Loci Critici: Passages Illustrative of Critical Theory and Practice from Aristotle Downwards

Loci Critici: Passages Illustrative of Critical Theory and Practice from Aristotle Downwards

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Loci Critici: Passages Illustrative of Critical Theory and Practice from Aristotle Downwards

Loci Critici: Passages Illustrative of Critical Theory and Practice from Aristotle Downwards

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The present volume is one of the most strictly practical purpose, and its compiler lays claim to nothing beyond mere "porter's work" -- except in the one point, not common to all porters, of having perceived that the work was needed. During the last few years the study of Rhetoric -- long disused almost entirely in England, and pursued with somewhat altered intent in America -- has been revived to some extent in the former country, and to a very large extent, I am informed, in the latter. In particular, so far as England is concerned, the recent institution of Honours Schools of English Literature in the newer Universities almost necessarily involved the direction of study to the history and principles of criticism. I was enabled, some eight or nine years ago, to take part in the institution of such a School in the Victoria University, and a little later to undertake the charge of one which had been just formed at Edinburgh by my honoured predecessor, Professor Masson, and by his and my colleague, Mr. Gregory Smith, Lecturer in English at that University.

The resumption of rhetorical-critical studies, however, brought with it, in the changed circumstances of education, a new and very real difficulty. In the old days of rhetorical teaching, every student knew Latin with more or less thoroughness; and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries most knew some Greek. This last tongue has become disastrously strange at the present day to many -- probably to the large majority -- of the students likely to "take" English: while I fear it would be sanguine to expect that all of them should read Latin with the current ease which enables a man to extract the meaning of his author without formal . . .

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