Kenneth Burke at the MoMA: A viewer’s theory*

Debra Hawhee, Megan Poole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


When Kenneth Burke visited the Museum of Modern Art exhibition “Road to Victory: A Procession of Photographs of the Nation at War” in the summer of 1942, he most likely did not expect to leave with such intense and intensely contradictory impressions. His visit there offers rhetoric scholars an opportunity to examine the exhibition–important for museum rhetoric because of its propagandistic political message and its innovative visual and material design. Considering the exhibition on its own terms, and the way designers managed problems of circulation and implemented new methods of “extended vision” helps us to present Burke’s then-developing theories (placement, the pentad) as themselves decidedly visual–photographic, even–and concomitantly, for that moment at least, as decidedly war-directed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-440
Number of pages23
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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