Most traditional works of rhetorical history have excluded the activities of women, but Listening to Their Voices retrieves the voices of women who contributed to the rhetorical realm. The nineteen essays in the collection extend existing definitions of rhetoric and enrich conventional knowledge of rhetorical history.
In her introduction Molly Meijer Wertheimer traces the patriarchal nature of traditional rhetorical histories as well as the continuing debate about how best to write women into rhetoric's historical record. The volume's essays advance rhetorical theory by examining exceptional women rhetoricians and their unusual rhetorical practices and strategies. Covering a diverse range of rhetorical pursuits and historical eras, the selections look closely at such fascinating topics as the bold speech of ancient Egyptian women, the rhetorical genres of mother's manuals and women's commercial writings in the Middle Ages, the sexual stereotyping of prose style in rhetorical theory of the Enlightenment, and exhortations for racial uplift by nineteenth-century African American women.
Molly Meijer Wertheimer is an associate professor of speech communication and women studies at Pennsylvania State University-Hazleton Campus.
"This remarkable collection is like a searchlight, sharply bringing into view the lives and careers of women rhetors otherwise hidden away from us. The essays focus on their skillful achievements in the face of obstacles. The result is an expanded view of rhetoric and its powers."—James J. Murphy, University of California, Davis