By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Art of Lecturing - Revised Edition
Author: Lewis, Arthur M. (Arthur Morrow), 1873-1922
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Art of Lecturing - Revised Edition" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




Revised Edition

Charles H. Kerr & Company


           THE PLACE
           THE STYLE




For some time I have been besieged with requests to open a "Speakers'
Class" or "A School of Oratory," or, as one ingenious correspondent puts
it, a "Forensic Club." With these requests it is impossible to comply
for sheer lack of time.

I have decided, however, to embody in these pages the results of my own
experience, and the best I have learned from the experience of others.

There are some things required in a good lecturer which cannot be
imparted to a pupil by any teacher, and we may as well dispose of these.

One is a good voice. Modern methods, however, have done much to make the
improvement of the voice possible. While it is probably impossible in
the great majority of cases to make a very fine voice out of a very poor
one, no one, with an average voice, need be afraid of the platform, for
time and training will greatly increase its range and resonance. It is
said that the great Greek orator, Demosthenes, developed his magnificent
voice by shouting above the roar of the sea near which he lived, but it
is probable that he had a better voice to begin with than the tradition
represents. In the absence of sea waves, one's voice may be tested and
strengthened by trying to drown the noise of the electric cars at a
street meeting. Most poor voices are produced in the upper part of the
throat or, still worse, in the roof of the mouth, while deep and
thrilling tones can only be obtained from further down. The transition
from the upper throat or palate to the deeper tones is not nearly so
difficult as might be supposed. Placing the hand across the chest during
practice will help to locate the origin of the sounds produced.

The one thing, however, which no training seems to create, but which is
wholly indispensable in a good speaker, is that elusive, but potential
something which has been named personal magnetism. This is probably only
another way of saying that the great orator must also be a great man.
His imagination and sympathy must be great enough to take possession of
him and make him the mere instrument of their outpouring.

If nature has omitted these great qualities, no amount of training will
create them. This is why, among the great number who wish to be
speakers, only a few scale the heights.

But men with small personal magnetism and good training have done quite
well, while others with large personal magnetism and no methods, have
made a complete failure, and herein lies the justification for this



The part of a lecture which consumes the first ten or fifteen minutes is
called the exordium, from the Latin word exordiri--to begin a web.

The invariable rule as to the manner of this part of a lecture is--begin
easy. Any speaker who breaks this rule invites almost certain disaster.
This rule has the universal endorsement of experienced speakers.
Sometimes a green speaker, bent on making a hit at once, will begin with
a burst, and in a high voice. Once begun, he feels that the pace must be
maintained or increased.

Listeners who have the misfortune to be present at such a commencement
and who do not wish to have their pity excited, had better retire at
once, for when such a speaker has been at work fifteen minutes and
should be gradually gathering strength like a broadening river, he is
really beginning to decline. From then on the lecture dies a lingering
death and the audience welcomes its demise with a sigh of relief. Such
performances are not common, as no one can make that blunder twice
before the same audience. He may try it, but if the people who heard him
before see his name on the program they will be absent.

At the beginning, the voice should be pitched barely high enough for
everybody to hear. This will bring that "hush" which should mark the
commencement of every speech. When all are quiet and settled, raise the
voice so as to be clearly heard by everybody, but no higher. Hold your
energies in reserve; if you really have a lecture, you will need them

As to the matter of the exordium, it should be preparatory to the
lecture. Here the lecturer "clears the ground" or "paves the way" for
the main question.

If the lecture is biographical and deals with the life and work of some
great man, the exordium naturally tells about his parents, birthplace
and early surroundings, etc. If some theory in science or philosophy is
the subject, the lecturer naturally uses the exordium to explain the
theory which previously occupied that ground and how it came to be
overthrown by the theory now to be discussed.

Here the way is cleared of popular misunderstandings of the question
and, if the theory is to be defended, all those criticisms that do not
really touch the question are easily and gracefully annihilated.

Here, if Darwin is to be defended, it may be shown that those
witticisms, aimed at him, about the giraffe getting its long neck by
continually stretching it, or the whale getting its tail by holding its
hind legs too close in swimming, do not apply to Darwinism, but to the
exploded theory of his great predecessor, Lamarck.

If Scientific Socialism is the question, it may be appropriately shown
in the exordium that nearly all the objections which are still urged
against it apply only to the Utopian Socialism which Socialist
literature abandoned half a century ago.

In short, the lecturer usually does in the exordium what a family party
does when, having decided to waltz a little in the parlor, they push the
table into a corner and set back the chairs--he clears a space.



The Shakespearian saying that "all's well that ends well" is only a half
truth. A good lecture must not only end well; it must begin well.

The value of first impressions is universally recognized, and an
audience will be much more lenient with flaws that may come later if its
appreciation and confidence have been aroused at the commencement.

It is almost impossible to drive a nail properly if it was started
wrong, and the skillful workman will draw it out and start it over
again. But such a blunder in lecturing cannot be remedied--at least for
that occasion. A stale or confused beginning haunts and depresses the
mind of the speaker and makes his best work impossible. It also destroys
the confidence of the audience, so that what comes later is likely to be

This necessity is recognized not only by lecturers, but by all the great
masters of poetry, fiction and music. Wilhelm Tell is best known by its
overture and what could be more solemn and impressive than the opening
bars of "El Miserere" in Verdi's "Il Trovatore."

The genius of Dickens shines most clearly in his opening pages, and his
right to be ranked with Juvenal as a satirist could be easily
established by the first chapter of "Martin Chuzzlewit." Sir Walter
Scott would rank as one of the world's greatest wits if he had never
written anything but the exploits of "Dick Pinto," which serve as an
introduction to "The Bride of Lammermoor."

