Spring 1946 • Vol. VIII No. 2 Nonfiction |

Dry Watershed

Kenneth Burke's criticism, from Permanence and Change to the present volume,1 has been moving toward greater generality in form while remaining more or less static in content. He has been covering the same ground, but each time around the course has cut a deeper track. The subject has remained "motives," which, as Mr. Burke uses the term, means "situation," "situation involving attribution of motives," "statements about motives," "criticism of statements about motives," etc. The term has also designated a variety and complexity of things having to do with, among others, poetic, monetary and political strategies and perspectives—the purpose of such "anatomizing" of motives being to inculcate an attitude of "linguistic skepticism" and to "purify war" by extending the area of rational intercourse. The means to this end have grown more specific; one can trace their development from the multitude of interlocking linguistic perspectives in Permanence and Change, through the extrapolatio

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