeful, rhetorical encyclopedia of human experience and
a guide to right behavior. Within this grounded framework, I address questions of
broader import, including the cognitive functions of narrative form, the influence of
socialization and enculturation in shaping the semiotic and rhetorical vernaculars of
discourse communities, and the function of communicative artifacts as interfaces
connecting the material domain with the intellectual lifeworlds of the producers and interpreters of communicative artifacts.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. November 2010. Major: Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication. Advisor: Billie J. Wahlstrom. 1 computer file (PDF); xvi, 618 pages, appendices A-E.
Scruton, William Christopher.
The rhetorical potential of images in popular accounts of historical events..
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