Landmark Essays on Speech and Writing

Edited by Peter Elbow

© 2014 – Routledge

312 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415641692
pub: 2014-12-02
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Hardback: 9780415641685
pub: 2014-12-01
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Comp Exam Copy

About the Book

Classical rhetoric was originally all about speech; then as the new technology emerged, it took an interest in writing. We are at a kind of mirror moment now. The present field of composition and rhetoric has been preoccupied with writing for the last fifty or more years, but scholars are looking once again at speech and how it relates to writing.

At this moment, then, we are inheritors of research showing that writing can be thought of as different and yet not different from speech. In this Landmark Essays volume, Peter Elbow, a leading expert on speech and writing, gathers a selection of classic essays that show the main streams of thinking that scholars have published about speech and writing. Through the interdisciplinary essays included, he invites readers to think critically about the relationship between speech, writing, and our notion of literacy.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Historical Stories about the Development and Effects of Alphabetic Literacy

Schmandt-Besserat, Denise and Michael Erard. "Origins and Forms of Writing." 2007.

Enos, Richard Leo. "The Emergence of a Literate Rhetoric in Greece." 2006.

Jack Goody, Ian Watt. "The Consequences of Literacy." 1963.

Ong, Walter. "Writing is a Technology that Restructures Thought." 1986/2001.

Daniell, Beth. "Narratives of Literacy." 1999.

Honeycutt, Lee. "Literacy and the Writing Voice: The Intersection of Culture and Technology in Dictation." 2004

Analyses of How Speech and Writing Relate to Each Other

Biber, Douglas., & Vásquez, Camilla. "Writing and Speaking." 2007.

Halliday, M. A. K. "Spoken and Written Modes of Meaning." 1987.

Elbow, Peter. "The Shifting Relationships Between Speech and Writing." 1985.

Chafe, Wallace. "Punctuation and the Prosody of Written Language." 1988.

Tannen, Deborah. "Relative Focus on Involvement in Oral and Written Discourse." 1985.

Smitherman, Geneva. "‘The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the Juice’: African American Student Writers and the NAEP." 1994.

Explorations of Some Features of Speech with a Special Relevance to Writing

Jim Milroy. "Historical Description and the Ideology of the Standard Language." 2000.

Elbow, Peter. "Intonation: A Virtue for Writing at the Root of Everyday Speech." 2012.



Writers Trying to Create the Illusion of Speech: A Selection of Brief Passages


Robert Burns. From "To A Mouse. On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough." 1785 .

Mark Twain. From Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 1885.

Robert Frost. From "The Death of the Hired Man." 1917.

Zora Neale Hurston. From Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937.

Jozuf Hadley (bradajo). "chaloookyu eensai." 1972/2002

Juliet Kono. From "A Scolding from My Father." 1995.

David Mamet. A link to a passage from Glengarry GlenRoss. 1984.

Louise Bennett. From "Aunt Roachy Seh." 1993.

James Kelman. From How Late It Was, How Late. 1998

Alan Bennett. From Talking Heads. 2008.

Laura Wright. From "Medieval Business English." 2001.




About the Series

Landmark Essays Series

Landmark Essays is a series of anthologies providing ready access to key rhetorical studies in a wide variety of fields. The classic articles and chapters that are fundamental to every subject are often the most difficult to obtain, and almost impossible to find arranged together for research or for classroom use. This series solves that problem.

Each book encompasses a dozen or more of the most significant published studies in a particular field, and includes an index and bibliography for further study.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Communication Studies