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Recent reconsiderations of the five canons of Classical rhetoric have challenged our notions of memory and delivery. An early intervention, Kathleen Blake Yancey’s edited collection Delivering College Composition: The Fifth Canon, sought to reclaim delivery (albeit in a new, often multimediated form) for composition studies. Along such lines, in “Recovering Delivery for Digital Rhetoric,” James Porter writes of delivery as one of the two forgotten canons of rhetoric (the other is memory, coincidentally) and draws from earlier work by Kathleen Welch (Electric Rhetoric) to argue that the “historical impetus toward erasing/suppressing the canons of memory and delivery is a way to subordinate the materiality of writing and the technical side of composition practice—that part of the art that has to do with material cause, with understanding the materials and tools for writing” (211). Porter describes a capacious sense of delivery that emphasizes the particular affordances of digital media.


Taking into account the field’s grappling with multimodality and secondary literacy/orality, Andrea Lunsford writes that multivocal, multimodal, embodied performances of texts in a digital age have ushered in a “return of orality, performance, and delivery to the classroom” (170). In “Writing, Technologies, and the Fifth Canon,” Lunsford notes that “to view writing as an active performance—that is as an act always involving the body and performance—enriches I. A. Richards’s notion of the ‘interinanimation of words’: It is not only that individual words shift meaning given their context within a sentence, but also that words shift meaning given their embodied context and their physical location in the world” (170).