The opening lines of Keats' first long poem, "Endymion," are immortal,
and the first line of that passage has become an integral part of the
English language:

  "A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
  Its loveliness increases; it will never
  Pass into nothingness, but still will keep
  A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
  Full of deep peace and health and quiet breathing."

The first stanza of the first canto of Scott's "Marmion" gives a picture
of Norham castle that never leaves the memory. Milton's greatest poem,
"Paradise Lost," a poem which fascinated the imagination of the great
utopian, Robert Owen, at the age of seven, has nothing in all its
sonorous music that lingers in the mind like its magnificent opening
lines, and one searches in vain through the interminable length of
Wordsworth's "Excursion" for a passage equal to the first.

No lecturer who aims high should go upon a platform and confront an
audience, except in cases of great emergency, without having worked out
his opening sentences.

Floundering is fatal, but many an otherwise capable speaker "flounders
around" and "hems" and "haws" for the first ten or fifteen minutes, as a
matter of course.

If his auditors are strange, they get restless and disgusted, and some
of them go out. If they know him, they smile at one another and the
ceiling and wait with more or less patience until he "gets started." If
it is a meeting where others are to speak, by the time he "gets started"
the chairman is anxiously looking at his watch and wondering if he will
have as much trouble to "get done."

A lecturer should remember that an audience resents having its time
wasted by a long, floundering, meaningless preamble, and it is sure to
get even. Next time it will come late to avoid that preliminary "catch
as catch can" performance or--it will stay away.



William Ewart Gladstone, one of the most generally admired orators the
English house of commons ever listened to, spoke at an average of 100
words a minute. Phillips Brooks, the brilliant American preacher,
maintained a rate of 215 words a minute and was a terror to the
stenographers engaged to report him.

He succeeded as a speaker, not because of his speed, but in spite of it;
because his enunciation was perfect and every word was cut off clear and
distinct. But very few men succeed with such a handicap, and Brooks
would have done much better if he could have reduced his speed 40 per

The average person in an audience thinks slowly, and the lecturer should
aim to meet the requirements of at least a large majority of those
present, and not merely those in the assembly who happen to be as well
informed as the lecturer, and could therefore keep pace with him, no
matter how rapidly he proceeds. New ideas need to be weighed as well as
heard, and the power of weighing is less rapid than the sense of
hearing. This is why a pause at the proper place is so helpful.

A young lecturer had in his audience on one occasion a veteran of the
platform, and was on that account anxious to do his best. This
situation, as all new speakers know, is very disconcerting, and after
the young aspirant had rushed through his opening argument pretty well,
as he thought, lo, his memory slipped a cog and he waited in silence,
what seemed to him an age, until it caught again. Then he continued to
the end without a stop. After the meeting the veteran came forward to
shake hands. "Have you any advice for me?" said the young man, that
awful breakdown looming large in his mind.

"Yes," said the senior, "cultivate the pause."

One of the lecturer's most valuable assets is variety of pace, and this
is almost entirely lost by the speaker whose speed is always high.
Observe two men arguing in conversation where there is no thought of art
or oratory. Where the remarks are of an explanatory nature the words
come slowly and carefully. When persuasion becomes the object,
deliberation is thrown aside and words begin to flow like a mountain
freshet, and if the speaker has natural capacity he concludes his point
with a grand rush that carries everything before it.

When a speaker carefully selects his words and it is clear to the
audience that he is deliberately weighing and measuring his sentences,
his listeners are unconsciously impressed with a sense of their

Of course, deliberation may be overdone, and if the audience once gets
the impression that the speaker is slow and does not move along more
quickly because he cannot, the effect is disastrous.

Deliberation is closely akin to seriousness and the lecturer who has no
great and serious question to present should retire from the platform
and try vaudeville.

It is just here that the Socialist has a great advantage, for his theme
is the most serious and tremendous that ever occupied the mind of man.



The close of a lecture is called the peroration--the word oration
prefixed by the Latin preposition "per." "Per" has several meanings, one
of them being "to the utmost extent" as in peroxide--a substance
oxidized to the utmost degree.

This is probably the sense in which it is used in peroration, for the
close of a lecture should be oratory at its utmost.

The speaker who has failed to observe the previous rules about
"beginning easy," and "speaking deliberately" will pay the penalty here.
If he has spoken rapidly, he will be unable to increase the pace--at
least, sufficiently to get the best results.

If he has spoken too loudly and kept nothing in reserve, his voice will
refuse to "rise to the occasion."

The manner of the peroration has two essentials, an increase of speed,
and a raising of the voice. These two things go naturally together; as
the words come more quickly the voice tends to rise apparently
automatically, and this is as it should be.

The peroration has the nature of a triumph. The question has been fought
out in the main body of the lecture, the opposing positions have been
overthrown, and now the main conclusion is victoriously proclaimed and
driven home.

Even if an element of pathos enters into the peroration, it is a mistake
to allow the voice to weaken. If it takes a lower note, it must make up
in strength and intensity what it loses in height. Anything else is sure
to prove an anticlimax.

The matter of the peroration should consist of the main conclusion of
the lecture, and should begin by gathering together the principal
threads of the discourse which should lead to that conclusion.

