Friday is for Rhetoric! What about recitation? When is it appropriate for students to engage in reciting works of literature, history, and poetry? Is there benefit in reciting one’s own work? Quintilian discusses all these matters.
Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book II, Chapter 7.
In this brief chapter Quintilian makes a compelling argument for students to recite works of other writers. While there is benefit in the practice of reading and reciting what we have prepared,, there is greater gain from working with others’ speeches. It exercises the memory (Quintilian II.7.3) and prepares students with the ideas and illustrations of superior writers (Quintilian II.7.4). While there is benefit in reciting one’s own work, finding other, superior, examples is of great benefit.
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