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WRIT 116.017 | The Use of Humor in Rhetoric

Bailey-HartselSpring WRIThumorsections

WRIT 116.017 | The Use of Humor in Rhetoric

Jacqueline Bailey-Hartsel | Spring 2014 | MW 12:00-1:50 & F 1:00-1:50

The classical philosopher
Quintilian defines humor as "a talent with certain imperious forces of its own." Those "forces" are largely dependent on how the audience receives and reacts to humor. Nevertheless, humor has a general tendency to dispel the "graver emotions of the judge by exciting his laughter." We'll take a look at how the "audiences graver emotions" can be navigated through the deft use of humor in rhetoric – and what can happen when humor is mishandled (or misunderstood) when dealing with rhetorical situations of a sensitive or highly volatile nature.

Full-sized poster (pdf)