David Foster Wallace on the American ethos

Recall that ethos has a few different meanings.  It’s most often used to describe the spirit or character of a people, place, or institution, which is how David Foster Wallace uses it in the video clip.  But in the study of rhetoric it means something more like the “credibility” of a speaker/writer based on her ethics or knowledge.

About dgriffith

Dave Griffith is Assistant Professor of English at Sweet Briar College. He is the author of A Good War is Hard to Find: The Art of Violence in America.
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