The necessity for a peroration, or strong finish, is recognized in
music, the drama, and everything presented before an audience. Most band
selections end in a crash, the majority of instruments working at full
capacity. Every musical comedy concludes with its full cast on the stage
singing the most effective air. Every vaudeville performer strives to
reach a climax and, where talent breaks down, refuge is sought in some
such miserable subterfuge as waving the flag or presenting a picture of
the bulldog countenance of Theodore Roosevelt.

The entertainer, however, appeals to prevailing opinions and prejudices;
he gives the audience what they want. The lecturer should be an
instructor and his theme may be a new and, as yet, unpopular truth, and
it is his duty to give the audience what they should have.

Therefore the peroration should be full of that persuasive eloquence
which will lead the audience to a favorable consideration of the
positions which have been carefully and judiciously presented in the
body of the lecture.



I had just concluded a lecture in Grand Junction, Colo., over a year
ago, when a burly railroad man stepped forward and introduced himself. I
forget his name, but remember well what he said. Here it is, about word
for word:

"I was an engineer years ago, as I am today, but in those days Debs was
my fireman. Having a little better job than he, I naturally thought I
was the smarter man. We used to sleep in the same room. We would both
turn in all tired from a long trip and I would be asleep before you
could count ten. After I had slept three or four hours I would wake up
about two in the morning and there would be Debs with a candle, shaded
so as not to disturb me, reading away at a book as if everything
depended on his understanding all there was in it. Many a time he only
got one or two hours' rest before going to work again.

"I told him he was a d--d fool, and I thought he was. I still believe
there was a d--d fool in that room, but I know now that it wasn't Debs."

Every man who ever did anything really worth while on the lecture
platform has something like that in his life story, and it is usually
connected with his earlier years.

The biography of every great speaker or writer has usually this passage
or one equal to it in the early pages: "He was an omnivorous reader."
Professor Huxley in his brief, but charming autobiography in the first
essay of the first volume of his "collected essays," speaking of his
early youth, says, "I read everything I could lay my hands upon."

The speaker who has learned to sneer at "book learning" is foredoomed to
failure and will spare himself many humiliations by retiring at once.

A conversation between four or five men came to my notice in which the
subject was the translation into English of the second volume of Marx's
"Capital." One man said: "I don't care if it is never translated." Then
a Socialist speaker, who was present, stepped forward and said: "Shake
hands on that." This same speaker was at that time engaged for nearly a
year's work. The trip proved a failure and he went back into the shops
and probably blamed everything and everybody except the real cause--his
own attitude on the question of knowledge.

Neglecting to read, in a lecturer, is something more than a mistake--it
is a vice. Its real name is laziness. As well expect good bricklaying
from a man too lazy to lift a brick.

The idea of a man teaching something he himself does not know is
grotesque, and yet, I have known at least three-score who felt divinely
appointed to perform that very task.

These remarks have no application in the case of those who, wishing to
become lecturers, are determined to do everything in their power to
acquire the proper qualifications, but only to those who think that
because they have once persuaded an audience to listen to them, they now
know everything necessary to be known.

A self-satisfied, ignorant man on a lecture platform is an anomaly that,
fortunately, is never long continued, for the process of "natural
selection" weeds him out.

I met a boy of eighteen the other day with a thumb-worn copy of
Dietzgen's "Positive Outcome of Philosophy" under his arm. This is the
material from which lecturers are made.



I met him at Napa, Cal., after the meeting. His name was Mueller; a
tall, fine old German. He had been through the Bismarck "exception law"
persecution and was well informed in all that related to that period. I
asked him how it came about that the German movement was so well posted
and unified.

He answered, "Well, Bismarck did that for us. You see, before Bismarck
interfered, we were all split up into little inside factions, as it is
here, to some extent, now. That was because we had scores of papers,
each teaching its own particular brand of Socialism. Every little
business man who became a Socialist and had a little money in the bank
started a paper and gave the world his notion of Socialism. Bismarck
changed all that; he put them all out of business in a single day. Then
the Socialists had only one paper, published outside Germany, on very
thin paper, and mailed in sealed envelopes. This paper was edited by
Bernstein, one of the ablest Marxian scholars, and this uniform reading
of sound literature was a very powerful factor in clarifying the German
Socialist movement."

A lecturer must get his data from the very best authorities. He must get
his knowledge of "natural selection," not from the pages of some
ill-informed pamphleteer, but from "The Origin of Species." His
statements as to what constitutes the Socialist philosophy should be
based on a careful study of Marx, Engels and the other writers who have
produced Socialism's classic literature, and not on some ten-cent
pamphlet by a new convert, published, not on its merits, but because the
author had money enough to get it printed.

The Japanese in this country show their superiority in this respect. I
had a friend in San Francisco who was a bookseller, who told me it was
quite impossible to sell a Jap a book on any subject unless it was by
the greatest authority on that particular question. I had charge of the
Socialist literature of Local San Francisco nearly a year, and during
that period the only books bought by the Japs were works by Marx, Engels
and Labriola.

This is why the Jews play so tremendous a part in the Socialist movement
of the world. The Jew is almost always a student and often a fine
scholar. The wide experience of the Jewish people has taught them (and
they have always been quick to learn) the value of that something called
"scholarship," which many of their duller Gentile brethren affect to
despise. "Sound scholarship" should be one of the watchwords of the
lecturer, and as he will never find time to read everything of the best
that has been written, it is safe to conclude that, except for special
reasons, he cannot spare time or energy for books of second or third

Of course, in the beginning it is usually better to approach the great
masters through some well informed, popularizing disciple. A beginner in
biological evolution would do well to approach Darwin through Huxley's
essays and John Spargo has been kind enough to say that Marx should be
approached through the various volumes of my published lectures.

