Senior course of English composition - by John Collinson Nesfield - PDF ebook

Senior course of English composition 

Senior course of English composition
Senior course of English composition


1. Main Characteristics of good Composition. A good style, as the late Fitzgerald Hall defines it in one of his posthumous letters, consists in " saying in the most perspicuous and succinct way what one thoroughly understands, and saying it so naturally that no effort is apparent" This extract mentions three of the qualities of good composition, viz.

 (1) Perspicuity, or "saying in the most perspicuous war what one thoroughly understands " ;(2) Brevity, or " saying it in the most succinct way " ; (3) Simplicity, or " saying it so naturally that no effort is apparent" Another writer, Mr Leslie Stephen, in the course of criticism on the writing? of Ruskin, has expressed himself as follows: " The cardinal virtue of a good style is that every sentence should be alive to its fingers' ends. 

There should be no cumbrous verbiage; no barren commonplace to fill the interstices of thought, and no mannerism simulating emotion by fictitious emphasis. Ruskin has that virtue in the highest degree" (National Review). Here a new quality is introduced Impressiveness, Energy or Vivacity, " the sentence should be alive to its fingers' ends."

 What follows has reference to brevity and naturalness or simplicity, and these have been mentioned already in the previous quotation. An older writer, Blair (born in 1718), has expressed himself as follows on the same subject: " All the qualities of a good style may be ranged under two heads Perspicuity and Ornament. For all that can possibly be required of language is to convey our ideas clearly to the minds of others, and at the same time in such a dress as by pleasing and interesting, them shall effectually strengthen the impressions which we seek to make.

 When both these ends are answered, we certainly accomplish every purpose for which we are writing our discourse." Here a new quality is introduced Ornament, which the same writer afterwards discusses under the name of " harmony of sentences," but which is generally known as Euphony. Another writer, Whately (born. 1787), discusses the subject of composition under three main headings- " Perspicuity," " Energy," and " Elegance or Beauty."

 He shows, too, how energy may be promoted by conciseness; and under the heading of Elegance, he deals mainly with Euphony " a smooth and flow of words in. respect of the sound of the sentences" (Part III. ch. iii. 1). Bain, in his work on Composition and Rhetoric, proceeds on much the same lines as Whately, but draws a distinction between impressiveness of language, which appeals to the understanding, and impressiveness of picture, which appeals to the imagination; and he gives to the latter the more appropriate name of Picuresqueness.

 If we sum up the views contained in the above extracts or references, we find that there are six main qualities of composition: 1. Perspicuity clearness of diction . . . Chap. II. 2. Simplicity ease or naturalness of diction. III. 3. Succinctness brevity of diction . . . , IV. 4. Impressiveness energy or force of diction. V. 5. Euphony harmony or smoothness of diction. VI. 6. Picturesqueness graphic diction VII. These six chapters are preceded by an initial chapter on the Figures of Speech, which have been discussed first, as they lie at the basis of all composition. It will be of great help to a beginner to know what they are and what use can be made of them for the purposes described in the subsequent chapters.

Some Contents;

PART I. THE QUALITIES OF COMPOSITION.
CHAP. PAGE
I. FIGURES OF SPEECH 3
II. PERSPICUITY 19
Section 1. Grammatical Precautions ... 20
2. The Obscure 22
3. The Double Meaning .... 28
Exercise 32
III. SIMPLICITY 40
Exercise ....... .45
IV. BREVITY ... 48
Exercises 58
V. IMPRESSIVKSBSS 65
Section 1. Emphasis by Construction ... 66
2. Emphasis by Position .... 68
3. Emphasis by Repetition .... 74
4. Rhetorical Devices 77
Exercises ......... 80
VI. EUPHONY 91
Exercise ......... 95
VII. PlCTURE-SQUENESS. 102
PART II. ESSAY-WRITING.
VIII. STRUCTURE OF SENTENCE 107
Section 1. Order of Phrases and Clauses . . . 107
,, 2. Sentences Periodic and Loose . . . 110
,, 3. Unity of Sentence 113
Exercises ......... 117
IX. STRUCTURE OF PARAGRAPH . ... 123
X. ESSAY-WRITING. 133
Section 1. Essay-writing in general . . . . 133
,, 2. Essays for Reproduction . . . . 137
(The Baronial Rising in the Reign
of John ..... 139
The Life of Alfred the Great. 144
The Indian Buffalo . . .149
The River Nile .... 152
The Suez Canal .... 157
Practical Wisdom . . . 161
Reflective. -{ Stamp-collecting . . . 164
[ The Influence of Newspapers. 168
C Mountains as Rain-producers. 173
I Growth of the Daily Press: the
Expository. -| Causes 176
I The Cabinet: History and Con-
institution 182
(The Anglo-Japanese Alliance. 188
Conscription: Necessary or not? 192
State-patronage: Effect on Genius 197
Political Differences: Effect on
Private Relations . . . 202
Section 3. Subjects for Essays, with Notes . . 205
Narrative 13 Subjects 207
Descriptive 20 Subjects 221
Reflective 27 Subjects 246
Expository 22 Subjects 276
Argumentative 18 Subjects .... 307
Section 4. Subjects for Essays, without Notes. . 321
Narrative 138 Subjects 323
Descriptive 166 Subjects 326
Reflective 124 Subjects 328
Expository 174 Subjects . . . . .332
Argumentative 67 Subjects .... 337
APPENDIX. SUBJECTS SET IN PUBLIC EXAMINATIONS.
Royal Military College, Sandhurst 339
Royal Military Academy, Woolwich ..... 339
Sandhurst and Woolwich jointly 340
Oxford Local Examinations (Senior) ..... 343
Cambridge Local Examinations (Senior) ..... 343

the book details :
  • Author: John Collinson Nesfield 
  • Publication date:1903
  • Company: London, MacMillan

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