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IN WHICH THE
PRINCIPLES OF ELOCUTION
ILLUSTRATED BY READING EXERCISES IN CONNECTION
DESIGNED FOR THE USE OF
SCHOOLS AND ACADEMIES.
BY SALEM TOWN, LL. D.
PUBLISHED BY PHINNEY & CO.
Entered according to act of Congress, in the Year 1854,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Northern District of New York.
Since Elocutionary Readers have been somewhat multiplied, several of which are justly meritorious, it might, by some, be thought unnecessary to add another to the list. The reasons, however, the author would assign in justification of himself, and as an apology to the public for presenting this work, are as follows:
1st. In most of the elocutionary works which the author has seen, it appears to him there is a want of close connection in what should be treated consecutively under the same head.
2d. Notwithstanding the more important elocutionary principles are found in nearly all works prepared with any good degree of ability and designed for instruction in reading and oratory, yet it will be found on examination, that those principles, rules, and notes, are so commingled in their detail, as in many instances rather to perplex the learner, than to give him clear perceptions of each point distinctively.
3d. In a majority of works of this character, even when the rules may be considered good, the examples and exercises for their illus tration are so few, so brief, and so disconnectedly arranged, that the student often fails to be permanently benefited by the use of them. He neither gains a clear understanding of the author's views, nor so far perfects himself in the knowledge of elocutionary principles and their proper application, as to enable him, thereafter, readily and understandingly, to make self-application of the same in his miscellaneous readings.
The author of this work believes the best method for the acquisi tion of knowledge in any branch, is fully to master each point as taken up, before attempting any thing further; otherwise, whatever is attempted, will be but imperfectly understood, and little or no substantial benefit will be gained.
One prominent object, therefore, in bringing out this work, was to treat each elocutionary principle as taken up, in the order of its consecutive parts, so far as the nature of the case would admit, subjoining
examples, illustrations, and exercises, of sufficient length and number, to insure, if possible, a clear comprehension of all the parts as a whole, as well as the several parts in detail; and, at the same time, so to familiarize the application, as to give the entire subject a permanent lodgment in the memory of the student. How far the author has succeeded in providing facilities for such a result, experiment alone must decide.
Another, though a subordinate object, was to treat of poetry more fully than elocutionists have generally done, by giving the principles of its construction, the number of syllables constituting the different kinds of poetic feet, its various measures and forms, together with rules, and numerous examples and exercises for reading and scanning. And, as the use of figurative language is almost as common as household words among all classes of people, the author has thought it advisable also to give a brief explanation of the change in the use of words, from a literal to a figurative sense, illustrating the same by a few examples, and thus showing how much our language abounds in a figurative mode of expressing ideas.
Most of the exercises under the elocutionary rules, are designed as regular reading lessons, as well as exemplifications of the rules; and, for convenience, they are referred to in a separate table of contents.
Part Second consists of select pieces for reading and declamation, with explanatory notes. It embraces the various styles of the most approved authors, both in this country and Europe. To enable the student to determine the character of the language, the style, the appropriate manner of reading the selections, and to secure a constant observance and application of the principles illustrated in Part First, a reference is occasionally made, at the head of the lessons, to some one or more of the rules; and it is hoped that teachers will faithfully carry out this suggestion of the author, in their daily use of the book.
In preparing this work, the author acknowledges the valuable assistance of his nephew, NELSON M. HOLBROOK, assistant compiler of "The Grammar School Reader," and author of "The Child's First Book in Arithmetic." S. TOWN.
AURORA, N. Y., November 10, 1854