Revolutionary Rhetoric: Georg Büchner’s “Der Hessische Landbote” – A Case Study [Book Review]

Argumentation 21 (2):129-149 (2007)
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In this paper, the political pamphlet “Der Hessische Landbote” by the eminent German author, Georg Büchner (1813–1837), will be positioned within the context of its political and historical background, analyzed as to its argumentative and stylistic structure, and critically evaluated. It will be argued that propaganda texts such as this should be evaluated by taking into account both rhetorical perspectives and standards of rational discussion. As far as argumentative structure is concerned, a modified version of the Toulmin scheme will be used for the description of three passages of the “Landbote”. As far as stylistic techniques are concerned, Büchner’s strategic use of some figures of speech, especially parallelism, metaphor and metonymy will be examined. As to the critical evaluation, the recently developed concept of “strategic maneuvering” within Pragma-Dialectics, the typology of argumentative dialogues established by D. Walton, and sets of critical questions will be used to assess the status of the arguments within the “Landbote” as potentially fallacious ones


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