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TN the preparation of this volume, we have aimed to make it a comI plete and sufficient work for advanced classes in Reading, Elocution, and English and American Literature; to furnish, in an available form, such an amount of biographical, historical, classical, orthoëpical, and miscellaneous matter, as to render it highly valuable as a book of reference; and to present a collection of pieces so rich, varied, perspicuous, and attractive, as to suit all classes of minds, all times, and all occasions,
Part First, in two chapters, embraces a simple, complete, and eminently practical Treatise on Elocution. The principles and rules are stated in a succinct and lucid manner, and followed by examples and exercises of sufficient number and extent to enable the student thoroughly to master each point as presented, as well as to acquire a distinct comprehension of the parts as a whole.
In Part Second, the Selections for Reading and Declamation contain what are regarded as the choicest gems of English literature. The works of many authors, ancient and modern, have been consulted, and more than a hundred standard writers, of the English language, on both sides of the Atlantic, have been laid under contribution to enable the authors to present a collection, rich in all that can inform the understanding, improve the taste, and cultivate the heart, and which, at the same time, shall furnish every variety of style and subject to exemplify the principles of Rhetorical delivery, and form a finished reader and elocutionist. These selections have been arranged in a regularly graded course, and strictly classified with regard to the nature of the subjects. Although we have not been studious of novelty, presenting only what we regarded as suitable, intrinsically excellent, and most truly indicating the mode and range of thought of the writer, it will be seen that a large proportion of this collection is composed of pieces to be found in no similar work.
Much care and labor have been devoted to the orthoëpical department. The pronunciation of all words liable to be mispronounced is indicated once in each paragraph, or at the bottom of the page where they occur. With respect to the words about the pronunciation of which orthoëpists differ, we have adopted the most recent and reliable authority.
Classical aud historical allusions, so common among the best writers, have in all cases been explained; and, if the authors have not been de
ceived, every aid has been given in the notes, that the reader may readily comprehend the meaning of the writer. This has been done in a manner more full and satisfactory than they have seen in any other collection, and in every instance at the bottom of the page where the difficulty occurs, so that the reader may not be subjected to the trouble of consulting a dictionary, or other books of reference,-& work which, in general, if done at all, is done with extreme reluctance, even by advanced pupils.
In order that the student may still more thoroughly understand what he reads, and for the convenience of that large class of readers who have not leisure to peruse voluminous memoirs of distinguished men, and yet would be unwilling to forego all knowledge of them, we have introduced concise Biographical Sketches of authors from whose works extracts have been selected, and of persons whose names occur in the Reading Exercises. These sketches, presenting a clear and distinct outline of the life, and producing a clear and distinct impression of the character, furnish an amount of useful and available information rarely surpassed by memoirs of greater extent and pretension. Lists of the names of authors, both alphabetical and chronological, have also been introduced, thus rendering this a convenient text book for students in English and American Literature.
The improvements made in the revision of this work are numerous and important. The Treatise on Elocution has been carefully elaborated, involving the introduction of phonetic exercises, a more critical orthoëpical notation, and many most apt and interesting examples for illustration. Several of these examples under each section are left unmarked, thus affording students opportunities to exercise their judgment, taste, and discrimination.
The collection of Reading Lessons has been greatly improved by judicious omissions, and the substitution of new dialogues, ballads, dramatic lyrics, and other rhetorical pieces that are more varied and inspiriting, and better adapted to elocutionary readings, both public and private. The classification of these lessons is more systematic and thorough than that ever before attempted in any corresponding work. They are divided into formal sections, in each of which only one leading subject is treated, or one important element of Elocution rendered prominent. All practical AIDS are furnished by more copious notes, new indexes, etc.
NEW YORK, June, 1866