This volume features two dimensions of Michael Osborn’s work with rhetorical metaphor. The first focuses on his early efforts to develop a conception of metaphor to advance the understanding of rhetoric, while the second concerns more recent efforts to apply this enriched conception in the analysis and criticism of significant rhetorical practice. The older emphasis features four of Osborn’s more prominent published essays, revealing the personal context in which they were generated, their strengths and shortcomings, and how they may have inspired the work of others. His more recent unpublished work analyzes patterns of metaphor in the major speeches of Demosthenes, the evolution of metaphors of illness and cure in speeches across several millennia, the exploitation of the birth-death-rebirth metaphor in Riefenstahl’s masterpiece of Nazi propaganda Triumph of the Will, and the contrasting forms of spatial imagery in the speeches of Edmund Burke and Barack Obama and what these contrasts may portend.
“This text is an opportunity to explore Michael Osborn’s rich thinking, past and present, about rhetorical metaphor. I always wondered, why Memphis? Something mythic, I suspected. He settled there early on, it turns out, because ‘an educated Southerner . . . might do some good in that troubled land.’ There he undertook to live a moral life in troubled times. His writing about metaphor was embedded in that undertaking. He reveals motives for probing the subject deeply. This is a book to read for pleasure, insight, and inspiration.”
— ROBERT IVIE, Professor Emeritus, Departments of American Studies and Communication and Culture, Indiana University