John Franklin Genung.

Handbook of rhetorical analysis. Studies in style and invention. Designed to accompany the author's Practical elements of rhetoric online

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From the Library of




January ii, 1921

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Ph.D. of the University of Leipsic; Professor of Rhetoric
IN Amherst College.





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JAHUARY 11, 1921

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year i888> by

in the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

All Rights Reserved.

Ttfoobaphy by J. S. Gushing & Co., Boston, U.S.A.

Fbesswobk by Ginn & Co., Boston, U.S.A.

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I. John Bunyan. Christian's Fight with ApoUyon i

II. Thomas De Quincey. On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth 8

Study Introductory to Following Selections 17

III. Edmund Burke. The Age of Chivahy is gone ! 18

IV. William Makepeace Thackeray. On Letts's Diary .... 24
V. John Ruskin. Description of St. Mark's, Venice 36

VI. James Russell Lowell. The Poetry of St. Peter's, Rome . . 48

VII. Thomas Carlyle. Coleridge as a Talker 56

Study of Figures in Previous Selections 64

VIII. Thomas Henry Huxley. A Liberal Education 67

IX. John Henry, Cardinal Newman, i. Accuracy of Mind.

II. Ideal Authorship described 80

Study of Fundamental Processes in Previous Selections ... 86

X. Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Custom-House Inspector . . 89
XI. Matthew Arnold. The Literary Spirit of the English and of

the French compared 97

Study of Sentences in Previous Selections no

XII. Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay. The Work of the

Imagination in writing History 114

Study of Paragraphs in Previous Selections 128


XIII. John Morley. Progressive Tendencies of the Age of Burke , 133

XIV. Joseph Addison. Lucidus Ordo 141

XV. Sir Arthur Helps. On the Art of Living with Others . . . 147

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XVI. Richard Doddridge Blackmore. Description of Glen Doone 156
XVII. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley. Triumphal Entry of Christ to Jeru-
salem 161

XVIII. John Richard Green. The Character of Queen Elizabeth . . 169

Notes on Description in Previous Selections 185

XIX. Thomas Hughes. St. Ambrose Crew win their First Race . . 187

XX. Joseph Henry Shorthouse. A Mysterious Incident .... 198

XXI. Sir Walter Scott. An Historical Incident Retold .... 206

xxii. John Stuart Mill. The Meaning of the Term Nature . . . 225

xxiii. John Ruskin. Of the Pathetic Fallacy 233

Notes on Exposition in Previous Selections 253

xxrvr. John Tyndall. The Meteoric Theory of the Sun's Heat . . 255
XXV. Thomas Babington, Lord Macaulay. Queen Elizabeth a Per-
secutor 266

XXVI. George William Curtis. The Public Duty of Educated Men . 275

Directory of Selections 305

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The selections that make up this Handbook, while fairly rep-
resentative, so far as they go, of the authors from whose works
they are taken, are not to be regarded as introductions to the
authors as such, still less as studies in the history and development
of English prose literature. They are simply, as the title indi-
cates, extracts to be analyzed, in style and structure, for the pur-
pose of forming, from actual examples, some intelligent conception
of what the making of good literature involves: taken from, the
best writers, because it is safer to study models of excellence than
examples of error ; taken from several writers, because it is not
wise to make an exclusive model of any one author's work, how-
ever excellent ; and taken for the most part from recent writers,
not because these are better than writers of earUer time, but
because they are more likely to illustrate the usages practically
needed in this century.

" I think, as far as my observation has gone," says Mr. John
Morley, " that men will do better for reaching precision by study-
ing carefully and with an open mind and a vigilant eye the great
models of writing, than by excessive practice of writing on their
own account." In a general way such testimony as this to the
value of the study of hterary models is universal. Biographies of
authors are full of it ; reports, gleaned from every available source,
of " books which have influenced me," and accounts of the great
literary works which have been at eminent writers' elbows, con-
stant companions and inspirers, are eagerly read and treasured for
their helpftihiess to workers who aspire to like eminence. But
while the question of the what is so copiously answered, the ques-
tion of the how remains for the most part unapproached. Its

