Testimonial Rhetoric in Nineteenth-Century Composition
Chapter One Testimony of the Senses: Materialist Pedagogy in Nineteenth-Century Composition Textbooks (Christopher Carter)
End with matter that concentrates the effect of the whole.
—John Franklin Genung, Outlines of Rhetoric: Embodied in Rules, Illustrative Examples, and a Progressive Course of Prose Composition (248)
Rhetoric begins where grammar ends.
—T. Whiting Bancroft, A Method of English Composition (4)
As twenty-first century scholars of composition and rhetoric consider the multisensory character of communication, and as they study the persuasive dimensions of nonhuman phenomena such as writing technologies and spaces of delivery, the field comes to encompass much more than teaching verbal argument. This expansion of focus characterizes Laura Micciche’s investigations of pathos, Jody Shipka’s experiments with eclectic modes and materials, and Laurie Gries’s studies of how visual rhetoric “moves” in affective and geographic terms—all of which reflect a growing interest in meaning-making that reaches beyond words. But however fresh those topics may feel to researchers in the 2020s, the Lucille M. Schultz Nineteenth-Century Composition Archive suggests that they are not exactly new, or at least that their novelty has a lineage in the very era many thinkers construct as incompatible with their field’s convictions. ←27 | 28→
The archive bears the record of that lineage, affording scholars a view of intellectual trends that long preceded the field’s consolidation in academic journals and graduate programs. Those trends arose, in part, from nineteenth-century textbooks about how to teach, how to write, and how to teach writing. Unless otherwise noted, these primary source materials are...
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