WINIFRED BRYAN HORNER Texas Christian University
When I started teaching at the University of Missouri, a student remarked to a fellow instructor who repeated the comment to me -- "That lady you were with yesterday -- she looks as though she has really been there." And that was thirty years ago. Today I feel as though I have been there and back -- through the mine field of the academic world as a linguist, a rhetoric/comp specialist, and a woman. Before I started teaching at the U of MO, I had sold several articles to the Saturday Evening Post, lived on a farm, raised a huge garden, stripped a tobacco crop, castrated baby pigs, raised orphan lambs, been happily married (most of the time), and had four children. During my academic career, I have been an adjunct (at Missouri we were called "others"), a part-timer, an instructor, supervisor of freshman composition, an assistant, associate, and full professor, an endowed chair-holder, a foremother, and lastly a distinguished emerita tutor. I am now an emerita everything. You name it and I was it. Through it all I have had one abiding interest -- rhetoric and a continuing fascination with ways in which we use language and are used by language. So I speak with some authority because I have indeed "been there" and back. Today I want to tell you a story.
Those of us who have been around for awhile remember an article by William Riley Parker (titled "Where Do English Departments Come from?") that appeared in College English in February 1967. The part of that article that I have never forgotten was the allegory that he used. I can't seem to forget it. When I reread the article, I was amazed to discover that that allegory was only one paragraph, but it stays in my mind. Let me remind you of how it went. Parker tells us that English was born one hundred years ago -- that was in 1967 -- so it would be roughly 1867. Its mother, the eldest daughter of Rhetoric, was Oratory, or what we now call speech. Its father was Philology, or what we now call linguistics. Their "marriage," he suggested, was shortlived, so English is therefore the child of a broken home. This unhappy fact accounts, perhaps, for its early feeling of independence and its later bitterness toward both parents. "I date the break with the mother, however," he continues, "not from the disgraceful affair she had with Elocution, but rather from the founding of the Speech Association of America in 1914, which brought the creation of many speech departments." English teachers, Parker concludes, absorbed in what