Bizzell and Herzberg: Nineteenth Century Rhetoric: Introduction

Bizzell, Patricia, and Bruce Herzberg, eds. Nineteenth-Century Rhetoric: Introduction. The rhetorical tradition : readings from classical times to the present. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin''s, 2001. Print.



Effects of Industrial Revolution. Science now coming into curriculum. Composition in vernacular replaces Latin. Secondary education mostly for commercial classes-- needed solid literacy and math skills.


Richard Whately''s Rhetoric


Whately(1787-1863) published in 1828 Elements of Rhetoric, Comprising and Analysis of the Laws of Moral Evidence and of Persuasion, with Rules for Argumentative Composition and Elocution. Emphasizes need to consider audience-- generally uneducated congregation (984). "Rhetoric requires theory of argument, form of invention concerned not with discovery but with ways of convincing" (984). Relies on Aristotle and Campbell.Campbell defends testimony as form of moral evidence. Whately analyzes testimony; merges with Aristotelian to determine 14 circumstances that determine the truthfulness or acceptability of testimony (985). Outlines doctrines of Presumption (conditions that give one side appearance of correctness) and burden of proof.


The Development of Women''s Rhetorics


Harriet Taylor Mill (1851); Mary Astell. After 1700 women''s access to literacy and improved education began to quickly improve, though until end of 19th C women still almost completely excluded from Uni education and were barred from law, religion, and political office. In 18th C, general functional literacy (read Bible, newspapers, sign names, write personal letters).


Anna Julia Cooper --Afr. American--BA/MA from Oberlin; in 1925 earned PhD


Some access to higher ed. As education improved, women began to speak in public and reflect upon their rhetorical practices (987). Protestantism encouraged women''s literacy to read bible. Society of Friends, Methodists. Protestant women spoke on public issues--abolitionism. Rhetoric changed as more than white/male. Quaker Sarah Grimké considered first major American theorist on feminist issues.


Broader abolitionist movement. Stanton, Mott 1848 Seneca Falls. Sojourner Truth (first language was Dutch!?!)  b 1828; used broad dialect. Frances Ellen Watkins Harper antislavery poetry. Text mentions "public persona" as "refined and ''literary''" (990).


Temperance issue.


The Rhetorics of Men of Color


Wm Apess: "Eulogy on King Philip" (Metacomet) delv. 1836.


Frederick Douglass


Preceded by Charles Parker Remond. Also notable are William C. Nell, Martin R. Delaney, Henry Highland Garnet (more militant; minister to Liberia)


The Rhetoric of Composition


By 1850s written composition a clearly defined branch of rhetoric dominated by Blair, Campbell, Whately. Mechanistic approach of Spencer (1820-1903): "successful communication is that which requires the least expenditure of mental energy to achieve successful reception" (993). ''Cult of efficiency.'' Day treats oratory as proper form of rhetoric. Rhetoric is connective rather than creative; it has no content of its own. Rhetoric uses four forms that will appeal to faculties of thought: explanation, confirmation, excitation, and persuasion (993).


Bain (1818-1903) psychological approach to written composition still influential. Chief mental operations are discrimination, retentiveness, and agreement. Associative processes that bring ideas together through contrast, contiguity, and similarity. Most important figures of speech-- metaphor, metonymy, and antithesis-- parallel mental operations. Also forms the modes -- description, narration, exposition, persuasion-- and paragraph unity.


Rhetoric and belles lettres split; birth of the literature department.


Hill-- chair of rhet at Harvard. Rhetoric is "the art of efficient communication" (994). Treats argument mechanically. Becomes a type of technical writing.


Composition becomes required course (see parallels to how it is perceived today-- "current-traditional" model) Discourse, paragraph unity, prescriptive grammar, usage, and style.


Romanticism and Rhetoric


No significant response from professional rhetoricians about romantic theories of literary composition and debates about semantics. Key terms of Romantic literature are "solitude, spontaneity, expression of feeling, and imagination--all quite opposed to the rhetorician''s concern for society, planned discourse, communication, and moving the will through reason and passion" (995). Blair''s discussion of poetry part of this development. S T Coleridge "accepted the theory of faculty psychology but distinguished the associative process, the fancy, from the creative process, the imagination" (996). Though Romanticism emphasize artists, the art is a public product. Emerson "advocated a rhetoric of personal expression that would stir the audience to their own creative perception" (996).


Language, Rhetoric, and Knowledge


Bentham: theory of ultilitarianism-- greatest happiness for greatest number.People vary desires and responses to social constraints; reasoning is process of persuasion; probability refers chiefly to persuasion rather than facts; all knowledge depends on persuasion and belief. Language must be part of process of persuasion that leads to knowing (997).


von Humboldt: argued language only process, not system. Reality shaped by language. Language is tool for studying both personality and culture.


Nietzsche (1844-1900): all language rhetorical. All words tropes. Deal with it.


All we know are ideas and our feelings.


See more influence of these ideas in 20th C. Bizzell and Herzberg argue that we are still reacting to work of Whately and Bain.