Man Cannot Speak for Her - Vol. 1

Man Cannot Speak for Her - Vol. 1

Man Cannot Speak for Her - Vol. 1

Man Cannot Speak for Her - Vol. 1

Synopsis

"The right to cast a ballot from a feminine hand occupied the attention and efforts of hundreds of women for more than a century in the U.S. In these two volumes Campbell (University of Minnesota) provides a basic understanding of two processes: the development of the rhetoric used by the women who argued for equal rights, and the constraints and sanctions applied to those women who affronted the norms of society's expectation that true women were seldom seen and never spoke in public. The first volume lays the foundation for the analysis of rhetorical style and content by its fine introduction and by a succession of chapters organized chronologically, with biographical sketches and excerpts from speeches. It includes a chapter specifically addressed to issues of sex, race, and class faced by African American women. Volume 2 is not a continuation of the first, but contains the texts on which the first volume is based. The biographical and historical sections are gracefully written and well organized, but the greatest value of the set lies in the actual words of the feminist leaders and Campbell's skillfull analyses. Every women's studies program must have this available. Upper-division undergraduates and above." Choice

Excerpt

Men have an ancient and honorable rhetorical history. Their speeches and writings, from antiquity to the present, are studied and analyzed by historians and rhetoricians. Public persuasion has been a conscious part of the Western male's heritage from ancient Greece to the present. This is not an insignificant matter. For centuries, the ability to persuade others has been part of Western man's standard of excellence in many areas, even of citizenship itself Moreover, speaking and writing eloquently has long been the goal of the humanistic tradition in education.

Women have no parallel rhetorical history. Indeed, for much of their history women have been prohibited from speaking, a prohibition reinforced by such powerful cultural authorities as Homer, Aristotle, and Scripture. In the Odyssey, for example, Telemachus scolds his mother Penelope and tells her, "Public speech [mythos] shall be men's concern" (Homer 1980, 9). In the Politics, Aristotle approvingly quotes the words, "Silence is a woman's glory" (1923, 1.13.12602a.30), and the epistles of Paul enjoin women to keep silent. As a result, when women began to speak outside the home on moral issues and on matters of public policy, they faced obstacles unknown to men. Further, once they began to speak, their words often were not preserved, with the result that many rhetorical acts by women are gone forever; many others can be found only in manuscript collections or rare, out-of-print publications. Even when reprinted, they frequently are treated as historical artifacts from which excerpts can be drawn rather than as artistic works that must be seen whole in order to be understood and appreciated. As a rhetorical critic I want to restore one segment of the history of women, namely the rhetoric of the early woman's rights movement that emerged in the United States in the 1830s, that became a movement focused primarily on woman suffrage . . .

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