Connors provides a history of composition and its pedagogical approaches to form, genre, and correctness. He shows where many of the today’s practices and assumptions about writing come from, and he translates what our techniques and theories of teaching have said over time about our attitudes toward students, language and life. Connors locates the beginning of a new rhetorical tradition in the mid-nineteenth century, and from there, he discusses the theoretical and pedagogical innovations of the last two centuries as the result of historical forces, social needs, and cultural shifts. This important book proves that American composition-rhetoric is a genuine, rhetorical tradition with its own evolving theria and praxis. As such it is an essential reference for all teachers of English and students of American education.
This book portrays in deft strokes and substantial detail the first formulations of a newly emergent subject area—'composition-rhetoric.' Composition theorists and historians will be satisfied that they have a richer, more concrete framework for study than they had before.
Robert J. Connors is professor of English at the University of New Hampshire. He is the co-editor of Selected Essays of Edward P. Corbett and Essays on Classical Rhetoric and Modern Discourse. He also coauthored the St. martin’s Guide to Teaching Writing and The St. Martin’s Handbook.