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A Discourse Being Introductory to his Course of Le

THE AUGUSTAN REPRINT SOCIETY

THOMAS SHERIDAN

A DISCOURSE

BEING INTRODUCTORY TO HIS COURSE OF LECTURES

ON

ELOCUTION AND THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

(1759)

_Introduction by_ G. P. MOHRMANN

PUBLICATION NUMBER 136 WILLIAM ANDREWS CLARK MEMORIAL LIBRARY UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES

1969

GENERAL EDITORS

William E. Conway, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_ George Robert Guffey, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Maximillian E. Novak, _University of California, Los Angeles_

ASSOCIATE EDITOR

David S. Rodes, _University of California, Los Angeles_

ADVISORY EDITORS

Richard C. Boys, _University of Michigan_ James L. Clifford, _Columbia University_ Ralph Cohen, _University of Virginia_ Vinton A. Dearing, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Arthur Friedman, _University of Chicago_ Louis A. Landa, _Princeton University_ Earl Miner, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Samuel H. Monk, _University of Minnesota_ Everett T. Moore, _University of California, Los Angeles_ Lawrence Clark Powell, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_ James Sutherland, _University College, London_ H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., _University of California, Los Angeles_ Robert Vosper, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

CORRESPONDING SECRETARY

Edna C. Davis, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

EDITORIAL ASSISTANT

Mary Kerbret, _William Andrews Clark Memorial Library_

INTRODUCTION

Thomas Sheridan (1718-1788) devoted his life to enterprises within the sphere of spoken English, and although he achieved more than common success in all his undertakings, it was his fate to have his reputation eclipsed by more famous contemporaries and eroded by the passage of time. On the stage, he was compared favorably with Garrick, but his name lives in the theatre only through his son Richard Brinsley. A leading theorist of the elocutionary movement, his pronouncing dictionary ranks after the works of Dr. Johnson and John Walker, and his entire contribution dimmed when the movement fell into disrepute.[1]

Sheridan attained his greatest renown through his writing and lecturing on elocution, and the fervor with which he pursued the study of tones, looks, and gestures in speaking animates _A Discourse Delivered in the Theatre at Oxford, in the Senate-House at Cambridge, and at Spring-Garden in London_. This lecture, "Being Introductory to His Course of Lectures on Elocution and the English Language," displays both the man and the elocutionary movement. Throughout the work, Sheridan exhibits his missionary zeal, his dedication to "a visionary hypothesis that dazzled his mind."[2] At the same time, he presents the basic principles of elocutionary theory and reveals the forces that made the movement a dominant pattern in English rhetoric.


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