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Bntered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1878, by

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. O.




The veteran and well-known elocutionist, Professor Bronson, left at his death a large quantity of manuscript, embracing matter on all the principles involved in voice-culture, reading, and speaking. It was found, upon examination, that much condensation and arrangement of these papers were necessary. This has been a labor requiring time, care, and experience. The result is now before the public.

The pieces selected for readings, with the emphatic words and rhetorical pauses indicated, are culled from a large quantity thus prepared by him. Any person who attempts to describe accurately an action or vibratory movement of body or limb, in writing, will realize to a small extent the difficulty an author experiences in attempting to convey on paper, in a comprehensible manner, an idea of the tones of the human voice—its force, its melody, its multiplicity of shades and intonations. It is something like an attempt to cage the wind. As the dancing-master can show by one movement of his foot what he could not fully explain in a dozen pages of a treatise, so the elocutionist in a few spoken words, or waves of voice, can elucidate a principle which many pages of printed matter could not make clear to the mind of his pupil.

And yet the necessity for the treatise remains a Manual of Principles is demanded as a text-book for both teacher and pupil.


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To meet in some degree this demand these essays and principles are given to the public, with the natural wish of any one who takes charge of a work of this character that, instead of being a mute, it had a voice and could speak.

However irrelevant may appear to the novitiate some of the things suggested in this book as useful for practice, he may be assured that the experience of the author during almost a lifetime of teaching has found them not only necessary, but fruitful of good results; and nothing but what has been proved to be altogether essential has found place in this work.

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