Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. George Pullman - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Marti Singer

Third Advisor

Dr. Lyneé Gaillet


This dissertation attempts to trace the shifting relationship between the fields of Rhetoric and Poetry in Western culture by focusing on poetry contests and competitions during several different historical eras. In order to examine how the distinction between the two fields is contingent on a variety of local factors, this study makes use of research in contemporary cognitive neuroscience, particularly work in categorization and cognitive linguistics, to emphasize the provisional nature of conceptual thought; that is, on the type of mental activity that gives rise to conceptualizations such as “Rhetoric” and “Poetry.” The final portions of the research attempt to use some modeling techniques derived from cognitive linguistics as invention strategies for producing stylistically idiosyncratic academic knowledge, and for examining the relationship between the stylistic markers we associate with each of the two aforementioned fields.