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DWIGHT EVERETT WATKINS, A.M.
With the increasing demand for Public Speaking work in High Schools, there has come the need for a High School book on the subject. Texts hitherto published have been too extensive and technical, or too vague; or, finally, too meager, consisting merely of a collection of pieces to be recited in order by the student. This little book, it is hoped, will have none of these faults. The philosophy of expression has been introduced sparingly, and not all of the fine points of technique have been covered. Enough practical directions have been given, however, to set the pupil well on his way to success as an actual speaker, and to prepare him to accept the instruction now being offered in the subject at our best colleges and universities.
In three respects, it is believed, the book will mark somewhat of an advance. First, the subjects of Pitch, Time, Action, etc., are not taken up and exhausted at one time. Lessons in Action are introduced at intervals throughout the work. This follows the correct evolution of the student of Public Speaking, and has the added advantage of sustaining interest. Second, the many illustrations, aside from their value in catching and holding the attention of the student, will enable him to work alone before his mirror in his attempts to master the typical gestures, something that has not been possible where the teacher has had to be depended upon for a model. Third, the numerous Cautions inserted throughout the book will aid materially
in guarding against incorrect action and vocalization. Faults are often due to inaccurate observation, and need only to be pointed out to be corrected.
In the exercises at the close of the several lessons will be found a modest, but, it is believed, an adequate system of vocal and physical culture. Not all the exercises will appeal to all teachers, but the use of any prudent selection from them ought to result in a marked improvement in the work of the class.
On account of the numerous illustrations, it may at first appear that the subject of Action has been over-emphasized. On closer examination, however, this will probably not be found the case, although the persuasive power of the delivery that appeals to the eye is often underestimated. Those teachers who do not believe in teaching Action may, of course, omit all lessons dealing with the subject. The hints appropriated by the student from the illustrations will doubtless not intrude themselves obnoxiously.
No accompanying book of selections is needed, as plenty of material for practice will be found within the text itself; and in accordance with the passing of what is termed the “old style" elocution, it will be found that the illustrative selections have been taken, for the most part, from strictly oratorical sources, and an effort has been made to admit only the best models.
DWIGHT E. WATKINS.