Peter Elbow’s 1973 Writing Without Teachers

WWT, and everything else of Elbow’s I’ve read, is obsessed with the idea that nurturing invention through constant practice with active but nonjudgmental feedback will lead to more effective communication. Style, structure, grammar, any kind of formalism is swept aside by waves and waves of freewriting, drafting, and any exercises or classroom stances that promote germination. The expected metaphors of cooking, boiling, seed-planting, etc are all in constant evidence. The teacher is a coach, encouraging rather than evaluating, and gaining skill in writing is a difficult, slow, individualized, and organic process that is only hampered by various kinds of institutionalized meddling.

This is all communicated through Elbow’s characteristically plain and accessible style, which makes him easy to understand – and to underestimate. He cites cognitive studies here and there, but all in all, he seems to prefer sticking to practical pedagogy, with his chief tools being lore, experience, and gut feelings. From reading some of his other essays, at this point he probably thought of himself more as a teacher of literature than composition, but from this book alone, he seems firmly the latter. And he has what, I suppose, is probably better than anything for a teacher – he seems to actually want to help people write. He oozes thoughtfulness. Everything in the book is aimed directly at the goal of helping writing along with the focus of a laser beam. There aren’t that many books out there that are just about composition and nothing else – this is one of them (save, tangentially, for the appendix).

The form-bashing got to me after awhile, though. It’s just not an either-or distinction, as form and content spin around each other, but Elbow seems bent sometimes on making models for discourse irrelevant, which is odd, as modeling is as old as the hills in terms of inventive techniques. But I doubt I’m reading him right.

His appendix on doubting and believing tanked with me early on when he quoted Tertullian; there are better minds on finding truth. As for the pairing, I’ve known it for some time as ‘reading against’ and ‘reading with’ a text. My copy of the book is the 1998 edition; in the new introduction he makes a call for other scholars to finally get around to critiquing his D&B notions – with believing fostering more invention than doubting. There seems to be such a reply in a 2002 issue of RR, and a back-and-forth with Booth in 2005 in CE, but those will have to wait until tomorrow (or today, as it is 2:29 am) when the library is open.

Without having looked at them yet, I anticipate that Elbow gets his ‘believing’ notion from the general literary trend of the last hundred years or so that considers the benefits of readmitting faith to our scientifically-bound world. All the postmodern writers end up pointing to faith in some truth or God as the only reasonable (cough) way to live.

In my crash course of readings in the last two months, I’ve come to see writing and rhetoric as very closely linked to philosophy. What and how we write is bound up in how we make knowledge, how we perceive the world and our existence; the debate over teaching writing is often quickly reducible to a war of symbiotic epistemologies. And there are more possible positions than the four that Jasper Neel presents – indeed, there are as many positions as there are teachers. What makes Elbow compelling despite his deceptively simple presentation is that he not only understands but directly addresses these matters; what frustrates me is that he seems to think there are only two stances for reading a text, two all-or-nothing propositions, as if reading is a silent adaptation of Twelve Angry Men done with email.

When I read a text, I believe in some things and scoff at others, and I can simultaneously hold neutrality, cautious optimism, or bleak skepticism for yet other concepts; and when someone asks me what I thought of a text, they will get a vastly simplified summary of a morass of often logically conflicting opinions. What I think is not always what I can state at any given moment. I am not believing or doubting; I am floating in an endless expanse of positions. I told someone a few weeks ago that my idea of what teaching is changes every fifteen minutes.

I don’t like his assertion that juries are forced to play the believing game, either. A juror may not be allowed to ask questions, but there’s a boatload of doubting to be done in a jury trial – and once deliberations begin, the testimony of all witnesses and evidence is far from being treated equally. Most importantly, though, often the best result of a jury trial is not consensus, but a hung jury or a mistrial. I still smart at being picked as an alternate once at a week-long trial where, if I had been left on the jury, it would have either have hung or made another decision. I think Elbow has left principled indecision, a neutral skepticism, out of his mix, at the very least.

Kitzhaber’s 1953 Rhetoric in American Colleges, 1850-1900

This work has an air of legend about it, and it’s more or less deserved, because it’s damn good, and effectively timeless – 99% of it feels like it was written yesterday, as when Kitzhaber notes dryly that something in rhetorical textbooks or pedagogy hasn’t changed between 1896 and 1953, I can observe, wryly, that it still hasn’t changed betwen 1953 and 2007.

