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Elizabeth Montagu's Study of Cicero's Life: The Formation of an Eighteenth-Century Woman's Rhetorical Identity

Tania Smith
Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Spring 2008), pp. 165-187
DOI: 10.1525/rh.2008.26.2.165
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/rh.2008.26.2.165
Page Count: 23
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Elizabeth Montagu's Study of Cicero's Life: The Formation of an Eighteenth-Century Woman's Rhetorical Identity
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Abstract

Abstract Popular eighteenth-century British biographies of Cicero had a significant impact on the rhetorical identity formation of Elizabeth Montagu (1720–1800). As the acknowledged founder of the “Bluestocking” salon, Elizabeth Montagu played a key role in forming the conversational and epistolary eloquence of her broad and influential network of men and women. A careful analysis of the young Elizabeth's epistolary discussion of biographies of Cicero and Atticus, especially Conyers Middleton's Life of Cicero, provides insight into Montagu's mature rhetorical practice as well as neo-Ciceronian influences on men's and women's rhetorical identity formation in eighteenth-century Britain.

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