The lecturer must be familiar with the very best; he must plunge to the
greatest depths and rise to the topmost heights.



A great lecture must have a great theme. One of the supreme tests of a
lecturer's judgment presents itself when he is called upon to choose his
subject. Look over the list of subjects on the syllabus of any speaker
and the man stands revealed. His previous intellectual training, or lack
of it, what he considers important, his general mental attitude, the
extent of his information and many other things can be predicated from
his selection of topics.

Early in his career the lecturer is obliged to face this question, and
his future success hinges very largely on his decision. Not only is the
selection determined by his past reading, but it in turn largely
determines his future study.

Not long ago a promising young speaker loomed up, but he made a fatal
mistake at the very outset. He selected as his special subject a
question in which few are interested, except corporation lawyers--the
American constitution.

The greatest intellectual achievements of the last fifty years center
around the progress of the natural sciences. Those greatest of all
problems for the human race, "whence, whither, wherefore," have found
all that we really know of their solution in the discoveries of physics
and biology during recent times. What Charles Darwin said about "The
Origin of Species" is ten thousand times more important than what some
pettifogging lawyer said about "States' Rights." The revelations of the
cellular composition of animals by Schwan and plants by Schleiden mark
greater steps in human progress than any or all of the decisions of the
supreme court. Lavoisier, the discoverer of the permanence of matter and
the founder of modern chemistry, will be remembered when everybody has
forgotten that Judge Marshall and Daniel Webster ever lived. From these
and other epoch-making discoveries in the domain of science, modern
Socialism gets its point of departure from Utopianism, and without those
advances would have been impossible.

Here is a new and glorious world from which the working class has been
carefully shut out. Here we find armor that cannot be dented and weapons
whose points cannot be turned aside in the struggle of the Proletariat
for its own emancipation.

Any lecturer who will acquaint himself with the names of Lamarck,
Darwin, Lyell, Lavoisier, Huxley, Haeckel, Virchow, Tyndall, Fiske,
Wallace, Romanes, Helmholtz, Leibnitz, Humboldt, Weismann, etc., in
science, and Marx, Engels, Lafargue, Labriola, Ferri, Vandervelde,
Kautsky, Morgan, Ward, Dietzgen, etc., in sociology, and learn what
those names stand for, such a lecturer, other things being equal, has a
great and useful field before him.

It was well enough in the middle ages for great conclaves of clericals
to discuss sagely what language will be spoken in heaven, and how many
angels could dance a saraband on the point of a needle, but the
twentieth century is face to face with tremendous problems and the
public mind clamors for a solution. It will listen eagerly to the man
who knows and has something to say. But it insists that the man who
knows no more than it knows itself, shall hold his peace.

This is why the Socialist and the Scientist are the only men who command
real audiences--they are the only men with great and vital truths to



The platform has no greater nuisance than that interminable bore--the
speaker who cannot stop. Of all platform vices this is about the worst.
The speaker who acquires a reputation for it becomes a terror instead of
an attraction to an audience.

As a rule there is no audience when his name is the only item on the
card; he gets his chance speaking with some one else whom the listeners
have really come to hear. And this is just when his performance is least
desirable. Either he gets in before the real attraction and taxes
everybody's patience, or he follows and addresses his remarks to
retreating shoulders.

I met a man recently who had made quite a name in his own town as a
speaker, and his townsmen visiting other cities proudly declared him a
coming Bebel. I took the first opportunity to hear him. He had a good
voice and was a ready speaker, but I soon found he carried a burden that
more than balanced all his merits--he simply could not stop.

I heard him again when the committee managing the program had especially
warned him not to speak more than thirty minutes. At the end of forty he
was sailing along as though eternity was at his disposal. Three
different times, at intervals of about ten minutes, they passed him
notes asking him to stop. He read them in plain view of an audience
which knew what they meant, and then tried to close, and finally did so,
not by finishing his speech, but by shutting his mouth and walking off
the platform. The next item was something which the audience had paid
money to enjoy, but many had to leave to catch a last car home. As they
passed me near the door, the men swore and the women came as near to it
as they dared. And yet the speaker complained afterward of his treatment
by the committee. When he began he received a fine ovation; had he
finished at the end of thirty minutes he would have covered himself with
glory; he spoke an hour and a quarter and most of those present hoped
they would never be obliged to listen to him again.

I thought somebody ought to play the part of candid friend, and I told
him next day how it looked to me.

He said: "I guess you are right; I believe I'll get a watch."

But this malady is usually much deeper than the question of having a
watch. This speaker acquired it while addressing street meetings. A
street audience is always changing in some degree. A hall lecture is not
required and would be out of place. The auditors decide when they have
had enough and leave the meeting unnoticed and the speaker launches out
again on another question with fifty per cent of his audience new and
his hopping from question to question, and ending with good-night for a
peroration is quite proper on a street corner. Not only is it proper,
but it is very successful, and good street speakers cultivate that
method. This is why men who are excellent street speakers and who get
their training out doors are usually such flat failures in a hall.

Even when all is going well, an audience or some part of it will grow
uneasy toward the close, not because they cannot stay ten or fifteen
minutes longer, but because they do not know whether the lecturer is
going to close in ten minutes or thirty.

An experienced lecturer will always detect that uneasiness in moving
feet or rustling clothes, and at the first appropriate period will look
at his watch and say, in a quiet but decided tone, "I shall conclude in
ten minutes," or whatever time he requires. Then those who cannot wait
so long will at once withdraw, the rest will settle down to listen and
harmony will be restored.