I only wish that I had read it sooner, because much of what I wrote in the paragraph article in CE would have then articulated a better overall historical picture of the 19th century. The folks I dubbed the paragraph rebels, for example, are cast more properly here as devotees/students of Scott’s Michigan program.

Kitzhaber’s take on the paragraph seems to be identical to that of Rodgers. He apparently wasn’t aware of Lindley Murray’s take on the paragraph (though he knows of the text), but he had a copy of Helen Thomas’ 1912 A Study of the Paragraph, which I never got ahold of (considering her approach, maybe for the best!) and he has a bit more room to talk about Wendell, Hill, Genung, McElroy, and the innovations of Scott and Denney. He does drop his discussion well short of 1953, though – the last text he considers is from 1929, and only in passing – he really only covers until 1900 (which, given his declared scope, is appropriate) but he skips over Lewis’ dissertation (1894, I think?) faster than I’d like. Overall his opinion on the subject is similiar to that of Paul Rodgers, and he ends on Pearson’s emphasis on the whole composition before its parts, a point that I overlooked, though such a notion was, thankfully, taken up later.

But that is a minor chapter in a much larger work, and Kitzhaber has such a firm grip on the material that he never hesitates to summarize in a ruthless yet effective way. My favorite line is this unflappable statement at the end of Chapter Six – “The effect of the forms of discourse on rhetorical theory and practice has been bad.”

Not unfortunate. Not unpleasant. Not regrettable. Not questionable. Just BAD. The ironclad deductive structure of the chapters makes these pronouncements a lot easier to digest, of course. I particularly like how he links the decline in Latin and Greek instruction to the rise of speech courses and departments.

If the work has a weakness, it is the consideration of the Scottish power trio of Campbell, Blair, and Whately, from which much of the rhetorical nonsense of that century springs. For one, he does not address how their theology (all are clergymen) entangles their rhetoric, Campbell’s in particular. He gives a great account of how Blair led the charge of stripping rhetoric of invention, and leaving it nothing but style and scraps of arrangement, though, a pattern that last until around 1890, when the notion of correctness cuts down even on style and also on grammar.

When considering metaphor in Chapter 9, I wasn’t familiar with Gertrude Buck’s dissertation, which sounds several generations ahead of her time. Also, a text that Kitzhaber seems very familiar with, and cites often in several chapters, is George Hervey’s 1873 System of Christian Rhetoric, which sounds utterly fascinating from my interest in NT metaphor. I’ll have to find it, too. Ugh! I cannot stop adding books to read. It’s compulsive.

One result of Kitzhaber’s relentless search through textbooks of the time is that he can rightly point to what was really innovative and to what was mere rehashing of old and – as mentioned before quite succintly – bad ideas. There was (and still is) a culture of textbooks following faddish trends rather than daring to reconceptualize. Thus Fred Newton Scott and his ilk, in Kitzhaber’s narrative, are positively unique among a larger gang of stylistic copycats. There is no principal villain, althrough Barrett Wendell, who retreats defeated into literature, comes pretty close, and Bain gets a serious drubbing. There are problems with this kind of white hat/black hat telling of history, which Andrea Lunsford has pointed out; but broad disciplinary debates require broad frameworks. My sense of Kitzhaber is that he is aware of this limitation, and the value of a complete historical account trumps it.

It was particularly refreshing to read a long, solid historical argument after recently reading over an 1993 issue of RTE, where there is a discussion between Aviva Freedman, Joseph Williams & Gregory Colomb, and Jeanne Fahnestock over whether genre can be ‘explicitly taught’. While Freeman and W&C joust over how to interpet various empirical studies in the matter, Fahnestock makes a rather impassioned plea for the historical tradition of teaching genre. In her rejoinder, Freedman brushes off Fahnestock’s historical argument by equivocating it with W&C’s personal experience, and then wonders aloud, in a rather unpleasant use of paralipsis – really proslepsis – if such arguments should be dismissed out of hand in an empirical journal. This sidesteps, of course, the question that her own sources are under withering fire from W&C, and the matter has become one of competing evaluations; also, she avoids having to make a historical counterargument, which would have been difficult. if not impossible, considering the topic.

