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THE

MODEL ELOCUTIONIST:

A MANUAL OF INSTRUCTION IN

VOCAL GYMNASTICS AND GESTURE,

WITH ILLUSTRATIVE DIAGRAMS AND

NUMEROUS READINGS AND RECITATIONS.

BY

ANDREW COMSTOCK, M.D.,
LATE PROFESSOR OF ELOCUTION, PHILADELPHIA;

AND

JAMES ALLAN MAIR,
AUTIOR OF “A HANDBOOK OF PROVERBS, QUOTATIONS, AND PHRASES."

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LONDON AND GLASGOW :
WILLIAM COLLINS, SONS, & COMPANY.

1874.

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INTRODUCTION.

This little work is designed for the use of Schools and Colleges, as well as for the instruction of private individuals who desire to improve themselves in the art of reading and speaking. It consists of four parts—(1.) Vocal Gymnastics, or the cultivation and management of the voice ; (2.) Gesture; (3.) a series of exercises in Reading and Declamation for Junior Students; and (4.) a choice selection of Readings and Recitations for Senior Students.

The instructions in the various subjects of Articulation, Pitch, Force, Time, and Gesture, will be found to be of the simplest kind, offering no difficulties to persons of ordinary intelligence; and demanding from our youth nothing but a laudable ambition and common industry to enable them to rival those ancient orators whose eloquence, it is said, “shook distant thrones, and made the extremities of the earth tremble.

In ordinary works on Elocution, the inflections of the voice are given, but not the changes of pitch, which constitute melody. In this work, however, not only are the inflections and the melody given, but also those transitions in pitch, called modulation, or a change of key. The method of representing the melody and modulations of the speaking voice is original

, and will prove of singular advantage to the Student in Elocution.

The Exercises in Reading and Declamation have been taken from some of the best authors, and are well adapted to the purposes of the Student in Elocution. They are divided into paragraphs, and subdivided into sections. The latter division is marked by vertical bars. In concert reading, as soon as a section is pronounced by the teacher, the members of the class should repeat it together in the proper pitch and time, and with the requisite degree of force. When a paragraph shall have been pronounced in this way, it should be read singly by each member of the class. Sometimes it will be found advantageous to let each pupil, in turn, give out a piece, and the other members of the class repeat it after him; the teacher, meanwhile, making the necessary corrections. In fine, the exercise of reading should be practised in a variety of ways according to circumstances. When a piece is given out with gesticulation, the members of the class should rise simultaneously immediately after the first section is pronounced, and repeat the words and gesture. As the organs of speech require much training
to enable them to perform their functions properly, the pupil should

repeat the same exercise till he can articulate every element, and

give to each syllable the pitch, force, and time which the sentiment

demands.

The art of reading and speaking is not inferior in importance to

any branch of learning, yet there is none more generally neglected.
While
many of the merely ornamental branches

are cultivated with
zealous assiduity, Elocution is allowed, at best, but a feeble support.
Among the numerous colleges with which our country abounds,
there is not, perhaps, a single one endowed with a professorship of
Elocution ! And among our numerous public speakers, how small
a number can deliver a discourse without having half the body con-
cealed by a desk or table! The orators of classic Greece never
ensconced themselves behind elevated desks, nor stood upon all
fours," as some of our public speakers do; they were masters of their
art. Hence they needed no screen to conceal uncouth attitudes and
awkward gestures from the scrutinising eye of criticism ; nor had
occasion to present the crown of the head instead of the face to the
audience to hide the blush of ignorance; they exposed the whole
person to the audience; they stood erect in all the dignity of con-
scious worth; their attitudes were fit models for the statuary;

their
gestures were replete with grace and expression; their elocution
defied criticism.

In selecting the Readings and Recitations for Senior Students, it

has been thought desirable to insert those only which at once com-

mend themselves to the reader by their appropriateness in character

and subject, or which, being universal favourites, are entitled to a

place in every work of this kind. No attempt has been made to

swell the book with compositions puerile and stale, or otherwise

unsuitable for the ends of such a publication, merely to fill up space;

nevertheless, the contents, ranging, as they do, from grave to

gay, from lively to severe,” will be found sufficiently varied to meet

the wants of those for whom it is intended. It is believed THE

MODEL ELOCUTIONIST forms at once a sound manual of instruc-

tion, and an entertaining companion for all who desire to excel in

the art.

1st January 1874.

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