Epideictic rhetoric, one of the classical modes of persuasion described by Aristotle, has faced some criticism concerning its value in the realm of rhetoric. Though attitudes have been shifting over the last several decades, there is still a tendency to undervalue epideictic, falling back on the Aristotelian system of ceremonial oratory. However, its “praise and blame” style of persuasion employs of the type of rhetor / audience identification described by Kenneth Burke. Epideictic rhetoric is a major component of virtually any communication, as the speaker or writer seeks to create a bond with that audience so as to persuade them of something. This is evident in Victorian women's travel narratives; not necessarily noted for rhetoricality, they are nonetheless powerfully rhetorical in their prose as they foster emotionally- based identifications. Through their employment of epideictic description, travel narratives are not merely showpieces, but rather catalysts for social consciousness and change. As we move from the civic discourse-based Aristotelian classification of epideictic to encompass literary works like the travel narrative, the multifaceted value of epideictic is undeniable.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Robinson, Katherine Reilly, "Negotiating Identity: Culturally Situated Epideictic in the Victorian Travel Narratives of Isabella Bird" (2009). All Theses and Dissertations. 2011.
rhetoric, epideictic, Kenneth Burke, Isabella Bird, identification, gender, culture, Victorian era, praise and blame, travel narrative, Aristotle