Nineteenth-Century Rhetoric in North America:

Nineteenth-Century Rhetoric in North America:

Nineteenth-Century Rhetoric in North America:

Nineteenth-Century Rhetoric in North America:

Synopsis

Johnson argues that nineteenth-century rhetoric was primarily synthetic, derived from the combination of classical elements and eighteenth-century belletristic and epistemological approaches to theory and practice. She reveals that nineteenth-century rhetoric supported several rhetorical arts, each conceived systematically from a similar theoretical foundation.

Excerpt

The purpose of this commentary is to define the characteristics of the nineteenth-century rhetorical tradition in North America and to argue that the nineteenth century was the last era during which the discipline of rhetoric exerted an acknowledged authority over the philosophical investigation of discourse and formal instruction in oral and written communication. the term discipline refers here to the historic role of rhetoric as a branch of liberal philosophy and education self-consciously concerned with discourse and the arts of expression. This history will focus on the theoretical and pedagogical priorities that the nineteenth-century discipline promoted, exploring how rhetoricians in this period defined their own enterprise. What philosophical assumptions were considered authoritative by rhetorical theorists in this period? How did these assumptions influence definitions of rhetorical principles and rules for practice? What rhetorical arts were defined as significant? What civic and cultural function was assigned to rhetorical education? These questions presuppose that an understanding of the nineteenth-century tradition depends on an investigation of the discipline's particular theoretical and cultural contexts. This methodological stance is predisposed by a larger assumption regarding the history of rhetoric: to understand the historic function of rhetorical traditions as . . .

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