Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich

Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich

Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich

Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich

Synopsis

In this lucid and innovative work, Krista Ratcliffe successfully extrapolates rhetorical theories from three feminist writers not generally thought of as rhetoricians. Ratcliffe's skillful use of her methodology demonstrates a new model for examining women's texts. Her work situates Woolf's, Daly's, and Rich's feminist theories of rhetoric within current conversations about feminist pedagogies, particularly the interweavings of critical thinking, reading, and writing. Ratcliffe concludes with an application to teaching. This well-reasoned and convincing study will appeal to a widely varied audience: women in rhetoric and composition who feel that traditional theories do not speak to them; teachers of rhetorical history who want to explore gender concepts; composition teachers who want to become more aware of gender differences and pedagogical strategies to accommodate these differences; literary theorists and speech communication scholars who wish to track new methodologies for examining gender concerns; women's studies scholars who want to continue the examination of how language constructs and reflects patriarchy; and other students and scholars who simply are interested in theories of rhetoric, feminism, and pedagogy.

Excerpt

Sometimes we drug ourselves with dreams of new ideas. the head will save us. the brain alone will set us free. But there are no new ideas waiting in the wings to save us as women, as human. There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves--along with the renewed courage to try them out.

--Audre Lorde, "Poetry Is Not a Luxury"

I remember my second quarter in graduate school at Ohio State, almost a decade ago, when I was simultaneously reading Virginia Woolf and Aristotle. I was reading Woolf's Mrs. Dallowayfor Marlene Longenecker "Woman as Hero" seminar and Aristotle's Rhetoric for Ed Corbett's history of rhetoric survey. Although it has since crossed my mind that the history of rhetoric course could easily have been retitled "Man as Hero," I remember being equally excited about both classes. and as the quarter wore on, my excitement remained, but it became accompanied by perplexity and then by frustration. Where were women's voices in the history of rhetoric? I would like to say that my quarter ended with a nice, neat conclusion. But it did not. Instead, I wrote two seminar papers, one about Margaret Atwood and one about Isocrates, as if the two had nothing to say to one another. It has taken me a dissertation, a few articles, several drafts of this book, and innumerable conversations to articulate this frustration. and still I have no pat answers. What I do have is an idea, a way of extrapolating feminist theories of rhetoric from feminist texts. To demonstrate this idea, I have focused on the three Anglo-American feminists who have taught me most of what I know about women (and) writing: Virginia Woolf, MaryDaly, and Adrienne Rich.Whether or not these feminists would approve of my project, I cannot say, and while I hope they would, in many ways such a question does not concern me. What does concern me is how their . . .

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