|[b] Fictional rhetoric|
The Rhetoric of Fiction
The ultimate problem in the rhetoric of fiction is, then, that of deciding for whom the author should write. We saw earlier that to answer, "He writes for himself," makes sense only if we assume that the self he writes for is a kind of public self, subject to the limitations that other men are subject to when they come to his books. Another answer often given is that he writes for his peers. True enough. The hack is, by definition, the man who asks for responses he cannot himself respect. But no one is ever the peer of any author in the sense of needing no help in viewing the author's world. If the novelist waits passively on his pedestal for the occasional peer whose perceptions are already in harmony with his own, then it is hard to see why he should not leave everything to such readers. Why bother to write at all? If the reader were really the artist's peer in this sense, he would not need the book. In a world made up of such readers, we could stop worrying about the problem of communication entirely and simply write each his own books. But if such a world is recognized as ridiculous, however close it may seem to some of the facts of our present one, then the novelist cannot be excused from providing the judgment upon his own materials which alone can lift them from being what Faulkner had called the mere "record of man" and turn them into the "pillars" that can help him be fully man. We may scoff at the southern gentleman's rhetoric in the Stockholm address, but the greatest living novelist means—for once—what he says.
|[c] Rhetorical fiction|
|[d] Rhetorical Booth|
The author makes his readers. If he makes them badly—that is, if he simply waits, in all purity, for the occasional reader whose perceptions and norms happen to match his own, then his conception must be lofty indeed if we are to forgive him for his bad craftsmanship. But if he makes them well—that is, makes them see what they have never seen before, moves them into a new order of perception and experience altogether—he finds his reward in the peers he has created.
 Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967), 396-398.
Booth, Wayne. The Rhetoric of Fiction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1967.