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MAHON, M. Wade

Fall 2001, pages 67-88

The Rhetorical Value of Reading Aloud in Thomas Sheridan's Theory of Elocution

Abstract: Although viewed as problematic and strange by many scholars, the elocutionary theories of Thomas Sheridan deserve more scholarly attention because of their unique understanding of the relationships between writing, oral reading, performance, and literary consumption. In contrast to Hugh Blair's emphasis on silent reading and tasteful (and passive) appreciation of literature, Sheridan concentrates on tasteful (and active) interpretation of literature through oral performance. Sheridan's theories complicate our understanding of eighteenth-century rhetoric, its relationship to "literature," and its lasting effects on educational practices.
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