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John Bright’s Diction.

Many and many of the best known passages in Bright’s speeches (says George VV. Smalley in the New York ‘ Tribune ’) might be quoted as splendid examples of purity in diction. It is not to rhetorical ornamentation that they owe their effect, but to the absence of it. No diction is more perfect; none would be more impossible to imitate ; it seems tho natural expression of the thought of the speaker. It is, of course, not natural; it is the results of immense pains. Bright made no secret of his methods. He almost never spoke off hand. He prepared carefully and used notes freely. The framework of the speech was put together like a mosaic; passages were written out and committed to memory, Carl Schurz will recollect hearing Bright himself discuss and explain his own method one night at dinner. Others were there whose authority in such matters has weight. There were, I think, no two opinions. Bright, at any rate, thought no speech could be too fully wrought out in the speaker’s mind in advance of delivery. He dwelt on the difficulty of dovetailing the written passages into the fabric so that none should find the joints, and he quoted Brougham as a good instance of an orator who failed to conceal the art with which his speeches were constructed.

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Bibliographic details

John Bright’s Diction., Issue 8027, 2 October 1889

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John Bright’s Diction. Issue 8027, 2 October 1889

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