Marek Fabiusz Kwintylian, 'Institutio oratoria', księga XI 1, 1 – XI 3, 29
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Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, I'nstitutio oratoria', book XI 1, 1 – XI 3, 29 (Introduction and translation)
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Quintilian begins the 11th Book with a remark that the orator’s task is to speak choosing the words carefully (ut dicamus apte). He recalls Cicero believed this to be the fourth characteristic of good style. The most important thing is to know which style is the best to inspire benevolence, to provide insight and evoke emotions in a judge, keeping in mind what results we should expect to gain in various parts of the speech. The whole question of language appropriateness is based not only on the type of style, but also on rhetorical invention. The future orators should be taught that to speak appropriately is to take into account not only what is useful, but also what is proper. It is crucial to learn the character of an orator and the person he defends, as well as the characters of people in front of whom we are to speak. Laudatory speeches which are composed for giving pleasure provide much more refined and magnificent topics than counselling and judiciary speeches which concentrate on action and rivalry. All exaggeration is improper; what is naturally well composed loses its charm if not restricted by some measure. Following these rules is possible due to accurate judgement based on intuition more than imposed strictures. All education is based on memory. The power of memory gives us an abundance of examples, rules, opinions, words and deeds, thus memory is accurately called the treasury of speech. According to Quintilian, the most important feature of memory is practice and diligence. Most important is to rote learn large batches and to think at length day by day. The third part of the 11th Book is filled with deliberations on the subject of pronuntiatio. Quintilian finds the oratory delivery of a speech is often called actio. The first term seems to come from syllabic sound, the second from gesticulation. Even a mediocre speech, as the author of Institutio oratoria claims, will be more moving when succoured by the force of actio than the best speech devoid of it. Demosthenes believes pronuntiatio to be not merely first, but the one and only merit of the oratory art. Cicero also says actio is predominant in oratory art. Yet, as Quintilian avers, there are those who believe that actio devoid of art and caused totally by a natural impulse is more effective and is the only way of delivery behoving an orator. These people are usually the ones who also tend to reject diligence, art, elegance of style and all signs of enthusiasm as artificial and unnatural, or who try to imitate the old authors by choice of words or even primitiveness of style. According to Quintilian, nothing can be perfect if the gifts of nature are not supported by creative zeal.
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