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Fall 2002, pages 51-73

Regendering Delivery: The Fifth Canon and the Maternal Rhetoric

Abstract: This article contributes to ongoing feminist efforts to regender the rhetorical canons, in particular, by exploring how the fifth canon of delivery changes once the assumed male at the center of the rhetorical tradition is replaced by a woman who is both a mother and a speaker. Delivery. which conventionally focuses upon the speaker's use of voice, expression, and gesture. is usually considered the most material of the canons. However, once viewed from the perspective of nineteenth-century maternal rhetors, distinctive corporeal, ideological, and performance issues become apparent, all indicative of significant gender differences in men's and women's delivery. More broadly, this study illustrates how recasting the canons by recognizing and incorporating the experiences of previously marginalized groups promises to produce a more comprehensive, complex, and compelling understanding of the history and practice of rhetoric.

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