ABSTRACT

Structuralism as a working method has not come into contact with the body of compositionist scholarship for quite some time, leading writing studies scholars to conclude that its former place of prominence in the discipline was an empiricist reaction to language’s inescapable ambiguity (Crowley), or even a radical mistake counter to the very spirit of hermeneutics (Berthoff). This article takes an archival approach toward excavating composition studies’ institutional forums to better map American structuralism’s once-central role within a discipline that has long since rejected it. Furthermore, it aims to raise the specter that seemingly dead-end structuralist methodologies—A. J. Greimas’ structural semantics (1966/1983, Structural Semantics), Frank DeAngelo’s theoretical bridging of structural linguistics, rhetoric, and case grammar (“Generative Stylistics: Between Grammar and Rhetoric,” “Notes toward a Semantic Theory of Rhetoric within a Case Grammar Framework”)—hold possibilities for linking sentence-level style to whole-text rhetorical meaning in theorizing and teaching writing.

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