Kenneth Duva Burke was born May 5, 1897, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and attended Ohio State University from 1916-1917 and Columbia University from 1917-1918. He lived most of his life, from about 1921 until his death in 1993, at his home in Andover, New Jersey.
Beginning in the early 1920s, Burke was a prominent intellectual in New York literary circles. He also was associated closely with Bennington College, Vermont, where he began teaching in 1943. After resigning from Bennington in 1961, Burke accepted shorter teaching and lecturing opportunities at universities across the United States (including Penn State). During this time, Burke received many honorary doctorates and other awards, among them the Gold Medal from the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1975) and the National Medal for Literature (1981).
Kenneth Burke was a poet, essayist, reviewer, novelist, translator, social commentator, and writer of short stories. But Burke was more widely known in scholarly circles as a philosopher of language, and his ever-fertile writings have continued to influence contemporary thought, particularly in areas of rhetoric, philosophy, literary theory, cultural studies, and communication studies.
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