Complete Story

Sutton, Jane

Special Issue 44:3, pages 256-270

Haunted by a Peacock: Discovering, Testing, and Generating Rhetoric in Untimely Ways 

Abstract:  In this essay, a peacock represents an “untimely” agent of transformation in an Aristotelian-based rhetoric. The peacock refers to a fragment attributed to Antiphon. This essay identifies and develops two untimely historiographical ways for pursuing an answer to the question, how can sophistical fragments in general and Antiphon’s fragment in particular be employed to generate attractive spaces for the future of rhetoric as an art of civic discourse? The essay is divided into four parts. It begins with a methodological introduction to untimely ways of doing historiography followed by a discussion of the fragment about the peacocks. The third part situates the fragment in a “laboratory” where “equipment” is set up to explore the fragment with untimely ways. The last part of the essay describes how if the peacock’s wing were left alone, rhetoric would be better prepared to look outside of itself into new forms for new functions.

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