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“The New Pathos”

My title is a little misleading. There is no new pathos at work in public life. Rather, I am suggesting a new concept of pathos for rhetorical theory. The pathos at work in public culture has never resembled the simplistic images of emotional discourse or personal expression that is sometimes defined under the heading of pathe. From the beginning, pathos has been a complex and difficult dimension of rhetorical discourse. Perhaps now, for a variety of reasons, we are ready to tackle the full complexity of pathos—what it is, how it operates, and what it allows for.