But woe to the speaker who forgets his pledge and thinks he may take
advantage of that restored quiet to go beyond the time he stated. Next
time he speaks before that audience and they become restless he will
have no remedy.

It is better to have your hearers say, "I could have listened another
hour," than "It would have been better if he had finished by ten



Lecturers learn by experience that the chairman question may become at
times a very trying problem.

Many a meeting has been spoiled by an impossible chairman, and the
lecturer who wishes to have his work produce the best result will always
keep a keen eye on the chair, though, of course, he should not appear to
do so.

The functions of the chairman are mainly two: To introduce the speaker,
and to decide points of procedure. The latter function is only necessary
in delegate gatherings where all present have the right to participate.
The former applies where a speaker is visiting a town and is a stranger
to many in his audience.

In this case, when the chairman has told the audience who the speaker
is, where he comes from, what his subject will be, the occasion and
auspices of the meeting, his work is done, and the chairman who at this
point leaves the platform and takes a seat in the front row, should be
presented with a medal of unalloyed gold and his name should be recorded
in the municipal archives as an example to the lecture chairmen of
future generations.

How often has one seen a chairman during the lecture, conscious that he
is in full view of the audience, crossing his legs, first one way, then
the other, trying a dozen different ways of disposing of his hands with
becoming grace, fumbling with his watch chain, looking at his watch as
if the speaker had already overstepped his time, looking nervously at
his program as if something of enormous importance had been forgotten,
and doing a dozen similar things, most of them unconsciously, but none
the less continuously diverting the attention of the audience from the
speaker and his speech.

How pleasantly do I recall the chairman who came to my hotel and asked
me to write him a two-minute speech, which he committed to memory, but
promptly forgot before a crowded opera house and substituted for it,
"Mr. Lewis of San Francisco will now address you," and disappeared in
the wings. The fates be kind to him! He was the prince of chairmen.

I spoke on one occasion in a large city to a good audience at a well
advertised meeting on the Moyer-Haywood-Pettibone question. I had for
chairman a local speaker, who, fascinated by so fine an audience, spoke
over thirty minutes in this style: "Mr. Lewis will tell you how these
men were kidnapped in Denver; he will tell you how the railroads
provided a special train free of charge; he will tell you," etc., until
he had mentioned about all that was known of the case at that time. The
fact that we had a good meeting and took up a big collection for the
defense fund was no fault of his.

Another chairman I shall ever remember is the one who closed a rambling
speech with the following terse remarks: "You have all heard of the
speaker, you have seen his name in our papers; he has a national
reputation. I will now call upon him to make good."

Fortunately, most inexperienced chairmen seek the speaker's advice and
follow it.



Speaking mannerisms are of two kinds, those of manner, of course, and
those which by a metaphorical use of the term may be called mannerisms
of matter.

"The memory," said the quaint old Fuller, "must be located in the back
of the head, because there men dig for it." Some speakers appear to
imagine it can be found in the links of a watch chain, or observed in
the chinks in the ceiling.

Most mannerisms are undesirable and very few have any value. As they are
usually formed early, one should look out for them at the outset and nip
them in the bud, before they have a chance to become fixed habits.

I often notice myself running my fingers through my hair about the
opening sentence, as though I could thereby loosen up my brain.

Debs speaks a good deal doubled up like the corner of a square--a
mannerism that probably has its origin, partly in a body weary from
overwork, and partly from a desire to get closer to the auditors on the
main floor.

Mannerisms of matter are very common and many speakers seem to take no
trouble to avoid them.

Many speakers become so addicted to certain hackneyed phrases that those
used to hearing them speak can see them coming sentences away. One of
the hardest ridden of these is, "along those lines." I have heard
speakers overwork that sentence until I never hear it without a shudder
and if I used it myself it would be to refer to car lines, and even then
I should prefer "those tracks."

G. W. Woodbey, our colored speaker of "what to do and how to do it"
fame, never speaks an hour without asking at least thirty times, "Do you
understand?" but the inimitable manner in which he pokes his chin
forward as he does so usually convulses his audience and makes a virtue
of what would otherwise be a defect. The veteran speaker Barney Berlyn
says, every little while, "you understand," but he is so terribly in
earnest, and so forceful in his style, that no one but a cold blooded
critic would ever notice it.

Another speaker I know in the west, asks his audience about every ten
minutes, "Do you get my point?" This is very irritating, as it is really
a constant questioning of the audience's ability to see what he is
driving at. It would be much better to say, "Do I make myself
understood?" and put the blame for possible failure where it usually
belongs. If an audience fails to "get the point" it is because the
speaker failed to put it clearly.

A terribly overworked word is "proposition." It is a good word, but that
is no reason why it should be treated like a pack mule.

Hackneyed words and phrases are due to laziness in construction and a
limited vocabulary.

The remedy is to take pains in forming sentences, practice different
ways of stating the same thing, increase your stock of words by "looking
up" every new one.

The lecturer should always have a good dictionary within reach,
especially when reading, if he has to borrow the money to buy it.



