This article explores the history of the English-language style guide, a genre of writing with beginnings in the eighteenth century. Gaining popularity in the Victorian period, the style guide began to solidify as a genre dedicated to preserving certain linguistic usages. I argue that, from the nineteenth century on, the best style guides have used rhetoric as the cornerstone of their linguistic philosophy. Guides which ignore rhetorical scholarship tend to be reactionary and of limited use to the reader. To emphasize these two types of guides, I look specifically at The Queen's English and The Dean's English, two extremely popular, polemical style guides written in the mid-nineteenth century.

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