Rhetorical Spaces

Christopher Reid

in Imprison'd Wranglers

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199581092
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745621 | DOI:
Rhetorical Spaces

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Building on recent discussions of the idea of rhetorical space, Chapter 2 looks closely at the speaking geography of St Stephen's Chapel, the medieval structure that housed the House of Commons in the eighteenth century. The chapter makes extensive use of contemporary topographical and satirical engravings of the interior of the chamber and illustrates the close connection between contemporary speaking practices and parliamentary architecture. In the House of Commons orators speak from their places on the benches rather than from a rostrum. The chapter discusses how this convention has shaped parliamentary debate and how in the eighteenth century particular positions in the chamber become associated with the great rhetorical occasions of the past. In more general terms it shows how speakers such as the Elder Pitt situated their utterances in the chamber's time and place, and made the chapel a rallying point for an argument or an emotion.

Keywords: rhetorical space; speaking practices; parliamentary architecture; St Stephen's Chapel; the Elder Pitt

Chapter.  15604 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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