The very first essential to successful course lecturing is--no chairman.
On three different occasions I have tried to deliver a long course of
lectures with a chairman, as a concession to comrades who disagreed with
me. One learns by experience, however, and I shall never repeat the

Anyone who suggested that university course lectures should have a
presiding chairman would get no serious hearing. All the course
lecturers now before the public dispense with chairmen. It is a case of
survival of the fittest; the course lecturers who had chairmen didn't
know their business and they disappeared. This does not apply to a
series of three or four lectures, for in that case when the speaker has
become familiar with his audience, and the chairman should be dispensed
with, his work is done and a new speaker appears who needs to be

Course lecturing is by far the most difficult of all forms of lecturing.
The beginner will not, of course, attempt it. There are shoals of
speakers of over five years' experience who are not capable of more than
two lectures; many of the best are exhausted by half a dozen. A course
of thirty to fifty is a gigantic task, and no one who realizes how great
it is will throw a straw in the lecturer's way. To insist on his having
a chairman could hardly be called a straw; it would more nearly approach
a stick of dynamite.

I take up this question because it is certain that this method of
lecturing will increase among Socialists in the future and we should
learn to avoid sources of disaster.

Now, I will give reasons. First, in course lectures the chairman has no
functions; he is entirely superfluous. There are no points of order or
procedure to be decided, and the speaker does not need to be introduced.

There are notices to be announced, but these are better left with the
lecturer for many reasons. They give him a chance to clear his throat,
find the proper pitch of his voice, and get into communication with his
audience; then, when he begins his lecture he can do his best from the
very first word.

If the lecturer knows that the entire program is in his own hands he is
saved a great deal of irritation and nervousness. How well I remember
those little disputes with the chair when I knew the meeting was lagging
late and the chairman insisted we should wait until a few more came.

The speaker's request for a good collection will usually bring from
twenty to forty per cent better results than if it came from a chairman.

In announcing the next lecture the speaker is usually able, by telling
what ground he will cover, etc., to arouse the interest of the audience
so that they make up their minds to attend.

Poor chairmen blunder along and make bad "breaks" which irritate both
audience and speaker, while good chairmen feel they are doing nothing
that could not be better done by the speaker and, that they are really
only in his way.

I have only met two kinds of men who insist that the course lecturer
should be handicapped with a chairman; those who say it gives him too
much power--an argument that belongs to the sucking bottle stage of our
movement--and those who enjoy acting as chairman.

I should be slow to mention the latter, but alas! my own experience so
conclusively proves it, and the peculiarity of human nature, in or out
of our movement is, that it is wonderfully human.

There are very few of us who do not enjoy sitting in plain view of a
large audience and, when any good purpose is to be served, it is a very
laudable ambition.

But if we have no better end to gain than standing between a speaker and
his audience and, though with the best intentions in the world, adding
to the difficulties of a task that is already greater than most of us
would care to face, for the sake of our great cause, and that it may be
the more ably defended, let us refrain.



The definition of science as "knowledge classified," while leaving much
to be said, is perhaps, as satisfactory as any that could be condensed
into two words.

A trained capacity for classification is wholly indispensable in a
course lecturer. We all know the speaker who announces his subject and
then rambles off all over the universe. With this speaker, everybody
knows that, no matter what the subject or the occasion of the meeting,
it is going to be the same old talk that has done duty, how long nobody
can remember.

If, under the head of "surplus value" you talk twenty minutes about
prohibition, how will you avoid repetition when you come to speak on the
temperance question?

The surest way to acquire this qualification is to study the sciences.
The dazzling array of facts which science has accumulated, owe half
their value to the systematization they have received at the hands of
her greatest savants.

It is impossible to take a step in scientific study without coming face
to face with her grand classifications. At the very beginning science
divides the universe into two parts, the inorganic and the organic. The
inorganic is studied under the head of "physics"; the organic, under

Physics (not the kind one throws to the dogs, of course) is then
subdivided into Astronomy, Chemistry, and Geology, while Biology has its
two great divisions, Zoology (animals) and Botany (plants), all these
having subdivisions reaching into every ramification of the material
universe, which is the real subject matter of science, being as it is
the only thing about which we possess any "knowledge."

Another way of learning to classify is to select a subject and then
"read it up." Here is a good method:

Take a ten-cent copy book, the usual size about eight by six inches and
begin on the first inside page. Write on the top of the page, left side,
a good subject, leaving that page and the one opposite to be used for
that question. Turn over and do the same again on the next page with
some other subject. This practice of selecting subjects, in itself, will
be valuable training.

In the search for subjects take any good lecture syllabus and select
those about which you have a fair general idea. You will soon learn to
frame some of your own. Good examples of standard questions are "Free
Will," "Natural Selection," "Natural Rights," "Economic Determinism,"
"Mutation," "Individualism," and a host of others, all of which have a
distinct position in thought, and about which there is a standard

Then, in your general reading, whenever you come across anything of
value in any book, on any of your listed subjects, turn to the page in
your copy book and enter it up, author, volume, chapter and page. When
you come to lecture on that question, there it will be, or, at least,
you will know just where it is.

Of course, the two pages devoted to "Natural Rights" would mention,
among other references, Prof. David G. Ritchie's book on "Natural
Rights"; and the eighth essay of Huxley's First Volume of "Collected
Essays," in which he annihilates Henry George.

All this means an immense quantity of reading, but unless you have
carefully read and weighed about all the best that has been said on any
question, your own opinions will have no value, and it is simply
presumption to waste the time of an audience doling out a conception
that, for aught you know, may have been knocked in the head half a
century ago.

What can be more tiresome than the prattle about "absolute justice,"
"eternal truth," "inalienable rights," "the identity of the ethics of
Christianity with those of Socialism," and a lot of other theories,
which lost their footing in scientific literature and transmigrated to
begin a new career among the uninformed, sixty years ago.

Of course, some of these positions look all right to you now, but when
you learn what has been revealed about them by the science and
philosophy of the last six decades, they will seem about as rational as
the doctrine of a personal devil or the theory of a flat earth.