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answer has hardly got farther than the general idea that all one
has to do is to choose, with proper respect for one's tastes and
aptitudes, some great masterpiece or some great author's works,
and then read, read, read, until the general indefinite influence of
the style has soaked into and thoroughly saturated the reader's
mind. To this, as one way of study, no objection is here offered,
provided the works be wisely, and perhaps it ought to be said
variously, chosen. For one kind of discipline it undoubtedly has
its value. Such reading as this may, however, be so pursued as to
be anything but " studying carefully and with an open mind and a
vigilant eye," and so it may miss its vaunted value; indeed, it
begins to benefit the student only when he begins to interpret the
vague impressions that he has received, by referring them to defi-
nite principles, only when there begins to be evolved in his mind
some scientific explanation, however crude, of the literary phe-
nomena he has observed. This is the main secret of the benefit
derived from literary study by those great authors who write with
Virgil and Milton and Burke at their elbows. Their own constant
efforts in the same kind of work have sharpened their vision to rec-
ognize in their favorite models concrete solutions of their daily
literary problems. Thus they have come to answer, each for him-
self, the question how to study models; and in each case the
answer means that the student has evolved from his research some
kind of a science of rhetoric ^ — one-sided, it may be, and inade-
quate, but still such a science as he can utiHze in his own work.
Valuable indeed such a result is, and it is interesting to all readers
to know what great masterpiece of hterature infused its influence
into each eminent author's style. Unfortunately, however, such
result answers the question of the how for only one person ; it does
not contribute to progress all along the line. Each new student must
begin as helplessly and as much at sea as if nothing of the kind had
ever been done ; he has to make the way he finds. And the reason
why so many students who enter hopefully on a course of study of
this kind find it a delusion and a disappointment — for such is the
fact — is, that they have not pursued it intelligently enough or sys-

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PkEPACR. vii

tematically enough to have reached definite practical deductions
for their own guidance in matters literary.

Nor is the problem fully solved by making the deductions and
presenting them, in scientific form and order, to the student. The
study of the text-book of rhetoric is indeed, like the study of Uterary
models, one important element in the circuit of rhetorical training ;
nor should either element be thrown away for the sake of the other.
"This ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
But to complete the circuit, connection must be made. It is not
because theory is bad, but because theory alone, without its appli-
cation in practice or in the concrete, is inadequate, that the text-
book is so often found a failure. One cannot become a writer, it
is justly urged, by learning rules and conning ready-made philoso-
phizings on style and invention. It is not so often urged, because
the thing has not so often been tried, but it is equally true, that
one cannot become a writer by studying models of writing, with-
out evolving therefrom the very rules and philosophizings that in
their abstracted form people are so ready to reject. Becoming a
writer, that is, actual practice in subduing the detailed requisites
of expression until they become pliant and ready servants of the
writer's will, occupies a position distinct from either of these,
being the third element in the rhetorical circuit. Theory, exam-
ple, practice, — these are the three.

The present Handbook is an attempt to supply the second of
these, in a series of selections from the best prose writers ; and so
to connect these with the theory, as found in the text-book, that
the student may be enabled to make, or to discover, his own
rhetoric. Thus the book aims to supply, in some degree and
from the constructive point of view, what has hitherto seemed
most lacking, namely, a practical answer to the question how to
study literary models. How far the attempt has succeeded, can
be ascertained, of course, only by the test of actual study, being
an attempt hitherto for the most part untried. What lies on the
surface, as the most obvious feature of the book, is the ordered
and progressive character of the selections and of the annotations

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thereto, which begin with the simpler investigations and go on,
step by step, to what is more comprehensive and complex. It
may be noted further that each succeeding study investigates not
only the distinctive principles for which it is introduced, but what-
ever have been noted in selections preceding ; while also frequent
return is made to the re-examination of earlier selections, when-
ever the student has advanced far enough in the rhetoric to have
new principles to apply. And what needs especially to be ob-
served, as a preventive of mistake, is, that he who takes up these
studies with the idea of finding in the notes a body of information
about the text will be disappointed : the notes are intended rather
to elicit and direct study, and from beginning to end (to use the
phrase so often employed in the book) " pre-suppose a knowledge
of the rhetoric." They are just what they purport to be, studies ;
and study is the only way to master them.

