Reining in rhetoric


Bot Garden conservatory, some years ago.

Although Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach (2007) is a slim volume (as the phrase goes), I have not yet finished it. Already, I have encountered some lovely imagery.

I am particularly taken, at this moment, with the phrase “self-dramatizing rhetoric” (p. 58). McEwan uses it to describe the tenor of activist meetings in Britain in the late 1950s, pairing it with “mournful rectitude” to describe the span of interaction modes. Still, I’m taken with the first characterization, and can say that I find distasteful the overwhelming trend toward self-dramatizing rhetoric that pervade many discussions regarding issues surrounding our upcoming presidential election.

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