Searching for style in the freshman classroom

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1991
Authors
Brannan, Robert
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If we can agree that there is such a thing as style and perhaps even that it is a critical component of any written discourse, we must next consider whether or not it is teachable. In order to do this, it will be helpful to review several of the most basic theories underlying the conception of style and then try to determine not only which theory seems most logically appealing but which seems to offer the most promise for practical classroom application. Beginning with Aristotle, who "stands at the [head] of the normative theory of style" and Plato, "at the [forefront] of the individual theory," a dichotomy was born that has had proponents on either side of the issue arguing down the centuries. Today the debate between "the theory of ornate form, or rhetorical dualism" and "the individualist, or psychological monism" is still alive and well, with critics and educators continuing to argue vehemently for their respective positions–although some are finding compromises.

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