The Rise and Fall of a Women's Tradition, 1600-1900
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
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This book examines rhetorical theory by women in England and the United States (and one widely translated Frenchwoman) from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries. It traces the rise and fall of a tradition of women’s rhetorical theory that centers on conversation (as opposed to public...
Introduction: Adding Women’s Rhetorical Theory to the Conversation
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When Mary Astell, in A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, part II, published in 1697, outlines what ladies should study under the rubric of rhetoric, she terms the audience of her would-be writers “our neighbors” and the communication these writers would convey a “conversation” (120–22). When Jennie...
Humanist Dialogues and Defenses of Women’s Education: Conversation as a Model for All Discourse
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At the beginning of her mid-seventeenth-century dialogue, “On Conversation,” Madeleine de Scudéry proclaims, “conversation is the bond of society for all humanity, the greatest pleasure of discriminating people, and the most ordinary method to introduce into the world not only civility, but also the...
Conduct Book Rhetoric: Constructing a Theory of Feminine Discourse
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In Jane Austen’s Lady Susan (1793–94?), the wicked Lady Susan declares to her friend, “If I am vain of anything, it is of my eloquence. Consideration and esteem as surely follow command of language, as admiration waits on beauty. And here I have opportunity enough for the exercise of my talent, as the chief...
Defenses of Women’s Preaching: Dissenting Rhetoric and the Language of Women’s Rights
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Chapter 1, on women’s humanist treatises and dialogues on women’s education, traced the development of a women’s theory of rhetoric based on conversation as a model of discourse. Chapter 2 examined the continuance of this model in Anglo-American conduct books by women for women that...
Elocution: Sentimental Culture and Performing Femininity
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By the mid-nineteenth century, conversation as a model of discourse, the gendered nature of communication, and women’s rights to public speaking were intertwined in a transatlantic women’s tradition of rhetoric in women’s rhetorical theory. However, besides conduct rhetoric and defenses of women’s...
Conclusion: Composition Textbooks by Women and the Decline of a Women’s Tradition
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By the end of the nineteenth century, there was a firmly established women’s tradition of rhetorical theory devised by women. It had been developed not in rhetoric textbooks but in humanist treatises and dialogues on women’s education, conduct manuals for women, defenses of women’s preaching, and...
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Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms
Other Books in the Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms Series, Back Cover
Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2011