Complete Story

HALLORAN, S. Michael

Fall 2001, pages 5-18

Text and Experience in a Historical Pageant: Toward a Rhetoric of Spectacle

Abstract: A 1927 pageant at the Saratoga Battlefield illustrates the workings of spectacle, here defined as a public gathering of people who have come to witness some event and are self-consciously present to each other as well as to that event. Like Debord and others, I emphasize a tension between lived experience and text. Unlike them, I argue that spectacle is itself a lived experience that may be of greater consequence than the rhetorical text. I suggest that rhetoricians should strive to get at the lived experience that may be reflected quite imperfectly in the rhetorical text.
Read the Rhetoric Society Quarterly Get information about our conferences Get information about our institutes Learn about becoming a member Access members-only content