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”Fasa för all flärd, konstlan och förställning”: Den ideala retorn inom 1700-talets nya offentlighet
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Literature.
2010 (Swedish)In: Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning, ISSN 0348-6133, Vol. 131, 38-85 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Ann Öhrberg, ”Fasa för all flärd, konstlan och förställning”. Den ideala retorn inom 1700-talets nya offentlighet (“Shy all vanity, art and dissimulation”. The ideal rhetor in the new public sphere of the 18th century)

In this essay Swedish cultures of politeness during the other half of the eighteenth century are explored with focus on rhetoric and gender. The dethronement of classical rhetoric in the eighteenth century has been associated with the formation of the public sphere and the communicative needs of the rising middle class. Cultures of politeness were crucial for this process. The point of departure in the essay is the ideological tension between classical civic rhetoric on the one hand and cultures of politeness on the other. The latter are found to be associated with ideals of femininity, and thus gendered in contrast to a classical rhetoric tradition. Materials are fetched from Sweden’s most influential learned societies: Tankebyggarorden, Utile Dulci, Apollini Sacra, Sällskapet Aurora, and Göteborgs Vetenskaps- och Vitterhets-Samhälle. The questions at hand are: Who were considered a suitable rhetor in the societies? What was seen as ideal eloquence and rhetoric? Analyses of speeches demonstrate how notions on ideal eloquence are intertwined with conceptions on national splendour and gender. The ideal rhetor combines naturalness and candid manliness with sensibility and the ability to tender friendship with other men. The rhetoric he uses harmonises with these characteristics. Elderly ideals of classical rhetoric are rejected, but yet sometimes used in practice.

Only 26 women were accepted as members in the societies under discussion. Three main reasons for their participation are identified. Firstly social grounds: women in early modern Sweden from the higher social strata were expected to appear in public. Secondly women were elected for patriotic reasons. Thirdly certain female qualities (sociability and sensibility) where seen as essential for the societies. Despite an originally positive attitude towards qualities being branded as feminine, women were gradually being marginalised and towards the end of the century the male rhetor alone occupies this public scene as well.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Svenska Litteratursällskapet , 2010. Vol. 131, 38-85 p.
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-158205OAI: diva2:438163
Available from: 2011-09-01 Created: 2011-09-01 Last updated: 2011-09-01

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Samlaren: tidskrift för svensk litteraturvetenskaplig forskning
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