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possible, and sometimes indulged in, to strain after hidden meanings and subtle analogies quite apart from the main line of the author's movement ; yet the real danger lies in not reading out of the discourse the full meaning of the author. Some say that Shakespeare did not intend what people accredit to him ; but if so he must have credit still for a wonderful knack of suggesting to other people what he himself did not think of. Admitting for the exceptional few the habit of outdoing Shakespeare, Goethe, Dante, and the like, yet most need fear only limping behind their leader. In any case the reader must get out of the discourse all there is in it for him ; and an author may well receive full credit, be it for good luck or wise design. If the reader can fairly read the universe out of the writing it is only fair to suppose that the universe somehow got into it by the hand of the writer. However this may be, the reading world will continue to class certain writings as masterpieces on the basis of the breadth and depth of the effect produced ; and the authors of such writings as masters because, by conscious or unconscious wisdom, they planned and executed them.
The highest effect is not always desired, and discourse is good if it reach the end sought, whether it be the passing information of conversation or the most powerful influence in the field of thought, art, or eloquence. So that while discourse is judged in effectiveness to the end sought, it cannot be indifferent to the kind of end sought. In the first place, the end must be a worthy one. A discourse may be well adapted to produce a bad effect, which considered merely in its adaptation to the end desired is a good discourse, but a bad one when taken in its entirety. A bootblack can excel a prime minister in saying some things effectively, but might fall far below him in the value of the thing said and the change wrought in the mind
this scope, the value of the effect produced is the absolute standard of rhetorical criticism. Compare the Sermon on the Mount with, “It snowed yesterday, and to-day the sleighing is good.” Both are well adapted to the end sought, but differ infinitely in the effect produced.
Thus effectiveness may be considered merely as a quality of the means used, or as a quality of the change produced in the mind addressed. It is possible to approve and admire the finished oration and at the same time condemn its effect on the audience. In fact, the efficient and fascinating means may be the very instruments for beguiling unwary auditors into the acceptance of vicious theories and the adoption of an evil course of conduct. The demagogue needs to use more attractive and, in a sense, more effective means than does a statesman. But rhetorical laws must hold discourse responsible for more than mere efficiency to an indifferent or evil result. The efficiency of a discourse is measured by its real value to the mind addressed. If the tendency is evil, the greater the effectiveness the worse for the discourse. Hence effectiveness is measured both by the qual
ity and the quantity of the change produced in the mind of the recipient. At least rhetorical skill which conflicts with ethical laws is to be reprobated rather than praised. Vile literature deserves no consideration from the rhetorician, further than a public scourging from an outraged moral sense. Discourse, by efficient means, must seriously and honestly seek a worthy aim — must seek to produce a change in the mind addressed for the good of that mind. Hence effectiveness, announced at the outset as the ultimate law of discourse, when properly limited becomes an efficiency which includes the end, and as the law now stands it requires that discourse be an efficient means to a worthy end. It is not only a question of saying the thing well, but whether the thing said is worth saying and what degree of worth can it claim.
Before dismissing this topic it would be well for the student, by way of further illustration and emphasis, to compare the value of a wide variety of discourses from the recent conversation and current newspaper topic to the sermon, the poem, and the political oration.
CONDITIONS OF EFFECTIVENESS.
From the foregoing the prime condition of effectiveness is obvious at once as, —
The Author or the Interpreter Himself. — No one can write beyond himself, — produce an effect deeper, truer, and more potent than his own life. The compass and power of a writer limit absolutely the com
pass and power of the writing. To prepare to speak and write with influence involves the whole problem of character and culture, as Quintilian well understood in relation to the orator ; for in his “ Institutes of Oratory” he treats comprehensively the whole subject of education, emphasizing continually that the orator is first a wise and virtuous man. As he keeps the man back of the orator, so must the man be kept back of effective speech of whatever purpose. Wealth of knowledge and conviction of duty are vastly more essential to purposes of effective utterance than are laws of syntax and rhetoric. One cannot become a journalist by studying rules of editorial style and journalism. This can be accomplished only by a long course of training to alert and comprehensive thought, and to the power of a quick application of a sound political and social philosophy to everyday life. It is character, wisdom, and wealth of life, and not homiletics, which fit for pulpit eloquence. The study of poetics cannot supply the inspiration and inner grasp of things necessary to poetic construction. Skill in speaking and writing come not by application of rhetorical devices, but by a full, active, and versatile life. The metaphor is a good rhetorical instrument, but it must be born in the writing and not made and applied to it. In the stress of composition and in the exigency of the moment the figure springs forth winged for its flight and charged with its message. Weighty and forcible utterance cannot be gotten at from the outside, but spring from the weight and force of the life which makes the utterance. The whole character and life are necessary to each fit word and sentence; and to that finer rhetorical stamp which gives them currency as universal as life. Milton said that for him to write an epic poem required that he make his life an epic poem. Not out of rhetorical maxims but out of the heart the mouth speaketh.
The student must, therefore, not come to the task of seeking skill in discourse with any hope of reaching it by specific and short-cut methods ; but by that profound and universal preparation which takes care of all the issues of life. Often the young man with a meagre education, but with ambition for a literary career, seeks a special course in rhetoric and literature, expecting to be shown the knack of successful writing and speaking ; just as the illiterate novice in elocution seeks the tricks and finishing touches for pronouncing literary masterpieces by attendance on a school of oratory; or as a barren soul vainly hopes, by a knowledge of notes and practice of nimble touches on the key-board, to compose symphonies and conduct orchestras.
What is really needed is a deep, an all-sided culture. Mathematics, science, history, and the wealth of the world's literature must store the life and illumine the soul for any special literary task which the writer may undertake. Rhetorical study has its special function ; but that excessive faith in its precepts which leads to neglect of universal culture as the true source of rhetorical power will defeat the true aim of rhetoric itself. Quintilian says that Cicero “frequently declares that he owed less to the schools of the rhetori