Abbildungen der Seite










Feb 21, 1729

BY D. C. HEATH & Co.

Plimpton Press



THE large number of excellent treatises on Rhetoric now before the public makes another high school Rhetoric seem unnecessary, and to attempt one requires a sufficient reason. That reason must be sought in the method of study here indicated. The standard text-books on Rhetoric contain, as a general thing, brief definite statements of definitions and principles, carefully formulated and more or less explained, which the pupils are expected to read, memorize, and inwardly digest, but which often become mere formulæ of words without power or meaning. Illustrations and exercises given in application of their definitions and principles redeem some of them from uselessness, but many of them in the hands of the ordinary high school pupil are almost profitless. Beyond a few dissociated facts he has little growth in knowledge in return for the time spent upon the study, while he has gained nothing in power to think, little in power to apply the thoughts of others, nothing in literary appreciation, and only so much in power of expression as the practical ability of his teacher has been able to stimulate with very little help from his book.

Many good teachers have consequently discarded entirely the text-book in Rhetoric, and realizing that the materials for teaching the subject are to be found in the Literature, are attempting, with marked success in some instances, to teach the two together. This seems to be

a step in the right direction. The true pedagogical order of instruction is not, Read what others have thought, memorize, apply; but, observe for yourself, generalize, formulate, classify, and then memorize and apply. This can be done with the reading laid down for the course in Literature, but if confined to that, the purely rhetorical side of the work is liable to suffer in the following ways: (1) The various definitions and principles, from lack of careful formulating at the time when they are observed, or from insufficiency of drill afterward, are forgotten, laying the work open to the most frequent criticism of inductive teaching, lack of thoroughness; or (2) The various facts observed and principles established are so disconnected by time and circumstance that unity is lacking, and their logical relations are not seen except by the few students who naturally arrange and classify for themselves.

This book is an attempt to apply the true pedagogical order, and to teach the subject inductively, so that it may still be a unit, a subject of study by itself, but illustrated and enforced by all that can be applied to it in the Literature course as it advances. It should be stretched to accompany the Literature throughout the course, and each subject, as it is followed out, should receive as much as possible of illustration and application from the Literature the class are reading at the time.

It is hoped that those examining the book with a view to introducing it, will not overlook the stimulating effect of turning the pupil into a book full of questions. His first attempts at answering will be crude, but he will gain rapidly in power, and, as he gains it, he will more

and more enjoy its exercise. He will begin to select a better class of reading, to think for himself about what he reads, and, when it is necessary, to express himself honestly and naturally, and, consequently, well.

As to subject-matter, the book is not intended to be authoritative. The outlines given are the result of large reading, and of the thought and the criticism of many classes; but the teacher need not feel hampered by them, since, in matters of detail, opinions and authorities frequently differ. As these outlines are not at any time placed before the pupil, the class may be guided in their deliberations to opinions which seem to the teacher sound, and, if needful, may be referred to authorities to support those opinions.

Outlines of some sort, however, should be made by each class and thoroughly learned. There is nothing else that will give so compactly and so connectedly the essentials that should be held firmly in memory. While if the outlines are properly derived from the thought of the class, each heading will be full of helpful suggestions and associations.

In using the book the individual teacher may vary without difficulty not only the statements in the outlines, but also the arrangement of parts, the number and scope of exercises, and the amount of writing to be done. It would be advisable, probably, for the inexperienced teacher to follow closely, for the first time of using, the arrangement and method given, keeping the outline before her in the class-room and suiting questions to the points to be brought out. Such questions may follow somewhat closely those given in the pupils' book, but the requirements of the recitation will

« ZurückWeiter »