Ugh. I enjoy having access to all research. In fact, I demand it, and it is hard for me to have patience with a shunning of empirical work in favor of lore, or an rigid insistence on only using quantitative data. Why restrict the roads to truth? We have enough trouble finding any, much less agreeing on whether it exists or not. I enjoy a good, rigorous study, I enjoy a good history, I enjoy a good bit of theory, and I even enjoy accounts of classroom teaching. I am the essence of pure readerly happiness most of the time. Except when I’m reading a book a day, of course.

Wow, this entry definitely qualifies as rambling.

Stray thought of the day

I think it would be wonderful if Al-Qaida acquired a moonbase. A single terrorist cell on the moon – or better yet, Mars – and the administation would immediately give NASA a trillion-dollar budget. The entire solar system would be colonized in a decade or so and we would have faster-than-light travel not long after.

And Osama will still be at large, but on Pluto.

Partition or leave

An article in the NYT about how the Iraqi government is still utterly useless reminds me of my standards for our next president. I want to hear one of the following two plans for Iraq, to be implemented immediately – either a forced Shiite/Sunni/Kurd partition that finally acknowledges Iraq as a united nation is not in the least bit feasible within our lifetimes, or a complete withdrawal of all American troops. It would be nice if one followed the other, but I’ll take one for starters, because that’s better than what we’ve got now.

Richard Weaver’s Language is Sermonic

Richard Weaver, who died in 1963, is an strange figure in rhetoric and composition. He was a Platonist – and I don’t mean a neo-Platonist, or a middle Platonist, but a Platonist, as he got his view of rhetoric straight from the three speeches in the Phaedrus and applied it directly to the teaching of his era. When he declared ‘language in sermonic’ he appears to mean that rhetoric is always promoting some sort of value system. The rhetor has possible worldviews – a piddling, dispassionate neutrality (Lysias’s speech) base deception (Socrates’s first speech) and persuasive appeals to the good and the true (Socrates’s second speech). Given these three choices, a teacher with his or her head screwed on correctly must choose option #3, and teach with an agenda – and this agenda should be not be pragmatic, objective, or relativist, but uphold the republican traditions of America. Weaver holds perhaps his highest disdain for positivists and scientific rhetoric, which pretends to be objective while being blatantly rhetorical in structure.

In other words, what we’ve got here is a conservative English teacher. And when I say conservative I don’t mean neo-conservative. Weaver is an old-school, meat and potatoes Edmund Burke ‘n Winston Churchill conservative, the kind that puts poetry and the classics on a pedestal and maintains obliviousness to race or any social issues.

Weaver is particularly interesting given the book by Jasper Neel I read not long ago. Neel retreats from the extremes of Plato and Derrida’s ilk to embrace a sophistical and pragmatic middle ground. Weaver would equate him with Lysias, of course, and argue that such instruction does not support democracy by arming all citizens, but subverts our more noble traditions by making all truth relative.

The collection of essays by Weaver that I have – “Language is Sermonic” is worth careful reading and re-reading – his defense of the Athenians that executed Socrates is pretty enthralling (and based on a nice description of dialectic as revolutionary yet unconnected to real life) – even though I think (right now, at least) that he is making the same mistake that Cicero made – his preoccupation with the old agrarian society of the South is telling. It’s true we need myths, religion, and various forms of patriotic fervor to maintain a minimum standard of civilized society – a standard that Weaver fears will fall. But I can’t agree that the purpose of education is to reinforce current or past systems. Education gives this generation a chance to teach the next generation how to avoid the mistakes of the past, to be rhetorically aware critics that can improve, not just sustain, society. We can see that the education system failed, for example, when Bush was re-elected, despite creating another Vietnam and destroying our nation’s diplomatic reputation. The lesson of that war wasn’t learned by over 50% of voting Americans.

Now I would agree with Weaver’s two-part test for being a teacher, which is in his essay “To Write The Truth,” which, unsurprisingly, argues that compositionists should teach vere loqui:

“By what act of arrogance do we imagine that we know what things really are? The answer to this is: By what act of arrogance do we set up ourselves as teachers? There are two postulates basic to our profession: the first is that one man can know more than another, and the second is that such knowledge can be imparted.”

Note that he does not add a third – knowing how to teach. That would be unrealistic.

