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FOREWORD

THIS manual is the outgrowth of nearly twenty years'

' experience in teaching rhetoric, in its various forms and applications, to successive classes of college students. Much of it was given originally as informal and unwritten lectures to classes in oratorical composition. Later these lectures were committed to writing for the purpose of making them more useful to my pupils. It is hoped that the informal style and methods of the classroom will not detract from the usefulness of the book.

The aim of the following pages is preeminently practical. Their purpose is to present as clearly and definitely as may be the distinctions between the oration and other forms of discourse, and to set forth concretely and specifically the fundamental methods that must be pursued by him who would attain success in oratorical composition.

No attempt is made to teach the higher and finer forms of oratorical style. What is the use of trying to teach in a book what can not be taught or learned, in any large and satisfying measure, in the classroom or from a book? These higher and finer qualities depend upon inborn gifts, a cultivated taste, wide reading, and experience. Webster was right when he said that eloquence “must exist in the man, in the subject, and in the occasion.” These are things that can not be taught or learned off-hand. They may come, if the man have right powers of body, mind, and spirit, which have been so cultivated that, when the subject and the occasion conjoin, he may meet them with success; but the most that a textbook can do in preparing him for that occasion is to point out the road he must travel and the methods he must pursue, and to guide him in studying great speeches of others and in the practice of making speeches of his own.

Since the aim of this book is practical,- that is, since its purpose is to help those who study it how to proceed in order to prepare a speech in persuasion, it is of necessity largely, indeed mainly, concerned with the mechanism of oratory. It is a discussion of the art of oratory, except that it does not consider the elocution of that art; it is the rhetoric of persuasive public speech.

The principles of this art are not, of course, the invention of the teacher. Oratory existed before books were thought of. There is no better way, then, of testing the truth and practicalness of the principles presented in the book, than to study those principles as exemplified in actual speeches of the great orators.

For this reason, many of the principles set forth in this book are illustrated by examples drawn from some of the great speeches of the world, and also as many complete

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speeches are added as space will permit. This collection is supplemented by a list of some of the world's other masterpieces of eloquence, which the student will find it profitable to study.

In their early experience students often find difficulty in choosing subjects for oratorical treatment. In the hope of helping them to solve this difficulty, lists of topics are added that are appropriate for such exercises. This list might be indefinitely extended; questions of current interest will present themselves every day, giving to the alert student abundant matter for practice in persuasive discourse.

It has been thought well not to introduce many notes on the speeches included, but to leave the student free to study out for himself the meaning of any expressions that are not perfectly clear at the first reading. The wide-awake teacher and the interested student will need little help of this kind. One great objection to many editions of masterpieces published for school use is found in the fact that they are so overloaded with notes as to make the mastery of the notes seem more important than the mastery of the literature itself. If the student is led to make his own notes, he will gain the necessary information, and, what is far better, he will get something of the inspiration coming from the study of real literature. The oration, then, becomes vital to him, and quickens his own powers to similar creative effort.

I wish to express my appreciation of the courtesy of the Honorable William Jennings Bryan, for permission to use any of his speeches, to Harper & Brothers, for their approval of my use of the address of George William Curtis as printed in their edition of Mr. Curtis's orations and addresses edited by Professor Norton, and for a similar favor granted by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company, to use their copy of the oration quoted from Wendell Phillips.

There are many evidences of a marked revival of interest in the study and practice of oratory in the schools and colleges of our country - especially west of the Alleghanies. It is with the hope of contributing something to this widening interest, and of helping in some measure the ambitious student of this noble art on his way to success, that this little book has been written and is now published.

C. M. B. Manhattan, Kansas, 1913.

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