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EVOLUTION OF EXPRESSION

BY CHARLES WESLEY EMERSON

FOUNDER OF EMERSON COLLEGE OF ORATORY, BOSTON

A COMPILATION OF SELECTIONS ILLUSTRATING THE FOUR STAGES OF
DEVELOPMENT IN ART AS APPLIED TO ORATORY IN FOUR VOLUMES, WITH KEY
TO EACH CHAPTER

THIRTY-THIRD EDITION

VOLUME I - REVISED





TO MY STUDENTS Whose need has been my inspiration and whose
understanding my rich reward, these volumes are affectionately
DEDICATED





CONTENTS.


INTRODUCTION
ANIMATION
ANALYSIS
SMOOTHNESS
VOLUME
FORMING THE ELEMENTS

CHAPTER I.

THE TEA-KETTLE AND THE CRICKET Charles Dickens
THE PIED PIPER OF HAMELIN Robert Browning
GROUP OF LYRICS:
PIPPA PASSES Robert Browning
THE SNOWDROP Alfred Tennyson
THE THROSTLE Alfred Tennyson
ONE MORNING, OH, SO EARLY Jean Ingelow
FREEDOM John Ruskin
A LAUGHING CHORUS
THE CHEERFUL LOCKSMITH Charles Dickens
HOME THOUGHTS FROM ABROAD Robert Browning
LOCHINVAR Sir Walter Scott
THE POLISH WAR SONG James G. Percival

CHAPTER II.

THE VILLAGE PREACHER Oliver Goldsmith
TO THE DAISY William Wordsworth
PSALM XXIII David
EXTRACT FROM EULOGY ON
WENDELL PHILLIPS George William Curtis
THE BROOK Alfred Tennyson
OLD AUNT MARY'S James Whitcomb Riley

CHILD VERSE:
MY SHADOW Robert Louis Stevenson
THE SWING Robert Louis Stevenson
THE LAMPLIGHTER Robert Louis Stevenson
WAITING John Burroughs

CHAPTER III.

THE REVENGE Alfred Tennyson
THE OCEAN Lord Byron
SPARTACUS TO THE GLADIATORS
AT CAPUA Rev. Elijah Kellogg
TELL TO HIS NATIVE MOUNTAINS, James Sheridan Knowles
BATTLE HYMN Karl Theodor Korner
SELF-RELIANCE Ralph Waldo Emerson
ADAMS AND JEFFERSON Daniel Webster
THE DEFENCE OF LUCKNOW Alfred Tennyson

SONNETS:

KEATS

WORDSWORTH

MILTON

ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING
IS THERE FOR HONEST POVERTY Robert Burns

CHAPTER IV.

HAMLET TO THE PLAYERS William Shakespeare

THE BOY AND THE ANGEL Robert Browning

SPEECH AND SILENCE Thomas Carlyle
THE RICH MAN AND THE POOR
MAN Khemnitzer

GATHERING OF THE FAIRIES Joseph Rodman Drake

THE SONG OF THE RAIN Spectator

HEARTY READING Sidney Smith

IVRY Lord Macaulay

THE DAFFODILS William Wordsworth

CHEERFULNESS J. H. Friswell

APRIL IN THE HILLS Archibald Lampman





INTRODUCTION.

Teach me, then,
To fashion worlds in little, making form,
As God does, one with spirit, - be the priest
Who makes God into bread to feed the world.
- Richard Hovey.

The revised edition of the "Evolution of Expression" is issued in
response to frequent requests from teachers and students for a
formulation of those principles upon which natural methods in the
teaching of expression are based. It is hoped that the brief
explanatory text introducing each chapter may aid teacher and
pupil to avoid arbitrary standards and haphazard efforts,
substituting in their place, psychological law. Growth in
expression is not a matter of chance; the teacher who understands
nature's laws and rests upon them, setting no limit to the
potentialities of his pupil, waits not in vain for results.

No printed text, however, can take the place of a discerning
teacher. A knowledge of the philosophy of education in expression
avails little without the ability to create the genial atmosphere
conducive to the development of the student. The teacher is the
gardener, his service - his full service - is to surround the young
plant with favorable conditions of light and soil and atmosphere;
then stand out of its way while it unfolds its full blossom and
final fruitage.