So does agreeing with these two things make me a Platonist, if one that is not conservative? I’m certainly not so post-process that I would turn up my nose at the second of those propositions. I’m certainly more comfortable with the notion of Neel’s “strong discourse” than I am with the strange idea that I’ve been contributing to the downfall of Western society by teaching composition without telling my students what is what. The price of maintaining a standard of scholarly objectivity, of avoiding indoctrination, Weaver argues, is too high, as there is a battle between good and evil rhetoric going on out there. Simply handing out loaded guns without telling people who to shoot is being a mercenary, a kind of arms dealer – a true sophist.

I find Weaver’s line of argument intensely troubling. There is an assumption in composition, I think, that by teaching students to articulate their positions clearly and distinctly with supporting evidence, to form sound arguments, that they will naturally find themselves holding more open-minded positions that they would have otherwise. In the meantime, we need to artfully dodge the student that cites the Bible as infallible evidence, the student that declares abortion is killing babies, and the student that thinks the war in Iraq was justified – not to mention the student that enrolled to acquire ‘writing skill’ or 3 credits instead of a philosophy of communication, and will resist or resent anything else. If I understand him correctly, Weaver is saying that enlightenment doesn’t happen unless the teacher provides sound definitions and predications – which makes such a teacher a true ‘doctor of philosophy’ by holding off the vile forces of relativism.

I’ll say more on this later., but I will say this for now: I don’t have an ethical problem with espousing an expressly open-minded, even liberal, model of rhetoric, and I think I’m humanistic enough that no one will ever charge me with being too objective. My fear, I suppose, is in alienating my students, and confronting them directly over their beliefs. As Socrates discovered, dialectic pisses most people off. But I think it’s valuable to note that if I had to describe the kind of mind a student should have upon graduating with a liberal arts degree, then that mind would be one that would NOT get pissed off from dialectic/Socratic questioning – and would welcome the chance to define their position, even if that meant their position might fall apart. If that is the goal, then I must become more diligent about pursuing it in the classroom.

Sopranos – End of the line

The Sopranos is over. And the net is abuzz, because the ending did not offer closure – but the show has never offered closure, and that is what made it great.

Tony does not die, go into witness protection, or jail; he sits in a restaurant and eats onion rings like they were communion wafers with his family in probably the tensest scene on television I’ve ever watched. In fact, the entire episode was straight from Hitchcock with some postmodern symbolism thrown in.

It is little wonder David Chase decided to cut to black. The show was never about endings. It wasn’t even about whackings. It was about morality, how one should live life, family, if redemption for evil is possible. The first half of the sixth season ended with an episode called “Keisha” that showed the family hosting guests in their McMansion and taking compliments on how nice it was. The blood-soaked hypocrisy was stifling and wonderful.

Dr. Melfi, Tony’s longtime shrink, was the only character on the show that had anything resembling conventional morality, and I’m glad she managed to cut her ties to Tony before the end.

Fittingly, “Employee of the Month” is my favorite Sopranos episode. In it, Dr. Melfi is raped in her office’s parking garage. The rapist is caught immediately but released on a technicality. She accepts this, but before she returns to work, she sees her rapist’s picture on the wall of a restaurant – employee of the month. Before she sees Tony again, she is torn between telling him everything, including where the rapist is, knowing that he will doubtlessly have the rapist brutally murdered, and hiding her rape entirely. She choses the latter, claiming she was in a car accident, figuring that knowing that she could have had the rapist killed is enough. But she breaks down crying in session from the strain of keeping quiet. When he asks her if she wants to tell him anything, she pauses… and says no. Cut to black.

The show’s episodes have always ended on a relatively clear point – in that particular episode, in Melfi’s case, it ended when it showed that she could make an ethical decision under pressure that none of the other characters would have made. In its very last episode, the series’ point has also been made – that Tony and his family are going to continue to be amoral and hypocritical, that no real change or growth will ever occur in Tony, Carmela, or their kids, and that the law and the mob will always be inches away from bringing down their house of cards. They have fully made their beds and tucked in the corners – what happens next is more or less unimportant.

Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” will be stuck in my head for at least a week.

No mere printer shall defeat me

So I’m getting ready this afternoon to head over to the office to work, and my laser printer at home – an old Brother HL-1440 – stops working. I hit it, cursed it, and then it made a further broken noise I hadn’t heard before and stopped.

An hour later, after disassembling nearly the entire contraption – I don’t know why I tried, I used to fix laptops, not printers – I found the problem. Actually, it’s an old problem. The three-part flywheel that turns the page loader had fallen apart. I stuck it back together, held down a few levers to trick the beast into thinking all its covers were still on, and it printed perfectly – and without the usual squeaky noise.

