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HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
THE aim of this Handbook is to present, in as concise form as clearness permits, the principles of natural expres. sive reading aloud. The book is the outgrowth of several years of classroom instruction and practice based on the theory that effective oral expression is the result of clear thinking; that the principles underlying conversation, the most natural and unpremeditated form of speech, apply with equal force to the voicing of the thought of the printed page; and that the ability to read and speak with clearness and force comes, not from a knowledge of rules of speech, but with the education of mind, imagination, and emotions, and the devotion of one's best mental and spiritual energies to the task of communicating thought to other minds.
The text differs from others chiefly in method of treatment. Technical vocal exercises, and comment on enunciation and pronunciation, instead of being put at the beginning of the book are put at the end, on the ground that expression is concerned primarily with ideas. If technical drill is given a prominent place in oral instruction, espe. cially at the outset, the student is pretty sure to assume that the whole problem of expression is a matter of mere mechanical expertness in the use of voice, tongue, and lipf. But natural and spontaneous expression is not secured it, this way, as the artificialities of elocution of the past have demonstrated. The accurate utterance of words is largely a matter of imitation and mechanical skill, but, like correctness in spelling, the accomplishment is incidental to the expression of thought.
This book will not be found dogmatic in the matter of