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Written by JulieW
(5/7/2007 10:03 a.m.)
I thought you might appriciate being able to read a few page from this moralising conduct book , aimed at young women, in order to appriciate both Mr Collins and Lydia's attitudes to, well,certianly reading material and, perhaps, to life in general ;-)
Here is a scan from my copy of the 1808 edition of his work, of part of his sermon VII regarding his advice to young women on reading which I thought appropriate :
And here is a translation for those who find it hard to read:
Having touched on this head, I will take leave to remark by the way, that nothing, as I apprehend, can be more erroneous than to begin the study of what may be termed the Art of Reading with poetry chiefly. For by the flow and harmony of the numbers, a learner is carried insensibly into the repetition of these musical tones, that chance to seize the ear with particular delight ; from which the voice, once got into the same strain, cannot without a struggle persuade itself to break away; a principle source of the evil of monotony, where it has not been contraccd by bad example, and where the sense of an author is understood or attended to. Where it is not, the proper emphasis cannot be expected.
Now to prevent or remedy this prevailing evil, the most likely method, I Conceive, would be to begin with frequently reading aloud those productions in prose of which the style is plain and easy, such as unadorned Narrative, short Stories, Familiar Epistles ; but principally those that approach nearest to the language of conversation, such as Dialogues, and the best Dramatic Writings ; mixing for a considerable time nothing that is versified, and endeavouring to support the voice with flrmness and simplicity, till you have formed a habit of so doing. Then by slow and almost imperceptible progression, you should advance to what is more varied, rhetorical, and raised ; such as Allegories, Orations, Moral and Religious Discourses, and Ensays of the pathetic kind, together with the most beautiful and elevated parts of Holy Writ ; keeping to these, till your voice has acquired flexibiity, expression, and energy. After repeated and patient efforts in this way, you may proceed with success to reading and reciting pieces of poetry, in different styles ; setting out with those where there is least, and rising gradually to those where there is most of the tender, the impassioned, and the sublime. Need I add, that all this should be practised in the frequent hearing, and under the kind animadversion, of an experienced judge?
But perhaps you think the practice too laborious and troublesome. Do ye? Go, thou trifler, and be ashamed of thy folly.-To neglect the study of thy native English, the skilful use of which, joined to sentiment and knowledge, would render thy conversation charming; and yet contentedly to puzzle thy silly head with learning a little imperfect French, which it is a hundred to one if ever thou shalt have occasion to use-how preposterous and futile! To the language last named I am no enemy
I only blame its occupying so large a place in the female education of this country. For women of rank the fashion has made it necessary. But what can be more ridiculous than to see our city girls, not excepting the daughters of plain tradesmen and honest mechanics, taught for years together, at great expense, a smattering of that which soon after they leave the boarding school is generally forgotten ;. while they are left ignorant of the superior beauties and just pronunciation of their mothertongue?
I mentioned the exercise of reciting verses.With relation to this, I would only say, that I do not wish a young woman to indulge it in any company-that is not very private and chosen indeed;how much soever it is to be desired, that she should store her memory with some of the most select sentiments, and striking descriptions, from the best writers both in verse and prose.
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