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truth is one, and correct reasoning must always be correct, the ways of communicating truth are many.
Being the art of communication by language, Rhetoric applies to any subject matter that can be treated in words, but has no subject-matter peculiar to itself. It does not undertake to furnish a person with something to say; but it does undertake to tell him how best to say that with which he has provided himself.
“Style,” says Coleridge, “is the art of conveying the meaning appropriately and with perspicuity, whatever that meaning may be;" but some meaning there must be: for, “ in order to form a good style, the primary rule and condition is, not to attempt to express ourselves in language before we thoroughly know our own meaning."
Part I. of this treatise discusses and illustrates the general principles which apply to written or spoken discourse of every kind. Part II. deals with those principles which apply, exclusively or especially, to ... [the several] kinds of prose writing which seem to require separate treatment.
While engaged in revising this book, I have seen no occasion to modify in any important respect what was said in the preface to the first edition. I still believe that the function of rhetoric is not to provide the student of composition with materials for thought, nor yet to lead him to cultivate style for style's sake, but to stimulate and train his powers of expression, — to enable him to say what he has to say in appropriate language. I still believe that rhetoric should be studied at school and in college, not as a science, but as an art with practical ends in view.
By supplying deficiencies that time has disclosed, making rough places smooth, and adapting the treatment of each topic to present needs, I have tried to make the book more serviceable to advanced students of English Composition. From Book I. of Part I. some elementary matters have been omitted, but so much material has been added that the total number of pages is increased; in Book II. of Part I. the old material has been rearranged and new material has been introduced. In Part II. still greater changes have been made: Description and Narration, which were originally treated together, are now treated in separate chapters and with greater fulness; the chapters on Argument have been thrown into one and entirely rewritten; and a chapter on Exposition has been added.
For valuable assistance in the revision of this volume, I am indebted to Miss E. A. Withey and Miss A. F. Rowe. I have also to thank several of my colleagues for contributions of various kinds, and especially Professor L. B. R. Briggs and Professor G. L. Kittredge, through whose hands the proof-sheets have passed, and by whose learning, acumen, and unsparing criticism I have greatly profited.
A. S. H. 1895.