The tendency of modern education is towards the discovery and
perfection of methods. The thought of leading educators is turned
from the what to the how; to the development of systems of
progressive steps through which the pupil may be led to a
realization of himself. This trend is best shown in the
multiplicity and excellence of recent pedagogical treatises and in
the appearance of carefully graded and progressive text-books. The
ancients believed that their heroes were born of gods and
goddesses. They knew of no means by which the mind could be
developed to the compass of greatness. The ancient theory to
account for greatness was preternatural birth; the modern theory
is evolution. To-day the interest of the child is awakened, his
mind is aroused, and then led onward in regular steps.

The study of all forms of art, so far as methods are concerned,
should be progressive. For correct guidance in our search for the
best methods, we must understand the order of the development of
the human mind. A child, before he arrives at an age where he can
be taught definitely, is simply a little palpitating mass of
animation. Soon he begins to show an attraction toward surrounding
objects. Next he begins to show a greater attraction for some
things than for others. His hands clutch at and retain certain
objects. He now enters the period of development where he makes
selections, and thus is born the power of choice. Objects which,
at first, appeared to him as a mass now begin to stand out clearly
one from another; to become more and more differentiated, while
the child begins to separate and to compare. Thus the brain of the
child passes through the successive stages from simple animation
to attraction, to selection or choice, to separation or analysis.
This principle of evolution, operating along the same lines, is
found in the race as in the individual. In all man's work he has
but recorded his own life or evolution. All history, all
religions, all governments, all forms of art bring their testimony
to this truth, and in each the scholar may find these successive
stages of development.

In the age of Phidias the art of sculpture reached its maturity.
No race and no people have ever surpassed the consummate
achievements of that period. But this perfection was the result of
a process of evolution. There had been graduated steps, and those
same steps must to-day be taken in the education of the artist.
Art had passed into its second period before authentic Greek
history began. The first stage was shown in that nation so justly
called the "Mother of Arts and Sciences." In Egypt we find
probably the first real manifestations of mind in art forms. They
are colossal exhibitions of energy, such as the Temple of Thebes,
seven hundred feet in length, statues seventy feet tall, monuments
rearing their heads almost five hundred feet in air.

"Those temples, palaces, and piles stupendous
Of which the very ruins are tremendous."

To Assyria we turn in our search for the next step in the progress
of art. Here we find the artists making melodramatic efforts to
attract the attention and fascinate the mind with weird and
incongruous shapes of mongrel brutes and hydraheaded monsters.

Finding art at this point, the Greeks, true to their race
instinct, at once began to evolve from it higher forms. They soon
awoke to the perception that beauty itself is the true principle
of fascination. Reducing their new theory to practise, the Greek
artists turned their attention to perfecting the details of the
art they had borrowed. To works originally repellant from their
very crudeness, they supplied finish and perfection of the parts.
The ideal was still before them; the grotesque monsters might
fascinate the beholder, but, however skilfully executed, however
perfected in finish, the impression produced was but transitory,
and failed to satisfy the craving of the soul Beauty was found to
be the only abiding source of satisfaction. As the conceptions of
the past no longer satisfied the criterion which their own minds
had embraced, the Greek artists sought in nature herself for
models of that beauty, which, when placed in art forms, should be
a joy forever. The monsters of antiquity disappeared, and in their
places, came attempts to faithfully copy nature. To be sure, some
specimens of the art era from which the Greeks had just emerged
appeared at much later periods of their history; but these
creations, as in the case of the Centaur, were usually
representations of what were believed to be historical facts,
rather than fantastic creations designed by the artist to startle
the beholder. The Greek still gratified his passion for beauty of
detail, while he was pursuing his new-born purpose of copying
nature. It was not long before he found that nature, however
skilfully copied, could be perfectly mirrored to the eye of the
beholder only when presented as she appears to the mind of man.
This discovery budded and blossomed into the consummate flower of
true art, the fourth or suggestive era, which reached its acme in
the work of Phidias and his contemporaries. Every creation was the
expression of some state of mind. Everything was made as it
appeared to the eye of the poet, not as it might seem to the man
of no sentiment. The impression of the poetic mind found its
expression in art, and now the statues think, fear, hate, love.