And until your reading is wide enough to give you this view of them, you
had better not attempt course lecturing in the twentieth century.



Said Francis Bacon, the author of "Novum Organum," "Reading maketh a
full man, writing an exact man, and conversation a ready man."

The first in importance of these is to be "a full man." The lecturer
should not deliver himself on any subject unless he has read about all
there is of value on that question.

If, when you read, the words all run together in the first few minutes,
or, you invariably get a headache about the third page, let lecturing
alone. Remember that there must be listeners as well as lecturers, and
you may make a good listener, a quality none too common, but, as for
lecturing, you have about as much chance of success as a man who could
not climb ten rungs of a ladder without going dizzy, would have as a

The speaker who writes out his speech and commits it to memory and then
recites it, has at least, this in his favor: his performance represents
great labor. An audience usually is, and should be, very lenient with
anyone who has obviously labored hard for its benefit.

Writing out a speech has many advantages, and beginners especially
should practice it extensively. It gives one precision or, as Bacon puts
it, makes an "exact" man. It gives one experience in finding the correct

If you have not learned to find the right word at your desk where you
have time to reflect, how do you suppose you will find it on the
platform where you must go on?

In trying a passage in your study it is well to stand about as you would
on a platform. My friend Jack London assured me that when he took to the
platform his chief difficulty arose from never having learned to think
on his feet.

Writing is also a great test of the value of a point. Many a point that
looks brilliant when you first conceive it turns out badly when you try
to write it out. On the other hand, an unpromising idea may prove quite
fertile when tried out with a pen. It is better to make these
discoveries in your study than before your audience.

As to conversation and its making a "ready" man, a better method
perhaps, is to argue the matter out with a mirror, or the wall, in about
the same manner and style as you expect to use on the platform.

To practice before one or two persons in the style you expect to adopt
before an audience is so inherently incompatible with the different
circumstances, that I don't believe anybody ever made it succeed. It is
far better to be alone, especially when working out your most important
points, and building your opening and closing sentences.

Probably the best form of lecturing is to speak from a few pages of
notes. A clearly defined skeleton, in a lecture, as in an animal, is the
sure sign of high organization, while it is desirable to fill in the
flesh and clothes with a pen beforehand, it will be well to learn to
deliver it to the public with nothing but the skeleton before you.

In course lectures, quotations must be read, as a rule, as there is not
time enough between lectures to commit them to memory. But where the
same lecture is given repeatedly before different audiences, this
condition does not exist, and the quotations should be memorized.
Frequent quotations, from the best authorities, is one of the marks of a
good lecture, as of a good book.

A good plan is to write out the skeleton of the lecture fully at first,
say fifteen or twenty note book pages, then think it carefully over and
condense to about ten. A really good, well organized lecture where the
lecturer has had ample time, or when he has already delivered it a few
times, should be reducible to one or two pages of notes.

This skeletonizing is a good test of a lecture. A mere collection of
words has no skeleton. Instead of comparing with a mammal at the top of
the organic scale, it is like a formless, undifferentiated protozoon at
the bottom.

As an example of a skeleton, here are the notes of the lecture with
which I closed the season at the Garrick in May, 1907:


    (1) The general confusion on this question.
    (2) The inroads of positive science into this field.
    (3) The historical schools of Ethics:
      (1) The Theological.
      (2) The intuitional.
      (3) The utilitarian.
        (1) Define these;
        (2) explain;
        (3) criticise.
      (4) Modern science endorses utilitarianism.
      (5) This still leaves unsettled the problem of who
          shall determine what is of utility to society?
      (6) Marx gave the answer--The ruling class.
      (7) They rule because they control society's foundation,
          its mode of production.
      (8) The working class, in order to enforce its own
          ethics must control society at its base; it must take
          possession of the means of production.

When I first delivered this lecture I had about twenty pages of notes
nearly twice the size of this book page, the three items, "define,"
"explain," "criticize," taking half a dozen.



Really great debaters, like the animal reconstructed, as Bret Harte
relates, before "The Society on the Stanislaw," are "extremely rare."
This is because the great debater must have a number of accomplishments
any one of which requires something very closely approaching genius.

The great debater must first of all be a brilliant speaker; but he must
also be a speaker of a certain kind. Many brilliant speakers are utterly
helpless in debate. The most helpless of these is the speaker who is
bound closely to his fully written manuscript or who departs from it
only by memorizing the sentences.

A certain preacher in a double walled brick church found a chink in the
inner wall just back of the pulpit. He found this crevice a convenient
pigeon hole for his carefully written and always excellent sermon during
the preliminary parts of the service. While the congregation sang the
last verse of the hymn preceding the sermon he would draw it from its
hiding place and lay it on the pulpit. One fatal Sunday he pushed it too
far in and it fell between the two walls hopelessly beyond immediate
recovery. His anguish during the last verse as the novelists say,
"beggared description." He read a chapter from the Bible and dismissed
his flock. One cannot imagine such a speaker, brilliant as he was with
his pages before him, achieving any success in debate.

The qualities of a great debater may be ranged under two heads: (1)
general, (2) technical. The general qualifications must be those of a
ready speaker, fully master of his subject and able to think quickly and
clearly and to clothe an idea in forceful, suitable language on very
short notice. The ability to detect a flaw in an opponent's case does
not consist merely in cleverness, but will depend upon the thoroughness
of your studies before going on the platform.

The great debater must go to the bottom of things. It is all very well
to take an opponent's speech and reply to it point by point, even to the
last detail. It is vastly better, however, if you can lay your hands on
the fundamental fallacy that underlies the whole case and explode that.