This kind of annotation has been deliberately adopted, in spite
of some real disadvantages that inhere in it. It would have been
much easier to trace out in detail the various felicities of expres-
sion than to bring them out by means of questions ; it is often
hard so to shape a question as not to suggest the answer in the
very attempt to secure the study necessary thereto ; nor can the
student be trusted to find out so much for himself as could easily
have been found out for him and presented ready-made. But
would the other way, after all, have been so useful ? This book
is frankly committed to the conviction that it is much better to
discover a thing than to be told it, even though one does not
discover so much. And it aims so to promote the attitude of
research and study that when the student has found what these
notes guide him to, he may have the impulse and the ability to
go on and discover more. To this end — to rouse thought and
set it growing, if this may be — the form of annotation by ques-
tion and reference is chosen. It is worth while to compel
attention to the details of expression, if for no other object than
to secure the time spent in study. Many things can be worked
out by the student himself if he will only stop long enough;

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nay, if he will tarry a little and go to work rightly, he may make
his study of EngUsh as valuable a mental discipline as the study
of I^tin and Greek, — hard as this is to realize in the absence
of grammar and lexicon work, and in the universal breakneck
pace of reading that now obtains. A corresponding expendi-
ture of time, and a corresponding minuteness of attention, wisely
directed, would, I am sure, place English fully side by side, as a
disciplinary study, with the classic languages. But the first requi-
site is to call in the student's thought from the vague excursions
that the easy mother-tongue leaves it so free to make, and give it
something to do, something toward which the very time spent is
tigie gained. What Wordsworth found in the contemplation of
nature is equally needed, in these hurrying days, in the study of
literature, — " the harvest of a quiet eye."

Accordingly, the student of this book may sometimes be asked
questions whose answers are so obvious as to seem hardly worth
the delay ; but some time he will find, I am confident, that the
very attention necessary to consider them has in some degree
increased his insight and sharpened his literary sense. Besides,
no one can tell what questions here so easily resolved may not, on
occasions of his own fiiture work, be perplexing problems, requir-
ing for their solution all the keenness he can command.

Some of the questions herein asked may be too hard for the
student, in his present stage, to answer ; some indeed, appealing
perhaps to individual taste, may not be susceptible of an indubi-
table decision, one way or the other ; but the mere exercise of
thought thereon has its value, greater than we are apt to realize.
One large element in the study of literature is the development of
what may be called tact: the student comes to feel the rightness,
or the strength, or the felicity of an expression, and thus to justify
it. Such feeling often lies too deep to find a reason in words, and
yet it has all the certitude of a demonstration. It is of great
importance tliat this tact, this feeling, be well grounded ; not rest-
ing on whim, nor on merely individual standards, but on deep
and universal principle. This is one of the objects to which this

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book aspires to contribute ; its desire being, not to finish off the
student in rhetoric, but to open the gate and set him on the way
to those delights of literary study which are to be had in "private-
ness and retiring."

With the same object in view the book may sometimes direct
the student to subtle points of criticism not treated of in the
rhetoric. These may be caviare to the general, and yet be adapted
to find and bring out the elect. In all study of literature the best
and finest discoveries are only for those who have ears to hear;
may it not be worth while to make occasional appeal to such?

Yet with whatever is here attempted, it is not for a moment
claimed that this rhetorical analysis lays bare, or adequately inter-
prets, the secret life of literature. " There is something about the
best rhetoric which baffles the analysis of the critic, as life evades
the scalpel of the anatomist." Let this be confessed at the out-
set. To many, perhaps to the majority, the secret must remain
incommunicable; they have no ear for such music. But even
these will do better to learn something definite, albeit elemen-
tary, about literary laws, than to strain their immature critical
powers toward something that must of necessity be to them only
vague and luminously cloudy; while the elect few who by an
inborn yet educated tact come to feel the throbbing life of litera-
ture, will feel it all the more keenly and truly for knowing also
the prosaic constructive principles at the foundation, the prin-
ciples to which it is the lowly aim of this book to guide them.

Acknowledgments are due, and are hereby gratefully made, to
Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., for permission to copy selections
from Lowell and Hawthorne ; and to Mr. George William Curtis,
both for kindly placing at my disposal his oration on " The Public
Duty of Educated Men," and for the warm interest he has taken
in the general project of the book. Nor should I leave unmen-
tioned Mr. J. S. Cushing, the printer, whose taste speaks for itself,
and whose uniform kindness has made the mechanical preparation
of this volume a delight.

Amherst, January 7, 1889.

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On Choice of Words : Rhetoric, to page 48. — Bunyan, p. i ; De Quin-
cey, p. 8.

On Kinds of Diction : Rhetoric, to page 84. — Study Introductory to Fol-
lowing Selections, p. 17; Burke, p. 18; Thackeray, p. 24; Ruskin, p. 36.

