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In this book are contained selections from a very wide range of English authorship, such as are thought to be the best suited to the purposes of Elocutionary training, and public reading and declamation.
An endeavor has also been made to give such specific directions as will aid the intelligent student to acquire a just conception of their sen, iment.
The great wrong practiced upon our youth, is that they are led to imitate an interpretation given to them by some person whom they admire, rather than to ascertain and apply the principles which govern the vocal expression of all sentiments and emotions that are conveyed by words.
The great danger of such a course of training might be averted, in a measure, if every teacher of Reading were an artist; but, unfortunately, few have the time or aptitude for such high attainments. The only safe course is to ascertain the principles of vocal expression by careful observation of nature in its best moods and manifestations; and to apply the rules thus obtained to such portions of our Literature as may be easily classified with reference to the sentiment or passion they chiefly express.
Great care has been exercised in excluding all selections of an inferior order of literary excellence, however popular in exciting momentary laughter or sensation, while, on the other hand, all pieces, however elegant in style, yet not adapted to the purposes of Reading and Speaking, have been rejected.
The variety of the selections, added to the fact that each has been chosen with reference to its effectiveness and availability, will furnish material for every possible exercise in the ordinary requirements of school life, as well as the more formal exercise of Public Reading and Declamation.
The elocutionary suggestions will appear as introductions to the various classes of selections in their respective orders:
Fourth. — COMMON READING, NARRATIVE, DESCRIPTIVE AND DIDACTIC STYLES.
In each class of selections an endeavor has been made to secure just as pleasing and effective pieces as though the choice were unrestricted, and, at the same time, the importance of choosing pieces that would serve as types of the sentiment or passion they were intended to illustrate, has been duly considered.
If, in some cases, selections do not sustain throughout the sentiment which they are intended to illustrate, they are placed where the leading, or most characteristic sentiment of the piece would require, and it is thought that, in most cases, the selections are nearly perfect specimens of the sev. eral classes in which they are placed.
The compiler acknowledges, with thanks, the kind permission of Messrs. J. R. Osgood & Co., Hurd & Houghton, and D. Appleton & Co., to use the poems of Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, Cary, Bryant, etc., that are in this volume, and of which they hold the copyright.
R. McL. C. EVANSTON, ILL., Jan., '78.