Praise and Blame: The Rhetorical Impact of Nineteenth-Century Conduct Manuasl

Jessica Mattson, Western Kentucky University


The following is an exploration of the use of epideictic rhetoric strategies in nineteenth-century conduct manuals, Sarah Stickney Ellis's The Women of England: Their Social Duties and Domestic Habits, and Harriet Martineau's Household Education. In examining the rhetoric of the conduct manuals, this researcher has identified the audience, the rhetorical situation, the exigence of that situation, and the use of phronisis, areti, and euonia by both authors. Because the rhetoric of the conduct manual has not been discussed in current critical perspectives, this research is a starting point for further study. The different types of rhetorical strategies used by each author are the focal points used to uncover how epideictic rhetoric can be understood beyond the restrictions of funeral orations and ceremonial speeches. The primary critical research used in this project has been that focused on epideictic rhetoric and the conduct manuals themselves.