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The Power of the Image

Emotion, Expression, Explanation

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Edited By András Benedek and Kristof Nyiri

We think primarily in images, and only secondarily in words, while both the image and the word are preceded by the bodily, the visceral, the muscular. This holds even for mathematical thinking. It is the entire motor system, including facial expressions and bodily gestures, that underlies not just emotions but also abstract thought. Communication, too, is a primordially visual task, spoken and written language only gradually supplementing and even supplanting the pictorial. Writing liberates, but also enslaves; after centuries of a dominantly verbal culture, today the ease of producing and accessing digital images amounts to a homecoming of the visual, with the almost limitless online availability of our textual heritage completing the educational revolution of the 21st century.
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Expressivity and Emotion in Visionary Rhetoric

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Petra Aczél

“Teaching must be based on a sense of wonder, or the emotions awakened by the text to be studied.”1

How to craft a well-constructed emotional experience in a speech? You will quickly find a research program available on the internet (worked out for texts exclusively in English) that will tell you. Working with six fundamental feelings rather than the positive–negative dyad it analyzes the meaning and connotations of chosen words and draws a verdict about your text’s impact on audiences. If such innovations exists, any theoretical essays on the emotional contents and expressive capacities of rhetorical speeches may seem superfluous. Now, how did this previous statement sound? What kind of feelings has it given rise to? Did it, by any chance, cause precarious thoughts about the scientific nature of the whole chapter? As for the genre, can irony at all be present in the neutral style of a scholarly text? Even though it sounds the easy way out, I strongly doubt whether the emotional impact of a text (read or heard) can be automatically quantified based solely upon word-meanings by an online program.

Wrong as I may be, I hereby endeavour to give an overview, a conceptual framework of the expressive and emotional features of rhetorical speeches, taking a qualitative perspective, aiming to stress the importance of vision in persuasion. For that reason I propose the term visionary speech in place of the persuasive one as I am prone...

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