Nineteenth-Century Prose

Articles from Vol. 27, No. 2, Fall

"Dear Millie": Letter Writing and Gender in Postbellum America
Like other forms of "parlor rhetorics" designed for the home learner, such as elocution manuals and anthologies of readings for oral recitation and performance, letter writing guides were popular books for the middle class reader in the decades before...
Educating for Change: Lydia Maria Child's Nineteenth-Century Critical Pedagogy
Lydia Maria Child's Freedmen's Book distinguishes itself from other tracts of the period. Child's tract is neither overtly Christian in nature nor does it speak in the singular voice of a white Northerner. Instead, her text offers a panorama of voices...
Emerson's Proleptic Eloquence
This reading of Emerson's essay "Eloquence" from Society and Solitude challenges the perceptions of Emerson as "the genius of American democracy" and as the sentimental, genteel, mystical Concord Sage. Read alongside Edward T. Channing's "The Orator...
Etymological Investments: The Political Economy of Language from Carlyle to Ruskin
This paper examines how the emerging field of "new philology" shaped the nineteenth-century critique of political economy advanced by Carlyle and Ruskin. Carlyle viewed the systematic rhetorical conventions of political economy as a threat to all forms...
Gertrude Buck: Revisioning Argumentation and the Role of Women in a Participatory Democracy
In this essay, I examine Buck's A Course in Argumentative Writing (1899). More specifically, I show how Buck's textbook emphasizes a more democratic approach to argumentation and how this reflects her organic concept of language and society and her...
Introduction
The last ten years have witnessed a sea change in the types of critical attention we bring to bear on rhetorical theory and practice in the nineteenth century. Where scholars used to attend to famous and admitted rhetoricians such as George Campbell,...
John Stuart Mill and Rhetoric: The Perspicuous Account of Truthful Obscurity
I approach Mill's essays on poetry as a timely application of romantic (as opposed to pragmatic) rhetorical theory to some new problems posed by the growing marketplace of letters. Mill's arguments about the nonemphatic nature of poetry in "What is...
Radical Reform Rhetoric and the Ethics of White Manhood in Antebellum America
Both abolitionists and women's rights activists understood that the positions of slaves and women in American culture were deeply woven into America's social fabric. They believed swift, broad-reaching reform was necessary and that any significant...
Ruskin, Bright, and the Politics of Eloquence
This article argues that the varying styles and figurative language of Ruskin's lectures offer an instructive insight into the cultural significance of public speaking in mid-nineteenth-century England. It then traces a public argument between John...
"Well, Seriously, Flora, What Can We Women Do?" Sentimentalism, Suffrage and Reform in Lillie Devereux Blake's Fettered for Life
Summoning but reconfiguring the sentimental novel, Lillie Devereux Blake's Fettered for Life (1874) uses pathos to incite political action and begin a radical reform of patriarchal postbellum America. Of particular interest to Blake are suffrage, legal...
"Why Am I Called upon to Speak Here To-Day?" the Jeremiad in the Speeches and Writings of Frederick Douglass and Malcolm X
In this article I take a closer look at the rhetorical strategies and logic Douglass and Malcolm X use in selected speeches and writings as each developed his religious, political, and ideological bases. I argue that both Douglass and Malcolm X use...
Why We Should Trust Harriet Beecher Stowe
I propose in this article to show how these women writers took part in a discourse that most have considered male. The sentimental authors desperately wanted to persuade their audience of their view of the world. To learn how to do this, they looked...
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