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The Voice and Spiritual Education   By: (1828-1911)

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THE VOICE AND SPIRITUAL EDUCATION

THE VOICE AND SPIRITUAL EDUCATION

BY

HIRAM CORSON, LL.D.

PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE CORNELL UNIVERSITY

New York

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD. 1914

All rights reserved

COPYRIGHT, 1896, BY MACMILLAN AND CO.

Set up and electrotyped March, 1896. Reprinted February, 1897; July, 1901; February, 1903; August, 1904; March, 1908; October, 1914.

Norwood Press J. S. Cushing & Co. Berwick & Smith Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

PREFATORY NOTE

While it is the purpose of this little book to emphasize the importance of vocal culture in its relations to literary and general culture, it is not its purpose, except incidentally, to impart elocutionary instruction. Attention is called to a few features of the subject, which, if realized in any voice, would contribute much to the technical part, at least, of good reading.

Special stress is laid upon the importance of spiritual education as the end toward which all education should be directed, and as an indispensable condition of interpretative reading. Such education is demanded for responding to, and assimilating, the informing life of any product of literary genius; without it, mere vocal training avails little or nothing. By the spiritual I mean man's essential, absolute being; and I include in the term the emotional, the susceptible or impressible, the sympathetic, the instinctive, the intuitive, in short, the whole domain of the non intellectual, the non discursive.

With the kind permission of the editor, I have embodied in the part of the book devoted to the voice, my article on Vocal Culture, published 'The Atlantic Monthly' for June, 1895.

H. C. Cascadilla Cottage, Ithaca, N. Y., 30 Jan., 1896.

La voix est une révélatrice, une initiatrice, dont la puissance est aussi merveilleuse qu'inconnue.

Un des plus réels avantages de la lecture à haute voix est précisément de vous révéler dans les chefs d'oeuvre une foule de petites nuances ignorées du peintre même qui les y a jetées. Par là, cet art pourrait devenir un puissant instrument d'éducation. C'est souvent un excellent professeur de littérature qu'un grand maître de diction.

ERNEST LEGOUVÉ, de l'Académie française .

THE VOICE AND SPIRITUAL EDUCATION

Can reading be taught? is a question often asked, and partly for the reason, it may be, that so many readers who have gone through courses of vocal training in schools of elocution, or under private teachers, so frequently offend people of taste and culture by an extravagance of expression, by mimetic gesture, and by offensive mannerisms of various kinds. But a reasonable inference cannot be drawn from such readers that vocal training must necessarily do more harm than good.

Yes, much can be taught, and is taught, and well taught, it may be; the desideratum is the education, intellectual and spiritual, especially the latter, without which the mere teaching and training are vain and impotent.

The organs of speech can be brought by intelligent training into a complete obedience to the will and the feelings; and without this obedience of his vocal organs, a reader, whatever be his other qualifications, cannot do his best. He is in the position of a musical performer who has sympathetically assimilated the composition he is rendering, but whose instrument is badly out of tune. A reader may have the fullest possible appreciation of the subject matter, intellectual and spiritual, of a poem, and a susceptibility to all the subtlest elements of effect involved in its form; but if he have not full control of his vocal faculties, he can but imperfectly reveal through his voice, his appreciation and susceptibility. This control can be secured only by long and intelligent training... Continue reading book >>




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