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Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric
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Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric
Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric
Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric
Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric

Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric

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Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric
by D. Leigh Henson, Ph.D.

Title: Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric
Publication Year: 2017
Author: D. Leigh Henson
Publisher: CreateSpace
ISBN: 9781540745644
Price: $19.95
Format: Soft Cover; First Edition
Subject: Non-fiction: rhetorical analysis/Abraham Lincoln/history
Language: English
Condition: New, signed by author

This is a brand new, signed copy of Professor D. Leigh Henson's book, Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric.

Springfield, Missouri, May 22, 2017. Announcing the publication of Inventing Lincoln: Approaches to His Rhetoric. Pp. xiii, 372, notes, index. Paper. This book does not develop a new, provocative interpretation of Abraham Lincoln—as some readers might require to justify a new Lincoln book—but it does pursue a purpose that none of the other 15,000+ books in Lincoln studies have ever attempted. This book provides a systematic discussion of the work of selected biographers and several kinds of scholars who have invented Lincoln through their explanations and judgments of his discourse. Inventing Lincoln reveals the rhetorical concepts and analytical methods applied by Lincolnists to his discourse and in turn the rhetorical qualities they perceive in his speeches and other writings. Such an account of approaches to Lincoln’s rhetoric strengthens our understanding of the relationship between his compositions and his public life, and facilitates more meaningful reading of his texts by the educated public, instructors, and advanced students, who may gain ideas for further research. In researching and writing this book, Henson sought, received, and used suggestions from prominent Lincoln scholars.

Applying fundamentals from classical rhetoric, Henson explains and critiques how Lincoln’s speeches and other compositions have been treated in biographies—twenty-one, from 1872 to 2016—and studies of discourse analysis—thirty-six, from 1900 to 2015: five books and thirty-one book chapters or essays published in peer-reviewed journals largely unfamiliar to the general public. Lincoln biographers and academics' fields of expertise, values, and beliefs affect the choice of his speeches and other compositions they write about--and every aspect of treating them: contextualizing, analyzing, summarizing, explicating, quoting, paraphrasing, and assessing. In effect, all techniques of rendering the meaning of a text and judging it are interpretive. Through their various approaches to Lincoln's discourse, his interpreters are immensely responsible for inventing him--shaping the world’s beliefs about Lincoln the man, Lincoln the politician, and Lincoln the statesman.

Testimonials from prominent Lincoln scholars David Zarefsky and Harold Holzer appear on the back cover of the book.

"The body of Lincoln scholarship is vast, and much of it—especially in recent years—focuses on his rhetoric. Some work deals with individual speeches and documents while other writing disperses judgments about Lincoln's rhetoric amidst general history and biography. How to keep track of all this material? How to know what ground has been covered repeatedly, what calls out for more attention, what conversations have scholars had among themselves? Fortunately, D. Leigh Henson's book ably answers these questions. It puts writers on Lincoln into dialogue within and across time periods, and it offers both summaries and assessments of their work. This is a valuable companion to the rich array of scholarship on Lincoln's rhetoric." — David Zarefsky, Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies, Northwestern University, is the author of Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate as well as numerous essays about Lincoln's rhetoric.

"In the ongoing quest to unlock the secrets of Abraham Lincoln's extraordinary skills as a communicator, D. Leigh Henson's new work sheds valuable new light on the origins—and manifestations—of Lincoln's rhetorical skills. Teachers and advanced students alike will find this a valuable guide to a subject that continues to fascinate anyone interested in presidential and oratorical history." — Harold Holzer has authored, coauthored, or edited more than thirty books and many essays and commentaries in various media on Lincoln's relevance to public affairs. He won the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize and four other awards in 2015 for his book Lincoln and the Power of the Press.


A native of Lincoln, Illinois—the First Lincoln Namesake Town—D. Leigh Henson spent his college freshman year at Lincoln College—the First Lincoln Namesake College. He earned a bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD in English studies at Illinois State University, whose original attorney was Abraham Lincoln. In 1990 Henson co-founded Technical Publication Associates, Inc. In 1994 he retired from teaching high school English for thirty years at Pekin, Illinois. Since 2008 he has been professor emeritus of English at Missouri State University, Springfield, where for fourteen years he taught and published on the theory, practice, and pedagogy of technical and marketing communication. He has also published articles in peer-reviewed journals related to rhetoric and composition, and the pedagogy of literature. His book The Town Abraham Lincoln Warned: The Living Namesake Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois, and his collaborative, community history website of his hometown received Superior Achievement awards from the Illinois State Historical Society. He has published on William Maxwell's portrayal of social classes and Abraham Lincoln’s political activity in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society and on Lincoln’s rhetoric in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association. Henson is included in the Illinois Center for the Book Wiki, an affiliate of the Library of Congress. He is also an elected member of the Society of Midland Authors.

For those interested in rhetorical analysis and Abraham Lincoln

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