Mary Wollstonecraft is significant figure in the development of women's literature yet her importance in the evolution of rhetoric has yet to be fully recognized. Relatively little recognition has been accorded her work The Female Reader. Yet that text is the first elocutionary text written by a women, specifically for women, and which includes numerous selections from writing by woman authors. As such, Wollstonecraft's work initiated a place for women in the influential and enduring elocutionary movement. The Female Reader also inspired other authors, female and male, to continue the production of elocutionary manuals intended for women throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. Thus Wollstonecraft and her Female Reader were significant in establishing a tradition of women's participation in rhetorical theory and pedagogy.

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