Historical Reprints Self Improvement/Skills Delsarte System of Oratory

Delsarte System of Oratory

Delsarte System of Oratory
Catalog # SKU3765
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Francois Delsarte, L'Abbe Delaumosne, Mme. Angelique Arnaud, Marie Geraldy, Alfred Giraudet, Francis A. Durivage, Hector Berlioz
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System of Oratory

The Complete Work of L'Abbé Delaumosne
The Complete Work of Mme. Angélique Arnaud
All the Literary Remains of François Delsarte
The Lecture and Lessons Given by
Mme. Marie Géraldy (Delsarte's Daughter)
Articles by Alfred Giraudet,
Francis A. Durivage
and Hector Berlioz

François Delsarte
L'Abbé Delaumosne
Mme. Angélique Arnaud
Marie Géraldy
Alfred Giraudet
Francis A. Durivage
Hector Berlioz

Orators, you are called to the ministry of speech. You have fixed your choice upon the pulpit, the bar, the tribune or the stage. You will become one day, preacher, advocate, lecturer or actor; in short, you desire to embrace the orator's career. I applaud your design. You will enter upon the noblest and most glorious of vocations. Eloquence holds the first rank among the arts.

Print size, 13 point font, Illustrated



Who can define the omnipotence of speech? With a few brief words God called the universe from nothingness; speech falling from the glowing lips of the Apostles, has changed the face of the earth. The current of opinion follows the prestige of speech, and to-day, as ever, eloquence is universal queen. We need feel no surprise that, in ancient times, the multitude uncovered as Cicero approached, and cried: "Behold the orator!"

Would you have your speech bear fruit and command honor? Two qualities are needful: virtue and a knowledge of the art of oratory. Cicero has defined the orator as a good man of worth: Vir bonus, dicendi peritus.

Then, above all, the orator should be a man of worth. Such a man will make it his purpose to do good; and the good is the true end of oratorical art. In truth, what is art? Art is the expression of the beautiful in ideas; it is the true. Plato says the beautiful is the splendor of the true. What is art? It is the beautiful in action. It is the good. According to St. Augustine, the beautiful is the lustre of the good.

Finally, what is art? It is the beautiful in the harmonies of nature. Galen, when he had finished his work on the structure of the human body, exclaimed: "Behold this beautiful hymn to the glory of the Creator!"

What, then, is the true, the beautiful, the good? We might answer, it is God. Then virtue and the glory of God should be the one end of the orator, of the good man. A true artist never denies God. Eloquence is a means, not an end. We must not love art for its own sake, that would be idolatry. Art gives wings for ascent to God. One need not pause to contemplate his wings.

Art is an instrument, but not an instrument of vanity or complaisance. Truth, alas! compels us to admit that eloquence has also the melancholy power of corrupting souls. Since it is an art, it is also a power which must produce its effect for good or evil.

It has been said that the fool always finds a greater fool to listen to him. We might add that the false, the ugly and the vicious have each a fibre in the human heart to serve their purpose. Then let the true orator, the good man, armed with holy eloquence, seek to paralyze the fatal influence of those orators who are apostles of falsehood and corruption.

Poets are born, orators are made: nascuntur poetae, fiunt oratores. You understand why I have engraved this maxim on the title-page of my work. It contains its raison d'être, its justification. Men are poets at birth, but eloquence is an art to be taught and learned. All art presupposes rules, procedures, a mechanism, a method which must be known.

We bring more or less aptitude to the study of an art, but every profession demands a period more or less prolonged. We must not count upon natural advantages; none are perfect by nature. Humanity is crippled; beauty exists only in fragments. Perfect beauty is nowhere to be found; the artist must create it by synthetic work.

You have a fine voice, but be certain it has its defects. Your articulation is vicious, and the gestures upon which you pride yourself, are, in most cases, unnatural. Do not rely upon the fire of momentary inspiration. Nothing is more deceptive. The great Garrick said: "I do not depend upon that inspiration which idle mediocrity awaits." Talma declared that he absolutely calculated all effects, leaving nothing to chance. While he recited the scene between Augustus and Cinna, he was also performing an arithmetical operation. When he said:

"Take a chair, Cinna, and in everything
Closely observe the law I bid you heed"--

he made his audience shudder.

The orator should not even think of what he is doing. The thing should have been so much studied, that all would seem to flow of itself from the fountain.

But where find this square, this intellectual compass, that traces for us with mathematical precision, that line of gestures beyond which the orator must not pass? I have sought it for a long time, but in vain. Here and there one meets with advice, sometimes good but very often bad. For example, you are told that the greater the emotion, the stronger should be the voice. Nothing is more false. In violent emotion the heart seems to fill the larynx and the voice is stifled. In all such counsels it behooves us to search out their foundation, the reason that is in them, to ask if there is a type in nature which serves as their measure.

We hear a celebrated orator. We seek to recall, to imitate his inflections and gestures. We adopt his mannerisms, and that is all. We see these mannerisms everywhere, but the true type is nowhere.

Softcover, 8½ x 11, 342 pages
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