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PREFACE

THIS Volume is based on my Exercises in Rhetoric and English Composition (high school course), first published in 1891, which, after passing through six editions, is now withdrawn from circulation. In revising, expanding, and perfecting my earlier work, I have been gratified to observe how much progress has been made during this decade in the teaching of rhetoric and English composition in the secondary schools. In 1890 no one felt sure what rhetorical theories should be put before high school students, what practice should be given them in composition, or what relation the combined work in rhetoric and composition should bear to the study of English literature. The problem last mentioned has not yet been solved satisfactorily. That we have come to a fairly definite agreement as to the other two problems is due to the zeal with which teachers of English are carrying on their work, solving their difficulties by experience, and to the animated and effective discussion, throughout the country, of the recommendations of the Committees of Ten and Fifteen and the Conference on Uniform Entrance Requirements in English.

What teachers seem to have agreed on in regard to the teaching of rhetoric and composition is largely this:

(1) That the same training should be given pupils who go to college and pupils who do not.

(2) That the formal study of rhetoric and composition should be begun not later than the second year of the four-year high school course, and continued for at least two years.

(3) That during the first of these two courses pupils should be trained in the choice of words and the structure of sentences and paragraphs; that during the second course they should be briefly trained in the main principles of exposition, narration, description, and (perhaps) argument.

(4) That during both courses care should be taken that pupils understand thoroughly a few main principles and that they have abundant practice in applying them; that stress be laid on correctness, clearness, directness, and simplicity of style, and that correctness be regarded from a liberal point of view, based on the actual practice of educated and cultivated Americans in speech and writing.

This volume attempts to provide for the work of the first of these two courses. The second volume, providing for the second course, is in preparation. In dealing with this volume I recommend teachers to pay especial attention to the building of sentences. It is as possible for every boy to learn to make good sentences as it is for every boy to learn to swim or skate or set a snare. All that it requires is patient instruction. The task may at times be dreary, but no accomplishment will eventually stand the pupil in better stead.

My thanks are due to many friends, teachers in

schools of various kinds, for suggestions as to the form and content of this book. As to the general principles involved, I take pleasure in acknowledging my continued indebtedness to the works of Professor Barrett Wendell of Harvard University and Professor F. N. Scott of the University of Michigan. No inconsiderable part of the recent progress in teaching rhetoric and composition is due to the influence of these two men. One brings to his task the skill and insight of the man of letters and the man of affairs; the other, the learning and system of the student of psychology and philology. Together they have been instrumental in bringing about a revision, in several important particulars, of the body of conventional rhetorical dogma that had come down to us unchanged from the hands of Quintilian and Campbell.

I shall be greatly obliged to teachers who will have the kindness to inform me of any points in which the volume needs correction, or who suggest other ways in which it may be improved.

It is due to the kindly criticism and suggestions of teachers using my book in its first edition that I have been able, in this second edition, to make substantial changes, adapting it still further to the actual needs. of practical school work. The chapter on the paragraph has been rewritten and expanded in order that teachers who prefer to have the paragraph studied early in the course may take up that subject whenever they please. My own judgment has usually been in favor of deferring the formal study of the paragraph until the pupil is thoroughly familiar with sentence structure; but the contrary practice is grow

ing in favor, and, in many schools, yields excellent results. It seems proper, therefore, that a text book should be capable of use according to either method, at the option of the instructor. If he wishes to get his pupils to writing essays as soon as possible, and especially if the course comes later than the second year of the high school work, it is certainly desirable that the chapter on paragraphs should be taken up after Chapter VI, or, indeed, after Chapter II. I have also, in Chapter XV, added somewhat to the treatment of figures.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY,
NEW YORK CITY,
August, 1900.

G. R. CARPENTER.

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