Understanding how the Renaissance rhetorical curriculum taught style as behavior makes it possible to unite the study of women writers' identities with formal criticism. Nancy L. Christiansen shows that early modern humanists built on the Isocratean tradition of teaching rhetoric as an ethical practice because they adopted and developed lists of rhetorical figures so extensive as to encompass all human discourse, thought, and behavior. For them, knowing, selecting, and applying these various forms was the ethical practice of good judgment, also called decorum. This type of decorum plays an important role in the rhetorical function of two key texts by early modern women. Margaret Fell and Aemilia Lanyer each use a humanist notion of decorum as the virtue of good judgment to formulate their intellectual and moral authority and to argue that women can exercise the same.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Osmani, Kirsten Marie, "Figures of Virtue: Margaret Fell and Aemilia Lanyer's Use of Decorum as Ethical Good Judgment in the Construction of Female Discursive Authority" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 9355.
rhetoric, style, rhetorical figures, good judgment, decorum, ethics, virtue, form, formal criticism, stylistic analysis, identity, women's writing, women writers, intellectual authority, spiritual authority, Renaissance, Early Modern, Christian humanism, Margaret Fell, Aemilia Lanyer, Erasmus, Cicero, Isocrates