On Figures of Speech: Rhetoric, to page 107. — Lowell, p. 48; Carlyle,
p. 56; Study of Figures in Previous Selections, p. 64.

On Fundamental Processes: Rhetoric, to page 171. — Huxley, p. 67;
Newman, p. 76; Study of Fundamental Processes in Previous Selections,
p. 86.

On the Sentence: Rhetoric, to page 192. — Hawthorne, p. 89; Matthew
Arnold, p. 97; Study of Sentences in Previous Selections, p. no.

On the Paragraph: Rhetoric, to page 214. — Macaulay, p. 114; Study
of Paragraphs in Previous Selections, p. 128.

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christian's fight with apollyon.

"The Style of Banyan is delightful to every reader, and invaluable as a
study to every person who ?dshes to obtain a wide command over the English
language. The vocabulary is the vocabulary of the common people. There
is not an expression, if we except a few technical terms of theology, which
would puzzle the rudest peasant. We have observed several pages which
do not contain a single word of more than two syllables. Yet no writer has
said more exactly what he meant to say. For magnificence, for pathos, for
vehement exhortation, for subtle disquisition, for every purpose of the poet, the
orator, and the divine, this homely dialect, the dialect of pUdn working men,
was perfectly sufficient. There is no book in our literature on which we would
so readily stake the fame of the old unpolluted English language, no book
which shows so well how rich that language is in its own proper wealth, and
how little it has been improved by all that it has borrowed." — Macaulay.

But now, in this Valley of Humiliation, poor Christian

was hard put to it ; for he had gone but a little way before

This Selection and the one following are studied for the manner in
which they illustrate Choice of Words; and presuppose a knowledge
of the Rhetoric as far as page 48.

To aid in estimating how the style of this extract accords with its
purpose, bear the following fects in mind: i. It is a simple narrative,
written by an unlearned man, for plain, common people. 2. The dic-
tion takes its coloring from the book in which Bunyan was most deeply
read, the Bible. 3. The Pilgrim's Progress, from which this selection
is taken, is an allegory (see Rhetoric, p. 94); from which fact we nat-
urally look to see many words and turns of expression determined or
influenced by the double sense that allegory contains.

Xdne 2. Hard put to it,— an idiom; see Rhet. p. 46, rule 14.
Why so called? — A little way, — what is the more formal and less

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he espied a foul fiend coming over the field to meet him :
his name is ApoUyon. Then did Christian begin to be

5 afraid, and to cast in his mind whether to go back or to
stand his ground But he considered again that he had
no armor for his back, and therefore thought that to turn
the back to him might give him the greater advantage with
ease to pierce him with his darts. Therefore he resolved

lo to venture and stand his ground ; for, thought he, had I
no more in mine eye than the saving of my life, 'twould be
the best way to stand.

So he went on, and Apollyon met him. Now the mon-
ster was hideous to behold : he was clothed with scales

IS like a fish (and they are his pride) ; he had wings like a
dragon, feet like a bear, and out of his belly came fire and
smoke ; and his mouth was as the mouth of a lion. When
he was come up to Christian, he beheld him with a disdain-
ful countenance, and thus began to question with him.

9o ApoL Whence come you ? and whither are you bound ?
Chr. I am come from the City of Destruction, which

is the place of all evil, and am going to the City of Zion.


idiomatic expression? Try the effect of rewriting the whole sentence
in moreleamed terms; is the style improved thereby? — 3. Espied,
what equivalent Latin derivative is more used now? — Foul, — how is
the choice of this word probably influenced by Mark ix. 25 ? — 5. What
idiom in this line? How is the same idea repeated in the next line?
See Rhet. p. 30, rule 2. — Modernize the idioms in 11. U, 12.

17. As. Note how the term of comparison is varied from like in
previous lines. Which of the two terms is more used with a verb, and
which with a noun? — 18. Waa come. Cf. 11. 21, 36. What equiv-
alent form of the verb is more used now? — Find a Latin equivalent
for diadsdnful.

20. The dialogue form is very frequent with Bunyan ; it is a mark
of the vivid imagination which led him to identify himself with the
feelings and thoughts of his characters. Note how natural it is for

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ApoL By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects ;
for all that country is mine, and I am the prince and god

Online LibraryJohn Franklin GenungHandbook of rhetorical analysis. Studies in style and invention. Designed to accompany the author's Practical elements of rhetoric → online text (page 1 of 25)