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A “LADIES' READER” adapted to the tastes of advanced and intelligent pupils is a want so generally acknowledged by Teachers, that the attempt to supply this need has been pressed upon me rather as a necessity, than from any desire to increase the number of Elocutionary Text Books.
With the young, Elocution must be rendered an attractive study, or it is at best INEFFECTIVE in its results. Examples for practice must be varied and interesting in their character, or they will not command the attention and sympathies of Pupils: and the selections must afford illustrations of all the varieties and modifications of Elocutionary expression, or the work will be comparatively valueless, in the hands of the best Instructors of the Art. An excellence that shall be unmistakable in the literary and poetic character of the selections must be combined with an interest equally sustained in the Pieces themselves.
Attractiveness and instructiveness are the two essentials which I have endeavored to unite in the present work. A wide field of literature has been embraced in my choice of subjects. The most approved specimens of standard authors have been used, a large portion of which have never before been introduced into “School Readers”—and these have been chosen and arranged with a due regard to the development of a purely natural and impressive method of delivery. I have also provided a rich and varied collection of Poetic examples for practice in Modulation, and emotional expression. At the same time I have not neglected a phase of the Art which may be characterized as the “ Colloquial style,”
and which, in view of its importance as a means of really and practically enlarging the enjoyments of the Family Circle, deserves a more than generally admitted prominence. From these peculiar features of the work, I venture to anticipate its welcome reception in the Social Reading Circle, although its specific destination is intended for a Text Book in our higher Ladies' Classes in Schools.
I need scarcely add that I have carefully revised each Selection, so as to make the entire work perfectly unexceptionable in its tone; I have studiously avoided, also, any sectional or sectarian tendencies in my choice of selections. A brief compendium of Elocutionary Instruction is prefixed to the work, comprising all the really needful rules of the Art; which, from its simplicity and directness, will, I trust, be found acceptable and useful both to Teachers and Pupils.
JNO. W. S. HOWS.
5 Cottage Place, New York,
June 9, 1859.