We begin with critical reflections on rhetoric as the antistrophē of dialectic. Here is the first line of Aristotle's Rhetoric: "Rhetoric is the counterpart [antistrophos] to dialectic." What this means exactly has been a point of some controversy over centuries of study in the rhetorical tradition. As John Rainolds said, "There are as many interpretations of this little word . . . as there are interpreters." However, we see something other, namely that these "many interpretations" of rhetoric as antistrophē are actually "one." The result is an amplification of the face of rhetoric to look, act, perform, and affect change like dialectic. Antistrophē is the trope that dominates and amplifies the rhetorical tradition as civic discourse. Set in this conceptual contextualization, rhetoric's dialectical face is a "catastrophe" for rhetoric, for difference, and for democratic deliberation. Why and how this is so involves an inward-looking investigation into how antistrophē encapsulates rhetoric in terms of argument and style. In this chapter, we also offer a way out of this traditional sensibility by troping rhetoric otherwise. Traditionally, tropes and figures are cast as tools to be used by agents. But Hayden White has detailed how tropes operate on and within discourse and, structurally speaking, determine the modes-e.g., argument, style-of discourse. In our analysis, the trope of antistrophē, because it defines what rhetoric is, testifies to the fundamental structure of rhetoric. There are other tropes. Tropes are rhetoric's opportunity for enlarging rhetoric's structural relation with contingency through difference. Our reliance on tropes is committed to using rhetoric's resources so as not "to betray our opportunity," something Giles Wilkeson Gray warned rhetoricians about as early as 1923.
Copyright © 2015 Lexington Books. This chapter first appeared in A Revolution in Tropes: Alloiostrophic Rhetoric.
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Sutton, Jane S., and Mari Lee Mifsud. "Figuring Out/In Rhetoric: From Antistrophē to Alloiostrophē." In A Revolution in Tropes: Alloiostrophic Rhetoric, 1-18. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2015.