Modern Occult Rhetoric. Mass Media and the Drama of Secrecy in the Twentieth Century. Joshua GUNN.

Modern Occult Rhetoric. Mass Media and the Drama of Secrecy in the Twentieth Century.

Tuscaloosa, AL: University Alabama Press, 2011. First Edition. Hardcover. Large octavo. xxx + 340pp. Blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine, appendixes, bibliography, endnotes and index. An intellectually demanding work in which the author, an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, explores perceived similarities between occult and academic forms of writing using the disciplines of rhetoric and post modern literary and social theory. He focusses some of his attention on Crowley, offering an interesting analysis of sections of a number of his works, notably "The Book of the Law" which is also included as an Appendix. Thankfully Prof. Gunn is well aware of Crowley's love for and use of irony, and those parts of the work that aren't overburdened by theory are genuinely interesting. The publisher's description of the work, which seems as dense as the most forbidding parts of the study, describes it as "A broadly interdisciplinary study of the pervasive secrecy in America cultural, political, and religious discourse. The occult has traditionally been understood as the study of secrets of the practice of mysticism or magic. This book broadens our understanding of the occult by treating it as a rhetorical phenomenon tied to language and symbols and more central to American culture than is commonly assumed. Joshua Gunn approaches the occult as an idiom, examining the ways in which acts of textual criticism and interpretation are occultic in nature, as evident in practices as diverse as academic scholarship, Freemasonry, and television production. Gunn probes, for instance, the ways in which jargon employed by various social and professional groups creates barriers and fosters secrecy. From the theory wars of cultural studies to the Satanic Panic that swept the national mass media in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gunn shows how the paradox of a hidden, buried, or secret meaning that cannot be expressed in language appears time and time again in Western culture. These recurrent patterns, Gunn argues, arise from a generalized, popular anxiety about language and its limitations. Ultimately, Modern Occult Rhetoric demonstrates the indissoluble relationship between language, secrecy, and publicity, and the centrality of suspicion in our daily lives." Appears unused - thus a tight, clean near Fine copy in mylar covered near Fine dust jacket. Scarce in hardcover. Item #67514
ISBN: 9780817356569

Price: $125.00

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