Conversational Rhetoric

Conversational Rhetoric

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Much of the scholarly exchange regarding the history of women in rhetoric has emphasized womena€™s rhetorical practices. In Conversational Rhetoric: The Rise and Fall of a Womena€™s Tradition, 1600a€“1900, Jane Donawerth traces the historical development of rhetorical theory by women for women, studying the moments when women produced theory about the arts of communication in alternative genresa€”humanist treatises and dialogues, defenses of womena€™s preaching, conduct books, and elocution handbooks. She examines the relationship between communication and gender and between theory and pedagogy and argues that women constructed a theory of rhetoric based on conversation, not public speaking, as a model for all discourse. Donawerth traces the development of womena€™s rhetorical theory through the voices of English and American women (and one much-translated French woman) over three centuries. She demonstrates how they cultivated theories of rhetoric centered on conversation that faded once women began writing composition textbooks for mixed-gender audiences in the latter part of the nineteenth century. She recovers and elucidates the importance of the theories in dialogues and defenses of womena€™s education by Bathsua Makin, Mary Astell, and Madeleine de ScudAcry; in conduct books by Hannah More, Lydia Sigourney, and Eliza Farrar; in defenses of womena€™s preaching by Ellen Stewart, Lucretia Mott, Catherine Booth, and Frances Willard; and in elocution handbooks by Anna Morgan, Hallie Quinn Brown, Genevieve Stebbins, and Emily Bishop. In each genre, Donawerth explores facets of womena€™s rhetorical theory, such as the recognition of the gendered nature of communication in conduct books, the incorporation of the language of womena€™s rights in the defenses of womena€™s preaching, and the adaptation of sentimental culture to the cultivation of womena€™s bodies as tools of communication in elocution books. Rather than a linear history, Conversational Rhetoric follows the starts, stops, and starting over in womena€™s rhetorical theory. It covers a broad range of womena€™s rhetorical theory in the Anglo-American world and places them in their social, rhetorical, and gendered historical contexts. This study adds womena€™s rhetorical theory to the rhetorical tradition, advances our understanding of womena€™s theories and their use of rhetoric, and offers a paradigm for analyzing the differences between mena€™s and womena€™s rhetoric from 1600 to 1900.... to students a€œprinciples which lie at the foundation of the structure of our languagea€ and to help children operate, in written form, ... influenced by Iohann Pestalozzia#39;s a€œobject teachinga€ philosophy of education.11 For example, Knox recommends that teachers ... In part 2, composition is introduced through sentence generation based on grammatical principles. ... Her title page tells us that she is a teacher of English language and literature in an Ann Arbor high school, and she aims heranbsp;...

Title:Conversational Rhetoric
Author:Jane Donawerth
Publisher:SIU Press - 2011-11-28


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