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By Wendy Dasler Johnson

At a time while a girl conversing prior to a mixed-gender viewers risked buying the label “promiscuous,” hundreds of thousands of ladies offered their perspectives approximately social or ethical matters via sentimental poetry, a mix of impact with mind that allowed their participation in public debate. Bridging literary and rhetorical histories, conventional and semiotic interpretations, Antebellum American Women's Poetry: A Rhetoric of Sentiment explores a frequently forgotten, but major and persuasive pre–Civil warfare American discourse.

Considering the logos, ethos, and pathos—aims, writing personae, and viewers appeal—of poems through African American abolitionist Frances Watkins Harper, working-class prophet Lydia Huntley Sigourney, and feminist socialite Julia Ward Howe, Wendy Dasler Johnson demonstrates that sentimental poetry used to be an inportant portion of antebellum social activism. She articulates the ethos of the poems of Harper, who provides herself as a competently family black lady, however stepping boldly into Northern pulpits to insist slavery be abolished; the poetry of Sigourney, whose speaker is a feisty, working-class, ambiguously gendered prophet; and the works of Howe, who juggles her reputation because the reformist “Battle Hymn” lyricist and motherhood of 5 little ones with an erotic Continental sentimentalism.

Antebellum American Women's Poetry makes a robust case for recovery of a compelling procedure of persuasion via poetry often brushed aside from stories of rhetoric. This impressive booklet will swap the way in which we expect approximately women’s rhetoric within the 19th century, inviting readers to listen to and reply to pressing, muffled appeals for justice in our personal day.

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Antebellum American Women's Poetry: A Rhetoric of Sentiment (Studies in Rhetorics and Feminisms) by Wendy Dasler Johnson


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