Joint-honours information for 2016 entry

Transatlantic Rhetoric: Public Speech and Anglo-American Writing 1750-1900

Module Q3187

Module details for 2016/17.

15 credits

FHEQ Level 5

Module Outline

What is ‘rhetoric’, and why was it so important for cultural and literary life during the long nineteenth-century in Britain and America? How can we analyse public speaking as art and what is its relationship to culture and society? How has the meaning of rhetoric changed in our own era of demagoguery and neo-nationalism? how can an earlier age of democratic and new media upheaval help us understand the global situation in 2017?

This module addresses these questions by exploring the cultural history of persuasive public speech between the American Revolution and World War I. Each week we will look at two or more speeches from either side of the Atlantic, from across a range of genres including parliamentary oratory, radical political speechmaking, sermons, courtroom statements and comic lectures.

By training ourselves in the methods of rhetorical analysis we will become skilled in analyzing arguments, deconstructing tropes and methods of persuasion. By placing speechmaking back into broader literary, cultural and political contexts, we will begin to see rhetoric and voice as central themes in Anglo-American history.

Module learning outcomes

Demonstrate a critical awareness of the relationship between ideas of rhetoric and literary change.

Engage with theoretical conceptions of rhetoric that inform readings of literary texts.

Show a command of rhetorical terminology and be able to perform close analysis of literary texts.

Demonstrate an awareness of the differing historical roles of rhetoric in British and American contexts.

Coursework components. Weighted as shown below.
EssayA2 Week 2 70.00%
EssayT2 Week 8 30.00%

Submission deadlines may vary for different types of assignment/groups of students.


Coursework components (if listed) total 100% of the overall coursework weighting value.

TermMethodDurationWeek pattern
Spring SemesterSeminar2 hours111111111111

How to read the week pattern

The numbers indicate the weeks of the term and how many events take place each week.

Dr Tom F. Wright

Convenor, Assess convenor

Ms Emma Carlyle

Assess convenor

Miss Trudy Cadman

Assess convenor

Dr Chloe Porter

Assess convenor

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