The same general laws which have governed the rise of sculpture,
underlie the evolution of all forms of art. It is the purpose of
the present writing to hint at, rather than to trace, the four
stages of development in painting, music, and literature. To
follow the steps of progress in painting is somewhat more
difficult than to trace the evolution of sculpture or
architecture, on account of the perishable nature of the
materials. Music has unfolded with the unfolding of the human
mind, from the startling sounds of the savage, - exhibitions of
pure energy, - through efforts at fascination by the medium of
weird and unnatural combinations, and through attempts to
reproduce natural sounds, ever upward till it breathes the very
spirit of nature in a Haydn or a Beethoven.

We may follow the growth of the English drama through the same
process, from its dawning in the fantastic miracle plays with
their paraphernalia of heaven and hell, of gods, devils, angels,
and demons, to the creations' of "the thousand-souled
Shakespeare." In religion we see the same phases - from the worship
of life itself, of natural phenomena, through the panorama of
deities friendly and deities unfriendly, of gods many and of
devils many, until the human mind grasps the conception of Unity
in deity, and bows in worship before an Infinite Being of Love and
Providence.

In the history of government is written the same tale of
evolution, from manifestations of brute energy, seeking
gratification in subjugation for its own sake, - from the
government typified by the iron heel, - to the government which,
seeking the education and protection of all the people becomes a
school rather than a system of restraint.

Therefore the race, in its march from savagery to civilization,
may be considered as one man, showing, first, animation; next,
manifesting his objects of attraction; third, displaying his
purposes; and finally putting forth his wisdom in obedience to the
true, the beautiful, and the good.

These principles of natural evolution have been applied by the
writer to the study of oratory. The orator must illustrate in his
art the same steps of progress which govern the growth of other
arts. He may have developed the power of the painter, the
sculptor, the musician, yet if he would unfold the art of the
rhetorician, he must pass through the progressive gradations that
have marked the education of his powers in other departments. In a
single lifetime he may attain the highest art expression, yet he
cannot escape the necessity of cultivating his powers by the same
process of evolution which the race needed centuries to pass
through. It remains for the teacher, therefore, to so arrange the
methods of study as to enable the pupil to pursue the natural
order of education. In all things he must stimulate and not
repress normal growth.

There is an old notion sometimes found among theoretical educators
that the mind of a child is like a piece of paper upon which
anything may be written; a mould of clay upon which any impression
may be made; a block of stone in which the teacher, like the
famous sculptor of old, sees, in his poetic vision, an angel, and
then chips and hacks until that angel stands revealed. The theory
is absurdly and dangerously fallacious. Paper and clay are not
living organisms; the orator is not the statue chiselled from the
rough stone of human nature, or, if the teacher succeeds in so far
perverting nature as to hack and trim a human organism into the
semblance of a statue, the product of his work will stand forth a
living illustration of the difference between the genuine and the
spurious. The stone has no life. Life must be breathed into it,
and the sculptor may breathe into it such life as he chooses. The
gardener, on the other hand, must obey the laws of the life of the
plant he nurtures. He must so direct the forces of nature as to
help its inherent tendencies. A certain line of growth is written
in the structure of every species of plant. The plant may be
hindered or perverted in its development; it may be killed, but it
cannot be made to grow into the form of another plant.

The progress of the human mind can be illustrated only by that
which is vital, not by anything mechanical. Mind reacts upon
whatever is given to it according to the divine laws of its own
organism. The human mind, like the plant, must exhibit vitality in
abundance before it finds a higher and more complex manifestation.
The unskilled teacher, instead of inviting out the young pupil
along the line of his own organism, may, at the outset, paralyze
the unfolding mind by ill-advised dictation. There can be no true
teaching which does not involve growing, and growing in the way
intended by nature. The teacher must be something more than a
critic. The critic establishes criteria, protects the public, and,
in a measure, educates the public taste. When he is able to teach
others how to reach true criteria he becomes a teacher. Until he
can do this he has no place in the class room.