I win. Nothing can stop me now.

Jasper Neel’s 1988 Plato, Derrida, and Writing

This is the story of how one should not read a text; or, rather, how one should read a text, barring an initial mucking up of the process.

I was warned not to read Jasper Neel’s Plato, Derrida, and Writing, that it would be a waste of time. Of course, that amounted to a challenge.

The first chapter alone sent me into fits, and I had to set the book down and come back to it two weeks later. I would advise anyone who wishes to read Neel’s book to start with Chapter 4, grit their teeth when they hit Derrida, persevere to the end, and then go back and read Chapters 1-3. The reason for this will be clear momentarily.

I have been trying to develop a consistent system for marking texts. Currently, I use pencils and a notation similar to that used in chess, where !, !!, and !!! indicate good, great, and genius-level moves, ?,??, and ??? mark blunders of increasing severity, and !? reflect moments of temporary insanity. To this I usually add check marks as indications that some logical progression of thought is being continued.

There were a record amount of ?’s in my initial reading of the first few chapters, and I had to invent several other marks, which I will not describe, but all sufficed to express my sense of incredulity on my first attempt at reading the text. Mostly what set me off was that Chapters 1 and 2 create the impression that no one had ever noticed that Phaedrus was a deliberate mindfuck on Plato’s part until the author came along.

Did I actually just use that term? Yes. I suppose I could have said “a narrative designed to elicit confusion and embrace dissonance with the aim of leading the reader to tangential and profound realizations,” but I wanted to make a point. Yes, Plato was a sneaky fellow, he knew what he was doing, and the Phaedrus, like Aristotle’s Rhetoric and countless other texts on the nature of rhetoric, goes to bat in the field where philosophy and rhetoric meet, we’re always in extra innings, and the umpires are bought and paid for. So let’s move on already. I could hardly wait for the analysis of Derrida, it had to be better (and that’s not being facetious. There was a really good article on Derrida and composition by Brooke Rollins last year in CE that whetted my appetite). I can see where a classicist would lose interest immediately and never finish the book.

To generate some interest in starting to read again, I went and found four reviews of the book written in ’89, by Charles Moran, Stephen Yarborough, Sharon Crowley, and William Covino, respectively, hoping I was not entirely off base. I discovered that I was, indeed, missing something. Moran buys the book’s premise but finds its voice stylistically inconsistent, Yaborough is ecstatic – “Everyone who teaches writing should read this book,” and Crowley hails it as a fine champion of deconstruction. Covino’s review, which is the last of the four, chronologically, drew out my two of my concerns quite well, namely: 1) Neel can get awfully shrill about Plato’s real and apparently nefarious motives, which are frankly unknowable; 2) the many interpretations and uses of the Phaedrus through history are generally ignored in favor of summarizing it as a “hallowed text.” But Covino endorsed it nonetheless, and his summary of Neel’s claims clicked on some level.

So I went back to reading – still grumbling, still scribbling.

Chapter 4 got me, when he drew an explicit parallel between student writing and a Platonic view of rhetoric. Maybe that’s where he should have begun, skipping the analysis of the Phaedrus or putting it off. Crowley’s review hints at this when she says Chapter 4 is the key.

Chapter 4 has that V-8 hum. Well, maybe a V-6. In any case, Neel was much more convincing when getting into the mind of a generic student and in talking about teaching philosophies and assumptions, than he was when attempting to get into Plato’s mind. He directly addresses the biggest problem of teaching composition – the extreme reluctance of students to examine/question their own positions, how “their theological preconceptions prohibit the beginning of the play of meaning.” Attempts to shake this assuredness, to create a sort of dialectical sophistication ala Plato, fail because there is always an easy out, what Neel calls “anti-writing,” which is structurally sound and content-free. I’ve seen way too much of that.

After that I was hooked and read the rest, after which I realized I’d hoodwinked myself by reading the first three chapters too harshly – Neel was just deconstructing Plato as he knew that Derrida deconstructed Plato – in an unsatisfactory manner. This becomes clear only after Neel summarizes and then trashes Derrida’s position on writing with a similar gusto as to how he attacked Plato – before bringing them together in the end to mutely shake hands. Then it all made sense. The banality of his analysis of the Phaedrus actually kind of clicked.

