This article uses a lengthy critique of Kenneth Burke's Attitudes Toward History found in the Kenneth Burke Papers as well as Kenneth Burke's published writing to argue for a more expansive view of his comic theory, one that sees Burke's comic theory as a basis for ethical rhetorical engagement. Rather than defining the comic as a Burkean rhetorical device that is relevant to only a select number of texts and situations, this account of Burke's comic theory suggests it has broad applicability. Engaging Burke's comic theory as an ethic allows for active, generous, exigent, and self-reflective scholarship.

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