Declamation was a staple of education and cultured literary life in the Roman world over many centuries. This book offers a radical re-evaluation of the genre, its social importance, and its role in the history of the Western self. Ironically, this genre obsessed with “growing up” has been rejected by its own posterity. Erik Gunderson explores the social and psychic dynamics of this refusal within the ancient world as well as beyond. The book is of interest to specialists in classics, rhetoric, queer studies, and psychoanalytic literary criticism.