Cultures of Lecturing in the Long Nineteenth Century / Volume 2: Women and Public Speech in Manuals of Rhetoric, Journalism, Autobiography and Fiction

The Victorian rise of mass print media competed against persisting cults of orality: lectures, political speeches, and other oral formats were omnipresent. Still, cultures of lecturing and public speaking have remained surprisingly invisible in Victorian literary and cultural studies. These two anthology volumes explore this important cultural practice, tracing representations and fictionalisations of ephemeral oral performances through print and, sometimes, manuscript. From manuals of rhetoric via journalism and autobiography to fiction, the sources have been selected, introduced and annotated with care; some of them are published here for the first time (and most of them for the first time since the Victorian era). Both volumes combined also show how the vibrant scene of lecturing became increasingly more diversified, popularised, and socially inclusive. Vol. 1 thus addresses the problem of ‘mixed speaking’ (before both men and women), while vol. 2 is concerned centrally with the active participation of women in the cultures of lecturing and public speaking, from the early nineteenth century to the suffragettes.

Vol. 1: The Art of Public Speaking – Speaking Techniques and Voice Production – Gesture and Attitude – Relationship with the Audience – Chairmanship – Managing Lectures and Lecture Tours – Public Reading and Reciting – Penny Readings – Humorous and Satirical Approaches.

Vol. 2: Women and Elocution: Reading and Reciting – Women’s Debating Clubs – Satirizing Women Speakers – Conversion to Suffragism and ‘First Speech’ – Training and Professionalising Women Lecturers.


Julia Kuehn in: Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen, Bd. 260, Jg. 175 (2/2023), 445-449

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