It will be observed that the four volumes of the "Evolution of
Expression" recognize the four general stages of man's
development: Volume I., representing the period when the
individual is engrossed with subjects or objects as a Whole, and
his passion for life is expressed through rude energy, size - the
Colossal; Volume II., when he delights in so presenting The Parts
to which he has been attracted, as to make them Effective in
attracting the attention of others; Volume III., when his
appreciation of the use or Service of the Parts carries him beyond
the melodramatic to the Realistic; and Volume IV., in which his
dawning perception of that higher service resulting from the
truthful Relationship of the Parts leads him beyond realism to
idealism, the Suggestive.

In choosing the selections for this and the accompanying volumes,
the aim has been to preserve the natural oneness between the study
of literature and that of expression, and to encourage the
appreciation of this unity in the minds of teacher and student. It
may be said that the greatest of the world's literature was
written for the ear, not for the eye, and its noblest influence is
felt only when it is adequately voiced by an intelligent and
sympathetic reader. It is the object of these volumes to foster in
the student a keener and deeper appreciation of the truth and
beauty of great prose and verse, and at the same time to enrich
his own and other lives by cultivating the power of expressing the
glories which are opened to his vision.

The arrangement of the selections is for the purpose of teaching
the art of reading according to the steps of natural evolution
hinted at in the foregoing pages, and in a way which experience
has found most prolific in practical results.

While no effort has been made to search for novelties, great care
has been taken to secure selections which, while of pure literary
merit, are especially adapted for drill in the several steps of
progress in reading. The power developed in the student through
carefully directed drill on these selections will enable him to
illuminate whatever other literature he may care to interpret. The
arrangement of the selections in small divisions or paragraphs has
been made for convenience in the work of the class room.

The "Evolution of Expression" does not offer art criteria by which
the work of an orator is to be measured; it presents rather a
system of education by which one may attain the plane of art in
expression. The teacher or student who desires a formulation of
laws which afford a standard of art criticism is referred to the
four volumes of "The Perfective Laws of Art," the text-book
succeeding the "Evolution of Expression."

The author wishes to express his sincere gratitude to George N.
Morang & Co., to Bobbs-Merrill Company, and to Houghton, Mifflin &
Co., for their courtesy in allowing him to reprint in this volume
selections from their publications.





THE WHOLE.

THE COLOSSAL PERIOD.

The body is one and hath many members, and all the members
of that one body, being many, are one body. - ST. PAUL.

How good is man's life, the mere living! How fit to employ
All the heart and the soul and the senses forever in joy!

- BROWNING.





CHAPTER I.

ANIMATION.


(NOTE. - Let the teacher and student remember that the headings of
the chapters name effects rather than causes, signs rather than
things signified. They are not, therefore, objects of thought for
the student while practising; they are finger points for the
teacher; the criteria by which he measures his pupil's
development.)

Reading is a communication of thought; a transference of ideas
from one mind to other minds so as to influence their thinking in
a definite manner. The process is distinctively communicative,
involving two parties, speaker and audience, equally
indispensable. As well might the student of manual training
attempt his work without materials, to paint without paper or
canvas, carve without wood or stone, model without clay, as the
student of expression to read or speak without an audience. For
this reason in all his private practice as well as class drill,
the student should hold in mind an audience to whom he directs his
attention. The office of the teacher is to hold constantly before
the pupil these two mental concepts, his thought and his audience,
or his thought in relation to his audience. The pupil must be
taught to respond to the author's thought as to his own, and at
the same time he must be inspired with the desire to give that
thought to others. In his endeavor to awaken other minds his own
will be quickened. This mental quickening reports itself in
animation of voice and manner. Herein is illustrated a fundamental
law of development; what we earnestly attempt to do for another
that we actually do for ourselves. The constant endeavor of the
teacher, therefore, must be to inspire the pupil to serve his
audience through truth, the truth of his discourse. His attempt to
gain the attention of his hearers and to concentrate their minds
on this truth will secure such concentration of his own mind as
will stimulate his interest, and interest is always vital.

