Public Speech and the Culture of Public Life in the Age of by Joseph Meisel

By Joseph Meisel

By means of the final a long time of the 19th century, extra humans have been making extra speeches to bigger numbers in a greater diversity of venues than at any prior time. This publication argues recognizably glossy public existence was once created in Victorian Britain mostly throughout the instrumentality of public speech. laying off new mild at the careers of a number of the most crucial figures of the Victorian period and past, together with Gladstone, Disraeli, Sir Robert Peel, John shiny, Joseph Chamberlain, Winston Churchill, Lloyd George, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and Canon Liddon, the ebook lines the ways that oratory got here to occupy a valuable place within the belief and perform of Victorian public lifestyles. now not a examine of rhetoric or a party of significant oratory, the ebook stresses the social advancements that resulted in the creation and intake of those speeches.

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In the case of individuals who were active in more than one career area (e. g. someone who was both a barrister and an MP, or someone who was both a clergyman and headmaster of a school), I have attempted to classify them according to what appears to have been the main occupation of their lives. As table .  shows, the presidents of both Unions went into the group of careers I have defined as public in virtually equal proportion—threefourths of the total. Within the public group, Cambridge has a higher proportion of lawyers, and Oxford a higher proportion of politicians.

In the light of Gladstone’s death, Smith rose and moved that the Union adjourn. His speech on that occasion is justly considered a model of the memorial panegyric, and rewards reading in full. It said in part: Nearly seventy years, Sir, have passed since Mr. Gladstone sat in the chair you fill to-night. He enjoyed, in the discharge of your office, a wealth of contemporary reputation to which I conceive that none of his successors has even approximately attained, and during those seventy years all parties in this house have admitted him with ready assent the most illustrious ornament in the annals of the Society.

This is not to say that the relationship between Gladstone and the Union was an uncomplicated one. For a start, Gladstone’s political connection with the University itself proved to be problematic. From  to —that is, during the period of his political transformation from Peelite Tory to Liberal—Gladstone sat as one of the two MPs for the University of Oxford. 54 In addition to specific points of friction (such as his  vote to remove Jewish disabilities), sections of the University constituency (Oxford MAs) reacted very unfavorably to the drift of Gladstone’s politics, 30 / s c h o o l s f o r p u b l i c s p e a k i n g as when a vigorous, if unsuccessful challenge was mounted in July  after Gladstone had accepted office in Palmerston’s Liberal government.

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