« PreviousContinue »
BY HUGH BLAIR, D.D. F.R.S. E.
ONE OF THE MINISTERS OF THE HIGH CHURCH, AND PROFESSOR OF RHETORIC
PRINTED BY JAMES AND JOHN HARPER,
FOR MESSRS. E. DUYCKINCK, COLLINS & HANNAY, COLLINS & CO..
E. BLISS & E. WHITE, AND WILLIAM A. BARTOW.
Transfer from Circ. Dept
THE following LECTURES were read in the University of Edinburgh for twenty-four years. The publication of them, at present, was not altogether a matter of choice. Imperfect copies of them, in manuscript, from notes taken by students who heard them read, were first privately handed about; and afterward frequently exposed to public sale. When the author saw them circulate so currently, as even to be quoted in print,* and found himself often threatened with surreptitious publications of them, he judged it to be high time that they should proceed from his own hand, rather than come into public view under some very defective and erroneous form.
They were originally designed for the initiation of youth into the study of Belles Lettres, and of Composition. With the same intention they are now published; and therefore, the form of Lectures, in which they were at first composed, is still retained. The author gives them to the world, neither as a work wholly original, nor as a compilation from the writings of others. On every subject contained in them, he has thought for himself. He consulted his own ideas and reflections: and a great part of what will be found in these Lectures is entirely his own. At the same time, he availed himself of the ideas and reflections of others, as far as he thought them proper to be adopted. To proceed in this manner, was his duty as a public professor. It was incumbent on him, to convey to his pupils all the knowledge that could improve them; to deliver not merely what was new, but what might be useful, from whatever quarter it came. He hopes, that to such as are studying to cultivate their taste, to form their style, or to prepare themselves for public speaking or composition, his Lectures will afford a more comprehensive view of what relates to these subjects, than, as far as he knows, is to be regeeived from any one book in our language.
* Biographia Britannica, Article ADDISON.
In order to render his work of greater service, he has generally referred to the books which he consulted, as far as he remembers them; that the readers might be directed to any farther illustration which they afford. But as such a length of time has elapsed since the first composition of these Lectures, he may, perhaps, have adopted the sentiments of some author into whose writings he had then looked, without now remembering whence he derived them.
In the opinions which he has delivered concerning such a variety of authors, and of literary matters, as come under his consideration, he cannot expect that all his readers will concur with him. The subjects are of such a nature, as allow room for much diversity of taste and sentiment: and the author will respectfully submit to the judgment of the public.
Retaining the simplicity of the lecturing style, as best fitted for conveying instruction, he has aimed, in his language, at no more than perspicuity. If, after the liberties which it was necessary for him to take, in criticising the style of the most eminent writers in our language, his own style shall be thought open to reprehension, all that he can say is, that his book will add one to the many proofs already afforded to the world, of its being much easier to give instruction, than to set example.
V. Beauty, and other pleasures of taste
VI. Rise and progress of language
VII. Rise and progress of language, and of writing
IX. Structure of language-English tongue
X. Style--Perspicuity and precision
XIII. Structure of sentences-Harmony
XIV. Origin and nature of figurative language
XVII. Comparison, Antithesis, Interrogation, Exclamation, and
XVIII. Figurative Language-General Characters of Style-
Diffuse, Concise-Feeble, Nervous-Dry, Plain, Neat,
XIX. General characters of Style-Simple, Affected, Vehe-
ment-Directions for forming a proper style
XX. Critical examination of the Style of Mr. Addison, in No.
XXI. Critical examination of the Style in No. 412 of the Spec-
XXII. Critical examination of the Style in No. 413 of the Spec-
XXIII. Critical examination of the Style in No. 414 of the Spec-
XXIV. Critical examination of the Style in a Passage of Dean
XXV. Eloquence, or Public Speaking-History of Eloquence-
XXVI. History of Eloquence continued-Roman Eloquence-