Imágenes de páginas

the composition may be re-written from beginning to end, and, most important of all, when completed is not too long for the teacher to read and criticise in the presence of the class.

Finally, the paragraph furnishes a natural introduction to work of a more difficult character. When the time comes for the writing of essays, the transition from the smaller unit to its larger analogue is made with facility. Upon this point we cannot do better than to quote the words of Professor Bain :

Adapting an old homely maxim, we may say, Look to the Paragraphs, and the Discourse will look to itself, for, although a discourse as a whole has a method or plan suited to its nature, yet the confining of each paragraph to a distinct topic avoids some of the worst faults of Composition ; besides which, he that fully comprehends the method of a paragraph will also comprehend the method of an entire work. Bain : Composition and Rhetoric, I. $ 178.

This book is an attempt to embody in a manual the ideas which have just been advanced, — to utilize this convenient element of discourse, this half-way house between the sentence and the essay, as a basis for a method of English composition. In Part I., following the natural order of treatment, the nature and laws of the paragraph are presented; the isolated paragraph, its structure and function, are discussed: and finally, considerable space is devoted to related paragraphs, that is, those which are combined into essays. · Part II. is a chapter on the theory of the paragraph intended for teachers and advanced students. In Part III. will be found copious materials for class-room work, – selected paragraphs, suggestions to teachers, lists of subjects for compositions (about two thousand in all), and helpful references of many kinds.

1 The hints and suggestions given on the following pages will, it is hoped, be found of especial interest to teachers : (in fine print) pp. 15, 16, 18, 24, 36, 39, 44, 58, 60, 68, 84, 85, 106; (in large print) pp. 119, 120, 172, 173, 174, 180, 182, 191, 202, 203, 212, 213, 255–259.

A general acknowledgment of the sources from which assistance has been received will be found on p. 106. For the ingenious and workable method of drill outlined in Appendix A 12 (pp. 119, 120), the authors are indebted to Dr. A. F. Lange, Associate Professor of English in the University of California.


In completion of the general plan of the book, and in deference to the wishes of many teachers who are using PARAGRAPH-WRITING as an elementary rhetoric, the authors have added to this revision, as Appendix H, a chapter on the Rhetoric of the Paragraph, in which will be found applications of the paragraph-idea to the sentence and to the constituent parts of the sentence so far as these demand especial notice. The new material thus provided, supplies, in the form of principles and illustrations, as much additional theory as the student of elementary rhetoric needs to master and apply in order to improve the details of his paragraphs in unity, clearness, and force.

Each of these three essentials is first presented as a requisite of the paragraph as a whole. It is then applied to the sentence and to the lesser articulations of thought within the sentence. Principles governing such matters as the choice of sentence-forms, the placement of clauses and phrases, and the minutiæ of composition, thus find their reason and explanation in the needs of the paragraph as the larger and determining unit.

The study of Elegance, or Beauty, as a distinct topic, is purposely omitted. Students need first of all to learn the beauty of unified thought and the beauty of clear statement. Through long practice of these excellences they may come, at a later stage of their study, to safe and sound ideas of beauty as a definite rhetorical principle; but until they reach that stage, attempts to teach them Elegance are only too likely to result in “fine writing,' exhibitions of crude taste, and the misconception that rhetoric, in one of its departments, deals largely in adornment and sentimentality.

Figures of speech are referred to only so far as their misuse hinders the attainment of unity, clearness, and force. Questions of word-usage are left to be answered by reference to the dictionary.

Appendix H is not an exercise in the correction of bad English. The groups of quotations given are intended, with the accompanying theory, to furnish sufficient material from which to deduce the principles that follow each group. The appendix may properly be introduced as supplementary text in connection with the chapter that closes on page 47.

References to Appendix H have been inserted in Appendix G 5 for the convenience of the student in revising and correcting errors that are marked in his paragraphs and essays.

In other respects, also, the book has been revised for this edition; but the changes in the text, while numerous, are too minute to deserve mention in detail. For most of these corrections and improvements the authors are indebted to teachers who are using the work in their classes. To these, and to all others who have been so kind as to offer suggestions, the authors wish to make here a general acknowledgment.

« AnteriorContinuar »