Declamation is the study of persuasive and effective public speaking. This study can make the difference between a stuttering and stammering unpersuasive speaker and someone who takes command of a room. They may have exactly the same information at their disposal. What makes the difference?
Quintilian, and J.S. Watson. Institutes of Oratory. Edited by Lee Honeycutt, 2010. Kindle Electronic Edition. Book II, Chapter 10.
The exercise of declamation is important in forming a rhetorician. It is, after all, practice in making the kind of speeches a student of rhetoric will practice. “The practice, however, has so degenerated through the fault of the teachers that the license and ignorance of declaimers have been among the chief causes that have corrupted eloquence” (Quintilian II.10.3). As a corrective, Quintilian urges use of subjects and situations which are as like real life settings as possible (Quintilian II.10.4). He makes reference to numerous settings which he considers to be of no value because they could never exist in life. Even though these student declamations are not for real situations, they should be pursued as if they were real, with the same style and intensity (Quintilian II.10.10). “Declamation, therefore, as it is an imitation of real pleadings and deliberations, ought closely to resemble reality, but, as it carries with it something of ostentation, to clothe itself in a certain elegance” (Quintilian II.10.12).
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