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In the preparation of the Series, the last Reader of which is now offered to the public, it has been a leading object to present Elocution in all its importance, to define and illustrate its essential points in a lucid and comprehensive manner, and to arrange it in such a system as will best exhibit its natural order and developments.
Devotedness to a particular subject, a familiarity with its details, and a consequent knowledge of its principles and elements, -a perception of what is best adapted to the purposes of instruction, and an intimacy with the various departments of literature, are, we are well aware, indispensable prerequisites for the successful accomplishment of what we have undertaken. These prerequi. sites will enable one to distinguish between what is useful as a step to something farther, and that which is neither important to an end, nor has any reference to the result to be attained.
We are sensible, on the one hand, that from a desire to be brief and comprehensive, we may have passed over much in a cursory and perhaps in an incidental manner, which might require a more full explanation and detail; and, on the other hand, from an anxiety to establish our opinions and fortify our position, we may have dwelt on some points, which, perhaps, may be considered as useless and unimportant by those who have not made elocution a study, and literature the business of their lives.
School committees and teachers are requested to read the essay and remarks on the first thirteen pages of the Introduction to the Elocutionary Principles in this book; where our opinions in reference to the character of a reading book, its influence on the mind, and the use which the teacher should make of it, are given some. wbat in full.
As the prefixes and affixes constitute an important class of vocables, varying the sense of words to an almost unlimited extent, a table of those most frequently found united with primitive words, is annexed to this book. Occasionally, in defining a word, its derivation and etymology are pointed out by a reference to the table. This method has been introduced merely as a model to guide the pupil in examining the composition of words. In this way not only a knowledge of the prefixes and affixes will be secured, but the signification of the primitive or radical word will be ascertained. In our selections for the reading lessons, we have had special regard to mental refinement and moral purity — to the dignity, nature, and object of literature, whether embodied in poetry, to please the fancy, - in the drama, to move the passions, — or in the form of prose, to instruct or persuade. In each case, intellect is displayed, the principles of rhetoric are observed, and the tropes and figures, either for beausifying the description or invigorating the diction, are appositely *mployed.
Roston, August 1, 1848.