Elocutionists saw themselves as teaching the "art of reading," the central goal of which was for readers to accurately interpret and express the emotional content of a text through reading aloud. Thomas Sheridan and James Burgh, in particular, provide good examples of how elocutionary principles were applied to interpret specific literary passages through oral interpretation. Elocutionary discourse was deeply invested in the culture of sensibility, as Paul Goring has shown, and illustrates the changing cultural understandings of emotion in this period. In particular, elocutionary theory represents a clear move away from Aristotelian or rhetorical views of how emotion functions in communication toward a more modern "natural" or psychological theory of emotion. The discourse of elocution, in its concentration on textual interpretation, suggests that shifting concepts of emotion are connected in significant ways to the growing dominance of print literacy and the modern educational practices that emerged in response.


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pp. 321-335
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