Elocution Simplified: or How to Read and Speak Correctly & Effectively

Jun 20, 2015 by

BoelocutionElocution Simplified: or How to Read and Speak Correctly & Effectively by J.C. Kyger was originally published in 1864!

Exactly the type of old book I love to discover. Originally published in the mid 19th century, the information included here is timeless.  In our day and age of slang and sloppiness, reading Elocution Simplified was a fascinating glimpse into another time.  It if also filled with great tips – some of which I’ve never heard before.

And truly, many current how to books on elocution were clearly “inspired” by this book.  You will learn (via text and exercises) all about Breathing, Articulation, Inflection, Cadence, Emphasis, Gesticulation, What to Do With Your Hands!! and much much more.

From the introduction:

“Let it not be said that Elocution is only the tinsel of Eloquence. Demosthenes justly deemed a correct delivery the very acme of the art, and devoted to its acquirement years of toil and thousands of gold. Cicero applied himself to the cultivation of the vocal powers, under the most eminent instructors with unwearied assiduity. Chatham practiced before a mirror daily to the end of his life, to acquire a free, graceful, and energetic action. Brougham locked himself up for three weeks to the study of a single oration, and wrote his peroration fifteen times. Robert Hall, the prince of pulpit orators, was no less remarkable in his early life, for his laborious culture of Elocution, than for his profound philosophical investigations. Similar remarks might be made of Chrysostom, Massillon, Whitefield, and all who have distinguished themselves in the “art divine.” Would we realize their success, we must imitate their example. He who enters the arena of eloquence without cultivating his elocution, has seized a sword for the contest, upon which he has put no edge.

THE VOCAL ASPIRATE
Is the Aspirate partly vocalized.
EXAMPLES. All heaven and earth are still, though not in sleep, But breathless, as we grow when feeling most, And silent, as we stand in thoughts too deep ; All heaven and earth are still ; from the high host Of stars to the lulled lake and mountain coast, All is concentrated in a life intense.
2. I see the smoke of the furnaces where manacles and fetters are still forged for human limbs. I see the visages of those who by stealth and at midnight labor in this work of hell, foul and dark, as may become the artificers of such instruments of misery and torture.

SLUR
Is that rapid, smooth-gliding, subdued movement of the voice, which is placed on parenthetical clauses. When the parenthetical clause is placed in the middle of a sentence, it should be preceded and followed by a pause. As the reader passes from the important clause to the slurred clause, or from the slurred to the important clause, the facial expression should change.
EXAMPLES.
1. History, in a word, is replete with moral lessons. 2. Every condition of life, be it what it may, has both hardships and pains. 3. Thompson,  was blessed with a strong and copious fancy, drew his images from nature itself. 4. One truth is clear, enough for man to know, Virtue alone is happiness below. 5. In parts superior what advantage lies? Tell, for you can, what is it to be wise? 6. Whatever future advances of science may do for us in the matter, and I hope they may do much, I must still say this relation is a mystery.

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