NORDSCI Conference proceedings 2019, Book 1

Language and linguistics

‘BEAUTY AND TRUTH’: THE RHETORIC OF POPULIST DISCOURSE

Prof.dr. Eduard Vlad

ABSTRACT

The “beauty and truth” in the title reminds one of John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” That is not only a great Romantic poem, but also a highly sophisticated rhetorical discourse. In it, the interwoven voices of the speaker, of the Urn, and of Keats himself as an implied author, exploit the ambivalence and ambiguity of the pronoun “we” in creating speakers and listeners, performers and audiences. The current article explores the rhetoric of populist discourse in one of Nigel Farage’s recent (May 4th, 2019) speeches. The speaker appeals to emotion rather than reason, systematically using anaphoric and epiphoric triads and other rhetorical devices to hammer his messages home. The article undertakes to examine the inconsistency in the speaker’s development of the antagonism between “ordinary,” “patriotic,” “honest” people seen as the vast majority of the British population (far more than the 52% who voted for Brexit in the 2016 referendum) and the remaining tiny minority, including the political and cultural elites, the multinationals, the banks, the hedge funds, identified as THEY. Nigel Farage, the son of a stockbroker, a stockbroker himself, the friend of stockbrokers supporting his campaign, is one of the ordinary, honest people.

KEYWORDS

Rhetoric, populism, elitism, pluralism, manipulation

REFERENCE

NORDSCI Conference Proceedings 2019, Book 1, Conference Proceedings, ISSN 2603-4107, ISBN 978-619-7495-05-8, ‘BEAUTY AND TRUTH’: THE RHETORIC OF POPULIST DISCOURSE, 97-104 pp, DOI paper 10.32008/nordsci2019/b1/v2/13