Jefferson's other

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This essay investigates how various representations of the public memory of Thomas Jefferson function rhetorically. Curiously, such representations depict a past for which no certain record exists. The portrayal of Jefferson's alleged affair with Sally Hemings in novels, films, and other discourses demonstrates that the rhetoric of public memory, which preserves the relevance and utility of the past for audiences in the present, is often sustained, not by a transparent or even plausible understanding of former persons and events, but by profound and potentially irresolvable confusions over the relationship between what is commemorated and those doing the commemorating. The essay scrutinizes how three different forms of rhetoric respond to such confusion by fashioning memories of Jefferson that reflect contemporary desires to explain the mysteries of his enigmatic past. Consequently, the essay argues that the contemporary public memory of Jefferson is defined by a discursive haunting of his official reputation in which various ghostly counterparts are said to represent what the official record can only suggest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)284-302
Number of pages19
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Volume88
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2002

Fingerprint

Data storage equipment
rhetoric
reputation
human being
Public Memory
event
discourse
present
Rhetoric
Confusion
Portrayal
Thomas Jefferson
Person
Mystery
Discourse
Novel
Discursive
Haunting

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education

Cite this

Vivian, Bradford James. / Jefferson's other. In: Quarterly Journal of Speech. 2002 ; Vol. 88, No. 3. pp. 284-302.
@article{7b32fdd901d74b4bacd7f30eb93135b2,
title = "Jefferson's other",
abstract = "This essay investigates how various representations of the public memory of Thomas Jefferson function rhetorically. Curiously, such representations depict a past for which no certain record exists. The portrayal of Jefferson's alleged affair with Sally Hemings in novels, films, and other discourses demonstrates that the rhetoric of public memory, which preserves the relevance and utility of the past for audiences in the present, is often sustained, not by a transparent or even plausible understanding of former persons and events, but by profound and potentially irresolvable confusions over the relationship between what is commemorated and those doing the commemorating. The essay scrutinizes how three different forms of rhetoric respond to such confusion by fashioning memories of Jefferson that reflect contemporary desires to explain the mysteries of his enigmatic past. Consequently, the essay argues that the contemporary public memory of Jefferson is defined by a discursive haunting of his official reputation in which various ghostly counterparts are said to represent what the official record can only suggest.",
author = "Vivian, {Bradford James}",
year = "2002",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/00335630209384378",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "88",
pages = "284--302",
journal = "Quarterly Journal of Speech",
issn = "0033-5630",
publisher = "Routledge",
number = "3",

}

Jefferson's other. / Vivian, Bradford James.

In: Quarterly Journal of Speech, Vol. 88, No. 3, 01.01.2002, p. 284-302.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

TY - JOUR

T1 - Jefferson's other

AU - Vivian, Bradford James

PY - 2002/1/1

Y1 - 2002/1/1

N2 - This essay investigates how various representations of the public memory of Thomas Jefferson function rhetorically. Curiously, such representations depict a past for which no certain record exists. The portrayal of Jefferson's alleged affair with Sally Hemings in novels, films, and other discourses demonstrates that the rhetoric of public memory, which preserves the relevance and utility of the past for audiences in the present, is often sustained, not by a transparent or even plausible understanding of former persons and events, but by profound and potentially irresolvable confusions over the relationship between what is commemorated and those doing the commemorating. The essay scrutinizes how three different forms of rhetoric respond to such confusion by fashioning memories of Jefferson that reflect contemporary desires to explain the mysteries of his enigmatic past. Consequently, the essay argues that the contemporary public memory of Jefferson is defined by a discursive haunting of his official reputation in which various ghostly counterparts are said to represent what the official record can only suggest.

AB - This essay investigates how various representations of the public memory of Thomas Jefferson function rhetorically. Curiously, such representations depict a past for which no certain record exists. The portrayal of Jefferson's alleged affair with Sally Hemings in novels, films, and other discourses demonstrates that the rhetoric of public memory, which preserves the relevance and utility of the past for audiences in the present, is often sustained, not by a transparent or even plausible understanding of former persons and events, but by profound and potentially irresolvable confusions over the relationship between what is commemorated and those doing the commemorating. The essay scrutinizes how three different forms of rhetoric respond to such confusion by fashioning memories of Jefferson that reflect contemporary desires to explain the mysteries of his enigmatic past. Consequently, the essay argues that the contemporary public memory of Jefferson is defined by a discursive haunting of his official reputation in which various ghostly counterparts are said to represent what the official record can only suggest.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=0040669668&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=0040669668&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/00335630209384378

DO - 10.1080/00335630209384378

M3 - Review article

AN - SCOPUS:0040669668

VL - 88

SP - 284

EP - 302

JO - Quarterly Journal of Speech

JF - Quarterly Journal of Speech

SN - 0033-5630

IS - 3

ER -