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The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English

15 Apr

The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English

by Sherwin Cody

  1. LETTERS AND SOUNDS {VOWELS CONSONANTS EXERCISES THE DICTIONARY}
  2. WORD-BUILDING {PREFIXES}
  3. WORD-BUILDING–Rules and Applications {EXCEPTIONS}
  4. PRONUNCIATION

THE METHOD OF THE MASTERS

  1. DICTION.
  2. FIGURES OF SPEECH.
  3. STYLE.
  4. HUMOR
  5. RIDICULE.
  6. THE RHETORICAL, IMPASSIONED AND LOFTY STYLES
  7. RESERVE
  8. CRITICISM
  9. THE STYLE OF FICTION: NARRATIVE, DESCRIPTION, AND DIALOGUE
  10. THE EPIGRAMMATIC STYLE
  11. THE POWER OF SIMPLICITY
  12. HARMONY OF STYLE
  13. IMAGINATION AND REALITY.— THE AUDIENCE.
  14. THE USE OF MODELS IN WRITING FICTION

For Learning to Write and Speak Masterly English.

The first textbook on rhetoric which still remains to us was written by Aristotle. He defines rhetoric as the art
of writing effectively, viewing it primarily as the art of persuasion in public speaking, but making it include
all the devices for convincing or moving the mind of the hearer or reader.

Aristotle’s treatise is profound and scholarly, and every textbook of rhetoric since written is little more than a
restatement of some part of his comprehensive work. It is a scientific analysis of the subject, prepared for
critics and men of a highly cultured and investigating turn of mind, and was not originally intended to instruct
ordinary persons in the management of words and sentences for practical purposes.

While no one doubts that an ordinary command of words may be learned, there is an almost universal
impression in the public mind, and has been even from the time of Aristotle himself, that writing well or ill is
almost purely a matter of talent, genius, or, let us say, instinct. It has been truly observed that the formal study
of rhetoric never has made a single successful writer, and a great many writers have succeeded preëminently
without ever having opened a rhetorical textbook. It has not been difficult, therefore, to come to the
conclusion that writing well or ill comes by nature alone, and that all we can do is to pray for luck,–or, at the
most, to practise incessantly.

Let us attack our problem from a common-sense point of view. How have greater writers learned to write?
How do plumbers learn plumbing?

The process by which plumbers learn is simple. They watch the master-plumber, and then try to do likewise,
and they keep at this for two or three years. At the end they are themselves master-plumbers, or at least
masters of plumbing.

The method by which great writers, especially great writers who didn’t start with a peculiar genius, have
learned to write is much the same. Take Stevenson, for instance: he says he “played the sedulous ape.” He
studied the masterpieces of literature, and tried to imitate them. He kept at this for several years. At the end
he was a master himself. We have reason to believe that the same was true of Thackeray, of Dumas, of
Cooper, of Balzac, of Lowell. All these men owe their skill very largely to practice in imitation of other great
writers, and often of writers not as great as they themselves. Moreover, no one will accuse any of these
writers of not being original in the highest degree. To imitate a dozen or fifty great writers never makes
imitators; the imitator, so-called, is the person who imitates one. To imitate even two destroys all the bad
effects of imitation.

A Practical Method.

Aristotle’s method, though perfect in theory, has failed in practice. Franklin’s method is too elementary and
undeveloped to be of general use. Taking Aristotle’s method (represented by our standard textbooks on
rhetoric) as our guide, let us develop Franklin’s method into a system as varied and complete as Aristotle’s.
We shall then have a method at the same time practical and scholarly.

We have studied the art of writing words correctly (spelling) and writing sentences correctly (grammar).*
Now we wish to learn to write sentences, paragraphs, and entire compositions effectively.

First, we must form the habit of observing the meanings and values of words, the structure of sentences, of
paragraphs, and of entire compositions as we read standard literature–just as we have been trying to form
the habit of observing the spelling of words, and the logical relationships of words in sentences. In order that
we may know what to look for in our observation we must analyse a little,but we will not imagine that we
shall learn to do a thing by endless talk about doing it.

Second, we will practise in the imitation of selections from master writers, in every case fixing our attention
on the rhetorical element each particular writer best illustrates. This imitation will be continued until we have
mastered the subject toward which we are especially directing our attention, and all the subjects which go to the making of an accomplished writer.

Third, we will finally make independent compositions for ourselves with a view to studying and expressing the
stock of ideas which we have to express. This will involve a study of the people on whom we wish to impress
our ideas, and require that we constantly test the results of our work to see what the actual effect on the mind
of our audience is.
Let us now begin our work.

I hope the summary from the book  “The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English by Sherwin Cody” is useful for anyone who need it.

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.”

Gustave Flaubert

 
1 Comment

Posted by on April 15, 2013 in Education, Language

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

One response to “The Art Of Writing & Speaking The English

  1. kartikataz13

    April 16, 2013 at 4:51 am

    Reblogged this on Tika and commented:
    Good theory by Sherwin Cody

     

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