Neel’s main position would seem to be that as Plato’s quest for truth is an ideal, something unattainable, and Derrida’s insistence on a meaningless universe subject to constant deconstruction is scary and empty, both positions are untenable and useless for writing. They are philosophies, not rhetorics – or rather, they are both half of a rhetoric. Neel assigns proper ownership of a reasonable rhetoric to the sophists, as they avoid the Platonic trap of chasing unattainable truth or and Derrida’s wallowing in meaninglessness by taking a middle road that concentrates on pragmatic persuasion through probability.

The resulting “strong discourse” is fundamentally democratic and open to different ideas, empowering all with offensive and defensive powers, and it should be the basis of composition teaching (and has been for a few decades). It is not “antiwriting,” which seems to match up to current-traditional instruction in grammar and structure and creates a kind of content-free, teacher-pleasing discourse, or a neutral “psophistry” or “weak discourse” which only persuades without any regard to ethics. This sophistic “strong discourse” is an effective compromise for sanity’s sake in an insane world.

Ok. I’ll buy that for a dollar. I’m not sure yet that assigning “democracy” in the modern sense to sophistic rhetoric is tenable, though. As Herr Starr from Preacher once said, democracy is for ancient Greeks. I think a better starting point for the emancipatory nature of rhetoric is to be found in the early Christian era – and that rhetoric is not democratic, either, as the power merely shifted from Greek/Roman aristocrats to believers (and then high-ranking believers).

I’m not even sure if our modern, American notions of rhetoric are emancipatory, as they are still largely for American citizens. We like to think so, to grant univerisal pluralism, certainly, but the miscellaneous bystanders that get killed in Iraq every day – the only thing they’re getting freed from is existence. The supposed protections from poor ideas that “strong discourse” was supposed to provide broke down ‘round these parts when the Bush administration engineered a pointless, bloody war and won re-election in spite of it. Then again, the sophists didn’t save the Greek city-states, either.

Neel often uses the word “theological” to describe the positivistic, Platonic beliefs that students and even teachers have concerning knowledge. I perked up at that. And after reading his conclusion, I wonder if the only way to teach “strong discourse” is to soak, even drench, the teaching of writing in a secular bath. That might be my final bone to pick – that Neel lets that “theological” adjective get away without explaining it further. “Strong discourse,” with its sophistical assumptions that truth is unknowable and that we live in a world of probabilities where only we can make meaning for ourselves, is more or less agnosticism with an attitude.

No wonder I like it.

Carol Mattingly’s Well-Tempered Women

I didn’t know much about 19th century temperance rhetoric as of this morning. Now I know a bit more. This book, from 1998, is an engaging rhetorical study of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the documents (oh, how I like archival work!) and rhetoric that accompanied it – a tactical and savvy set of manuevers that is linked, but also quite separate, from the more well-known women’s suffrage movement. Francis Willard, in particular, comes off as a rhetorical genius in Mattingly’s treatment.

In brief, the women of the WCTU decided to concentrate on ethical appeals first, as they were often facing an audience that judged them before they opened their mouths and didn’t care to let them speak in the firrst place. They would stress their “womanliness” in dress and Christian manner, tie their temperance efforts to ‘duty’ by noting they were protecting families and children by speaking, and subordinate or deny connections to the more radical women’s rights movement of Stanton and Anthony. It was a long-term strategy, but it seemed to work; it was much harder to argue against women who were for all appearances and claims, acting out of unselfish and pious desperation (Pentacostal spirit, really) rather than challenging gender norms. And yet the prohibition amendment was immediately followed by suffrage. There were some serious missteps along the way, of course – poorly addressed racial tensions, for one, and a rapidly aging membership.

I wonder. The United States was on the forefront of women’s suffrage, but it was not the first country of any size to give (or, rather, to restore) to women the right to vote, save in certain states for temporary periods. That honor goes to New Zealand in 1893. I wonder, thinking solely in terms of effect, if Kate Sheppard’s rhetoric was even more successful than that of Willard’s.

After a brief search, I don’t see any mention of a rhetorical study focused on her – it would make an interesting parallel, as Sheppard’s movement also seemed to attain its suffrage goals through initial support of temperance, fueled by religious conviction. There must have been communication and collaboration with Willard on some level – did rhetorical strategies also pass over? Mattingly describes an impressive array of pedagogical materials the WCTU produced for helping women find their voice in the movement.