Let no one mistake loudness for animation. A whisper may be more
vital, more animated than a shout. The slightest quiver of a
muscle may reveal greater intensity of thought than the most
violent gesticulation. Yet since freedom and abandon of the agents
of expression are necessary to their perfect service, let the
teacher invite that freedom and abandon without fear of
sacrificing good taste. He is not to be regarded as an artist yet;
nor is it now profitable to measure him by the criteria of art.
Let the form of his expression be as crude as it may, only let it
be born of the thought. The student is learning to think on his
feet; and the act of mental concentration upon his author's
thought in relation to his audience is not at first a simple task.
Do not hurry him in his development. Remember that expression to
be truthful, must be spontaneous. The teacher needs only to hold
the right objects of thought before the pupil's mind, then stand
aside and let him grow in nature's own way. No thought of the HOW
should be allowed to enter the student's mind while he is
speaking, it is only the WHAT that concerns him. Form is born of
spirit; the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

The requirement of the present chapter is met when the student is
able to fix the attention of those who listen upon the central
idea or theme of the selection. The WHOLE or unit of thought
should be held before the pupil's mind, and by him, before the
mind of the audience, attention not yet being directed
specifically to PARTS.

ANALYSIS.

The basis of intelligent vocal interpretation of literature is
careful analysis. One cannot express shades of meaning that are
not in the mind; until one clearly perceives the motives and
relationships of the selection, he cannot reflect them to others.
Too much cannot be said upon the importance of thorough thought
and study of a selection previous to any effort toward expression.
It is needless to explain that one cannot give what he does not
possess; and it is equally self-evident that one gains by giving.
Long and thoughtful quiescent concentration should precede the
concentration of mind while speaking. The author's words are like
a gold mine which must be searched by thorough digging for the
nuggets of thought beneath. The pupil must live with his author,
see through his eyes, think with his intellect, feel with his
heart, and choose with his will, picturing to himself every scene,
putting himself in the place of every character described.

Like every organism every true work of art has organic unity; it
represents a unit of thought, the WHOLE, made up of essential
PARTS. Each part is a part of the whole, because in its own way it
reflects the whole. The perfect unity of an organism or of a work
of art results from the service rendered by each part to every
other part.

Here, then, is the logical order of analysis: first, the WHOLE or
unit of thought; second, the PARTS; third, the SERVICE, OR THE USE
OF THE PARTS; fourth, the RELATIONSHIP OF THE PARTS which is the
highest service and results in revelation. In determining this
higher service we are reconstructing our whole from the unit of
the selection to the revelation of truth resulting from the
relationship of parts; the analysis must culminate in synthesis,
else it would defeat its purpose. The end of literature, as in
other forms of art, is revelation. The end of analysis is to lead
to the perception of this revelation. In the earlier stages of
development the pupil's attention should not be directed toward
minute analysis. At this period his mind is engrossed with the
principal thought or unit of the composition, - the dominant theme
which is developed in every organic literary composition. Let his
mind rest upon this until he lives in the spirit of the theme
through a passion for reflecting it to others.

Inasmuch as an attempt to define always limits, it is a question
how far it will be profitable to formulate definite statements of
the whole, parts, etc. Written expression, as well as oral, is
individual. Each pupil may have a different formulation. Inasmuch,
however, as every author is possessed by a definite purpose,
we may suggest, for the guidance of the student, a tentative
analysis of a selection which may aid him in reflecting its truth
to an audience.

It is hoped that this brief study of one selection from each
chapter may be acceptable as a working basis, a hint of the
logical method of procedure rather than an arbitrary model. The
elaboration of these principles is without limit and must be left
to the teacher. It is the purpose here to give only simple
statements intended to be suggestive rather than final.

Example: "The Cheerful Locksmith." (Page 46.)

The Unit, or Whole for working basis: The character of the
Cheerful Locksmith.

The Parts:

(a) The sound he makes. Paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 7.

(6) His personal appearance. Paragraph 4.

(c) The appearance of objects around him. Paragraphs 5, 6.

The Service of the Parts:

(a) Serves the Whole by engaging the interest at once in the


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