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“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver…”*…

 

These postures and attitudes were meant for 19th-century students to use when practicing speech-giving. Presented as illustrations in Charles W. Sanders’ Sanders’ School Speaker: A Comprehensive Course of Instruction in the Principles of Oratory; With Numerous Exercises for Practice in Declamation, the figures advised students how to use their bodies to heighten the effect of their delivery. Sanders’ 1857 book (viewable via the Internet Archive) is only one of many such elocution primers available for classroom use in the 19th century, when oratory was quite commonly included in curricula.

Sanders’ compendium contains a short section on principles of elocution (how to modulate speech; when to pause) and a section on gesture, illustrated by these images. The bulk of the book is filled with “Exercises in Declamation”: texts that the student could memorize, then use to practice these principles.

Sanders protested in his introduction to the book that true eloquence was not just a matter of silver-tongued trickery: “The prime element in the constitution of the great orator is, and can be, found only in the good man.” To that end, he wrote, he had included only texts that would cultivate “high moral character” in the student speaker. Some of his choices of authors, at the time of the book’s publication the late 1850s, definitively marked the book as Northern: Charles Sumner; Cassius M. ClayWilliam H. Seward; Lydia Maria Child...

More powerful postures (and larger photos) at the redoubtable Rebecca Onion‘s “How to Captivate an Audience Using Gestures, From a 19th-Century Oratorical Primer.”

* Winston Churchill

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As we declaim like Demosthenes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1717 that the Rev. Benjamin Hoadly, the Bishop of Bangor, delivered a sermon to George I of Great Britain on “The Nature of the Kingdom of Christ.” Starting from John 18:36 (“My kingdom is not of this world”), Hoadly argued, supposedly at the invitation of the king himself, that there is no Biblical justification for any church role in “earthly” government at any level. He identified the church with the kingdom of Heaven—it was therefore not of this world.

The sermon was widely published, and initiated the “Bangorian Controversy”– an argument within the Anglican Church over its appropriate role.  Most of the established  leadership of the Church– the official religion of Britain– enjoyed its political prerogatives and had no interest in eschewing them.  George I, for his part, was interested in weakening the power of the House of Lords, in which those same Anglican Bishops sat and voted.  In the event, there was no real immediate change.

Benjamin Hoadly, by his wife, Sarah Hoadly

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Written by LW

March 31, 2015 at 1:01 am

“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever”*…

 

In A System of Elocution, with Special Reference to Gesture, to the Treatment of Stammering, and Defective Articulation (1846), Andrew Comstock set out to illustrate the proper gestures to adopt when public speaking.  Comstock emloyed a figure “acting out” a section from Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which Satan, expelled from Heaven and finding himself in Hell, delivers a speech to awaken his legions…

A physician and professor of elocution at the Vocal and Polyglot Gymnasium in Philadelphia, Comstock was hugely influential in the burgeoning science of elocution in mid-nineteenth-century America.  Among other questionable creations, he invented his own phonetic alphabet to improve the speech of his pupils, an alphabet which was also used to transcribe documents, including the New Testament.

More at “Speech of Satan to his Legions… (with Gestures).”

* Winston Churchill

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As we e-nun-ci-ate, we might recall that it was on this date in 1921 that Jane Heap And Margaret Anderson were sentenced by a federal court.  Heap and Anderson were publishers of The Little Review.  In 1918, they received a copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses from their mutual friend Ezra Pound, and undertook to serialize it in their magazine.  Ulysses ran in the periodical– which also published  Pound, Hart Crane, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, William Butler Yeats, Sherwood Anderson, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Malcolm Cowley, Marcel Duchamp, Ford Madox Ford, Emma Goldman, Vachel Lindsay, Amy Lowell, Francis Picabia, Carl Sandburg, Gertrude Stein, Wallace Stevens, Arthur Waley, and William Carlos Williams– until 1920, when the U.S. Post Office seized and burned four issues of the magazine and charged Anderson and Heap with obscenity.  At the conclusion of the trial, in 1921, the women were fined $100 and and forced to discontinue the serialization.

 source

Written by LW

February 14, 2015 at 1:01 am

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