Imagining Rhetoric: Composing Women of the Early United States

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University of Pittsburgh Pre, Aug 1, 2002 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 296 pages
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Imagining Rhetoric examines how women's writing developed in the decades between the American Revolution and the Civil War, and how women imagined using their education to further the civic aims of an idealistic new nation.

In the late eighteenth century, proponents of female education in the United States appropriated the language of the Revolution to advance the cause of women's literacy. Schooling for women--along with abolition, suffrage, and temperance--became one of the four primary arenas of nineteenth-century women's activism. Following the Revolution, textbooks and fictions about schooling materialized that revealed ideal curricula for women covering subjects from botany and chemistry to rhetoric and composition. A few short decades later, such curricula and hopes for female civic rhetoric changed under the pressure of threatened disunion.

Using a variety of texts, including novels, textbooks, letters, diaries, and memoirs, Janet Carey Eldred and Peter Mortensen chart the shifting ideas about how women should learn and use writing, from the early days of the republic through the antebellum years. They also reveal how these models shaped women's awareness of female civic rhetoric--both its possibilities and limitations.

 

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Contents

The Tradition of Female Civic Rhetoric
1
2 Schooling Fictions
34
Judith Sargent Murrays Margaretta Narrative
66
Mrs A J Graves on Girlhood and Womanhood
89
5 The Commonsense Romanticism of Louisa Caroline Tuthill
113
Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps and the Composition of Democratic Teachers
145
Rhetorical Limits in the Schooling and Teaching Journals of Charlotte Forten
189
Chronologies
215
From Judith Sargent Murrays The Gleaner 1798
223
From Louisa Caroline Tuthills The Young Ladys Home 1839
229
From Almira Hart Lincoln Phelpss Lectures to Young Ladies 1833
232
Notes
243
Bibliography
261
Index
275
Back Cover
280
Copyright

From Hannah Webster Fosters The Boarding School 1798
220

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About the author (2002)

Janet Carey Eldred is associate professor of English at the University of Kentucky.

Peter Mortensen, associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is co-editor of Ethics and Representation in Qualitative Studies of Literacy.