Complete Story


Fall 2005, pages 25 - 50

Harbingers of the Printed Page:
Nineteenth-Century Theories of Delivery as Remediation

ABSTRACT: This article argues that the belletristic and elocutionary movements of the late-eighteenth/nineteenth centuries functioned as cultural mechanisms of remediation, naturalizing the fast-growing print medium so that it eventually became the de facto arbiter of discursive standards for all forms of discourse. Belletrism and elocution, usually depicted in antagonistic conflict with one another, both sought to bring the formal, aesthetic, and logical attributes of print culture and insert them into handwriting and oratorical practice as "natural" elements. The codification of the paragraph in nineteenth-century composition texts illustrates this phenomenon.