« ForrigeFortsett »
COMPOSITION AND RHETORIC
CONTAINING THE PRINCIPLES OF CORRECT ARTISTIC AND
LEWIS WORTHINGTON SMITH, PH. B.
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH, TABOR COLLEGE, 1A.
JAMES E. THOMAS, A. B. (HA'Rv.)
MASTER OF ENGLISH, BOSTON ENGLISH HIGH SCHOOL
ο πόλλ' αλλά πολύ
BENJ. H. SANBORN & CO.
NEARLY two thousand years ago Quintilian defined rhetoric as “the art of speaking well.” Had he lived in the present age, he would undoubtedly have said, “the art of speaking and of writing well.” No better phrase can be found to describe the true function of rhetoric to-day. Previous to the last decade it was regarded as an ornamental study, abounding in theory and subtle distinctions of diction and style. With the development of the study of English in the schools came an awakening to the true value of rhetoric, and its relation to the study of literature and composition. To-day rhetoric and composition are inseparably associated in teaching the methods of simple, direct, and accurate expression, the principle of one being supplemented by the abundant practice of the other.
In the making of the present text-book the authors have been influenced by two important considerations. First, they believe firmly in the inductive method; and the text has been written in the hope of encouraging the pupil to make his own researches under the guidance of the teacher, but without that absolute reliance upon
the dictum of another, so subversive of independent literary judgment. Second, in an art so delicate as that of literary expression, it is of great importance that all instruction given, whether propounded directly in the way of statement of rhetorical theory, or left for the student to discover through the medium of exercises, should be made as definite as is possible in matters involving such subtleties of psychology and of taste. It is a comparatively easy matter to write entertainingly and thoughtfully on literary subjects without leaving in the mind of the reader anything tangible or clear-cut. This in a textbook is always a fault, and failure here is well-nigh failure altogether. The teacher should be advised, however, that much depends upon the care with which he drives home the conclusions which the pupil is supposed to draw from the exercises and illustrative material placed before him. Great care has been taken in this book to make plain to the pupil just the sort of investigation he is to make in each case, and the teacher should see to it that from every exercise the pupil gets a definite understanding of some principle of literary art.
The definite object of the book is that of giving training in accuracy of thought, nicety of taste, and finer command of the wizard words that touch imagination. These things cannot be acquired by rule, they must not be taught by rote. Literary judgment, not theoretical knowledge of the literary laws that others have established, is the end for which rhetoric should be
studied Some statement of rhetorical doctrine is necessary, and such statement has been made as simple and clear as possible ; but these laws the student is given opportunity to verify for himself, and he should accept them only after such verification. They cannot otherwise be of any service to him in his own writing.
No text-book of rhetoric can lay claim to entire originality, but each should have some original features to justify its existence. The principles of rhetoric are old, but improved educational methods and experience in the class-room are continually suggesting new methods of teaching them. Any new book upon the subject must keep pace with modern pedagogical methods, and embody the latest results of class-room experience. It should not be a mere imitation of books already in existence, but should aim to make a distinct advance in helpful and practical suggestions. Originality must consist in presenting old truths in a new light, conformably to new ideas and new methods. This implies a wise choice of material, a sound arrangement, a proper proportion of parts, simple language, and concise, clear-cut definitions, enforced by copious illustrations and exercises. The authors of this book have endeavored to meet all these requirements. Previous to the writing of the text an outline of the book was sent to twenty teachers of rhetoric in the leading secondary schools, and suggestions asked for. The authors have given due consideration to the answers received. The material is chosen from what has been fcund valuable in the class