Short enough to be synoptic, yet long enough to be usefully detailed, A Short History of Writing Instruction is the ideal text for undergraduate courses and graduate seminars in rhetoric and composition. It preserves the legacy of writing instruction from antiquity to contemporary times with a unique focus on the material, educational, and institutional context of the Western rhetorical tradition. Its longitudinal approach enables students to track the recurrence over time of not only specific teaching methods, but also major issues such as social purpose, writing as power, the effect of technologies, the rise of vernaculars, and writing as a force for democratization.
The collection is rich in scholarship and critical perspectives, which is made accessible through the robust list of pedagogical tools included, such as the Key Concepts listed at the beginning of each chapter, and the Glossary of Key Terms and Bibliography for Further Study provided at the end of the text. Further additions include increased attention to orthography, or the physical aspects of the writing process, new material on high school instruction, sections on writing in the electronic age, and increased coverage of women rhetoricians and writing instruction of women. A new chapter on writing instruction in Late Medieval Europe was also added to augment coverage of the Middle Ages, fill the gap in students' knowledge of the period, and present instructional methods that can be easily reproduced in the modern classroom.