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Elocution and Parlor Rhetoric: The Power of Conversation
April 28 @ 3:00 pm - 3:45 pm
In the Victorian era, speaking, reading aloud, and conversing were considered imperative social arts for both men and women. Because public and group readings were popular forms of entertainment, elocution was taught to everyone, whereas parlor rhetoric was especially important for women to learn, since they were viewed as responsible for guests and entertaining in the domestic sphere. This presentation will be paired with an experiential workshop where participants will practice rudimentary elocution exercises and the art of conversation, as viewed by the Victorians but adapted for today.
Dr. Renea Frey is a professor of Rhetoric and the Writing Program Director in the English Department at Xavier University. Her research interests include the history of speaking and writing persuasively, especially in the Classical Greco-Roman eras and the nineteenth-century. A major part of her studies includes examining women’s rhetorical and composing practices from the latter half of the nineteenth-century to show how women moved from a state of enforced public silence and private obedience to altering centuries-held practices of women’s rights to speak, vote, and dress for themselves. Her interest in Steampunk arose directly from her research areas and a love for dressing up.