Dramatizing Writing: Reincorporating Delivery in the Classroom

Dramatizing Writing: Reincorporating Delivery in the Classroom

Dramatizing Writing: Reincorporating Delivery in the Classroom

Dramatizing Writing: Reincorporating Delivery in the Classroom


Although speech departments have "owned" delivery for the last 100 years, those who teach writing, especially English departments, can gain a great deal by reinstating delivery into their conceptions of and theories about writing. Thus, in the author's vision of "dramatizing writing" in the composition classroom, delivery can have an impact on all the composing steps, from invention to final draft. The goals of this text are to redefine delivery for writing, to reunite it with other parts of the classical rhetorical canon, and to practically apply it in contemporary writing instruction.

This text is divided into three main sections. The first provides a survey of the history of delivery in rhetorical theory. A continuum is set up from a totally physical conception of delivery to a noetic one which incorporates more intellectual processes. The argument is that the tension heightened by discord over its definition eventually led to the splitting of delivery from the rhetorical canon. A separate discussion of the women's challenge to delivery is also included. The next section contains a survey of facets of delivery that exist in current theory combined with the author's own theory of delivery. It provides insight into the state of delivery in contemporary writing instruction. The author argues that since the split of delivery from the rhetorical canon has caused a modern bias against delivery in writing theory, many strategies that could aid in the teaching of writing have either been overlooked or undertheorized. Therefore, she borrows from current theoretical areas within and outside of writing in order to construct her own theory of delivery. The last section provides practical applications of delivery in writing instruction. Again borrowing from many sources inside and outside of composition, she describes the techniques teachers may use to incorporate delivery in a writing classroom. Through the use of delivery, more strategies may be developed to aid in the teaching of writing.

Special features include:

• the incorporation of some practices that had been in use in the composition classroom for many years but did not have any consciously theoretical grounding;

• the discussion of women rhetoricians' theories on delivery;

• the combination of many contemporary theoretical areas including theatrical, feminist, rhetorical, and pedagogical to form the author's redefined theory of delivery; and

• the presentation of practical applications of this new theory of delivery for teachers to utilize in their own classrooms.


Some years ago, while in my PhD program at Bowling Green State University, I mentioned to my friend and dissertation chair, Sue Carter Simmons, that I wanted to somehow combine my passions for rhetorical historiography and contemporary drama. She suggested I investigate the possibility of delivery in the composition classroom. As cliché as it may be, the rest was history. This text is the culmination of several years of research in the history and theory of delivery, as well as its uses as a strategy to aid writing students in their struggles.

I agree with John Frederick Reynolds when he states that the serious consideration of memory and delivery is long overdue. Their presence has always existed in some form in the composition class, yet attention to the theoretical basis for that presence has been conspicuously absent. If the rhetoric revival is to survive, as Reynolds writes, we must pay heed to the rhetorical canon as a whole. Although I have ignored memory, I present, in this text, applications of delivery for writing teachers. (Dealing with memory will have to wait until the next book.)

Of course, this text was not my effort alone. I have many people to thank for their support, guidance, and understanding, particularly Sue Carter Simmons. Without her encouragement and suggestions, this book would still be just a file in my computer. I would also like to thank the faculty of two different schools: Bowling Green University, who graciously responded to my requests for teaching methods, and North Central Michigan College, who gave me the final encouragement to see this book into print. In addition, my gratitude extends to Kathleen O'Malley and Nicole Bush of Lawrence Erlbaum Associates for their support and suggestions in the revisions of my text. I must also gratefully acknowledge my husband, Dan . . .

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