This book relates the concept of civility to rhetorical disposition, and incivility to indisposition. The author discusses classical rhetorical theory and interprets it for use in all interactions, exploring origins in infancy of the rhetorical disposition and the rhetorical indisposition. He provides four case-study chapters of the lives of individuals illustrating unhealthy narcissism and rhetorical failure — Jim Jones, Joseph McCarthy, Paul Morel, and Tiberius Gracchus. These cases illustrate how unfavorable narcissism can give adverse direction to the rhetorical imperative and lead to problems in relationships. Barrett offers a rhetorical corrective.
Harold Barrett is Professor in the Department of Speech Communication at California State University in Hayward.