Learning elocution in the olden days
Just in time to help me understand the 2004 political campaign and church scene, my son Micah presented me with Appleton’s School Readers Fifth Reader. Back in 1878-79, when it was published, elementary school children could still read Shakespeare and Byron. They were also to learn elocution, tutored by Mark Bailey of Yale College, whose lessons appear among the readings in a variety of “how to” sections.

When policy or statistical wonks prepare to report, they should turn to Bailey’s section on “how to render matter of fact and earnest ideas.” Advice: use “moderate” degree of “force” and “time” and “slide” of voice.”


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