Rhetorical literary ethics are part and parcel of the larger rhetorical interchange between authors and audiences offered by literary texts; in this respect, ethics are an intrinsic part of (rhetorical) form. More specifically,this rhetorical ethics attends to the interactions among the ethical dimensions of the telling and those of the told as well as to the ethical positions the author invites the audience to adopt and those the audience brings with them. Demonstrating the usefulness of this approach to Robert Frost's wrenching lyric narrative “Home Burial” provides a response to Charles Altieri's challenge that the dominant approaches to literary ethics are limited because they privilege texts, especially narratives, ultimately committed to judicious rationality. The response offers an account of the rhetorical dynamics of lyric narrative in general and of the rhetorical and ethical dynamics of “Home Burial” in particular.
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James Phelan; Rhetorical Literary Ethics and Lyric Narrative: Robert Frost's“ Home Burial”. Poetics Today 1 December 2004; 25 (4): 627–651. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/03335372-25-4-627
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