Breaking Up [at] Totality: A Rhetoric of Laughter by D. Diane Davis

By D. Diane Davis

Rhetoric and composition idea has proven a renewed curiosity in sophistic countertraditions, as visible within the paintings of such "postphilosophers" as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Hélène Cixous, and of such rhetoricians as Susan Jarratt and Steven Mailloux. As D. Diane Davis strains today’s theoretical curiosity to these countertraditions, she additionally units her points of interest past them.

Davis takes a “third sophistics” strategy, person who specializes in the play of language that forever disrupts the “either/or” binary development of dialectic. She concentrates at the nonsequential third—excess—that overflows language’s dichotomies. during this paintings, laughter operates as a trope for disruption or breaking apart, that's, from Davis’s viewpoint, a joyfully damaging shattering of our confining conceptual frameworks.

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56 The assumption throughout Rebellions is that the United Irishmen’s reform campaign was a cloak for Jacobin revolutionary objectives in imitation of France. 57 This is robust language, but in citing the declaration of ‘a similar society in Belfast’, Dublin’s United Irishmen appeal to the principles of the European Enlightenment – newly endorsed by the French: In the present great æra of reform, when major governments are falling in every quarter of Europe; when religious persecution is Musgrave’s Rebellions 33 compelled to abjure her tyranny over conscience; when the rights of men are ascertained in theory, and that theory is substantiated by practice; when antiquity can no longer defend absurd and oppressive forms against the common sense and common interests of mankind…we think it our duty, as Irishmen, to come forward and state what we feel to be our heavy grievance, and what we know to be our effective remedy.

1 But Plowden’s parallel propaganda purpose soon becomes clear. 2 Plowden was thus challenging Musgrave’s main contention: that the 1798 Rebellion was merely the last in a long line of Catholic uprisings against Protestants. Curiously, the Catholic Plowden’s State of Ireland was commissioned by the British government. In his own account of an interview with Prime Minister Addington in 1801, after the publication of Musgrave’s Rebellions, Plowden claims to have argued that ‘the calumny, traduction and misrepresentation, under which the bulk of the Irish 36 Musgrave as Reviewer 37 laboured, was a national grievance’, and that ‘the evil was increased by the countenance and forced circulation given to Sir R.

The Critical Review was quick to warn its readers: ‘The appearance of Mr Plowden’s volume is rather formidable. Imagine to yourself, gentle reader, two quartos, containing respectively 1003 and 1480 pages. 11 The Monthly Review similarly censured Plowden’s prolixity, arguing that he ought ‘either to have made his collection of state papers complete, or to have made it more select’, and ‘only in very particular cases’ to have published the parliamentary debates in full. 13 And, again like the Monthly, the Critical condemns Plowden’s attempted extenuation of the 1641 rebellion, complaining that the account of Charles I’s reign is so confused that ‘no man previously unacquainted with the circumstances, can draw any connected information from his incoherent rhapsody’.

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