I well remember my debate with Bolton Hall. Mr. Hall's whole case rested
on the theory of the existence of certain Nature-given and God-given
rights of man. The apostles of the Single Tax from George down never
knew and probably never will know how completely all this has been swept
into the dust-bin by modern science. It was only necessary for me to
demonstrate the hopelessness of Mr. Hall's main thesis to leave him
standing before the audience without so much as the possibility of a
real answer.

We shall consider at some length the technical methods that make for
effective debating. In my opinion, formed from my own experience, this
question of methods is of the greatest importance.

The most important thing in this connection is how to make the best use
of the time allowed and always know, while speaking, how much you still
have left. You may look at your watch at the beginning of your speech,
but once started, the brain, working at full capacity, refuses to
remember, and you turn to the chairman and ask "How much time have I?"
This not only wastes your time, but distracts the attention of the
audience from your attack or reply. Again, the relief is only temporary,
for in a few minutes you are again in the same dilemma. Then, worst of
all, right in the middle of an argument, down comes the gavel, and with
a lame "I thank you," you sit down. There are men who can carry the time
in their heads, but as a rule they are not good debaters, as they do so
because only a part of their energies are thrown into the debate itself.

This difficulty hampered me terribly in many debates and the only
consolation I could find was that it seemed to hamper my opponents about
as much. But it never troubles me now owing to the following simple, but
invaluable device: See that your watch is wound, take half a postage
stamp, and, as the chairman calls you forth, stick the stamp across the
face of your watch in such a position that when the large hand goes into
eclipse your time is up. Then place it on the desk where it will be
always visible, and the space between the hand and the line of eclipse
always shows your remaining time.

On the occasion of my debate with Mr. Chafin, the last presidential
candidate of the Prohibition party, on "Socialism versus Prohibition as
a Solution of the Social Problem," Mr. Louis Post, the well-known editor
of "The Public," was chairman. He courteously asked us how much warning
we needed before the close of our several speeches. Mr. Post is no
novice in debate and he looked much surprised when I told him not to
warn me at all and that he would have no need of closing me with the
gavel. He probably thought I had decided to use only part of the time
allowed me. When, at the close of my longest speech I finished a
somewhat difficult and elaborate peroration squarely on the last quarter
of the last second, Mr. Post's astonishment was so great that he burst
out with it to the audience. He said: "Mr. Lewis does not require a
chairman; without any help from me in any way he closed that speech
right to the moment. I don't know how he does it; it is a mystery to me;
I couldn't do it to save my life!"

In my debate with Clarence Darrow on "Non-resistance," at the close of
my long speech, when our excellent chairman, Mr. Herbert C. Duce,
thought I had lost all track of time and was going to need the gavel, to
his surprise, just as my last second expired I turned to Darrow and
asked a minute's grace to quote from Tennyson, which Darrow gave with a
promptness that scored heavily with the audience.

For some days before a debate I take care that my pocketbook is well
supplied with postage stamps.

Another matter of the very first importance is the taking of notes of
your opponent's speech and preparing to reply when your turn comes.
During the last few years I have met in debate, Henry George, Jr.,
Clarence Darrow, M. M. Mangasarian, Professor John Curtis Kennedy,
Eugene Chafin, John Z. White, W. F. Barnard, Bolton Hall, H. H.
Hardinge, Chas. A. Windle, editor of "The Iconoclast," and others, all
men with a national and many with an international reputation as
platform masters. But I have never been able to understand why almost
all of them, except Barnard and Kennedy, made almost no real use of
their time while I was speaking. The probable reason is that debating
has not been cultivated as an art in this country.

They sit quietly in a chair without table or note paper and are
satisfied to scribble an occasional note on some scrap of paper they
seem to have picked up by accident. Clarence Darrow got more out of this
easy going method than any man I ever met.

With all deference to the names I have given I must insist that this is
no way to debate. It should be done thoroughly and systematically. For
my own purposes I have reduced this part of debating to an exact
science. I do not dread a debate now as I once did. My only care is to
see that I am master of the subject.

I will now give my latest method of note taking--the product of years of
experience and many long hours of careful planning. It works so simply
and perfectly that I do not see how it can be further improved. This
confidence in the perfection of my methods is not usual with me. I have
tried every method I could hear of or scheme out, and this is the only
one that ever gave satisfaction. Now for the method.

Have a table on the platform. Never allow the chairman to open the
debate until your table and chair have been provided. Next, a good
supply of loose pages of blank white paper of reasonably good quality
and fairly smooth surface. A good size is nine inches long and six wide.
Any wholesale paper house will cut them for you. Remember, they must be
loose; do not try to use a note book. Next, a good lead pencil, writing
blue at one end and red at the other.

When your opponent makes his first point make a note of it in blue at
the top of one of your loose pages. There is no need of numbering any of
the pages. Keep that page exclusively for that one point. Leave the
upper half of the page for the note of his point. If you have your
answer ready, make a note of it half way down the page in red.

This will leave a space under both the blue note of your opponent's
point and the red note of your reply. In the upper space you may enter
fuller detail of his point if you think best. In the bottom space you
may amplify your reply or strike out your first idea of reply and enter
one that seems stronger.

The immense advantage of this one-point-one-page system is that in
arranging the order of reply you need only arrange the pages. The
position of any point may be changed by moving the page dealing with it.

When you have completed a page by entering the blue note and the red
reply and you feel that you have that item well in hand, lay that page
aside and work on the completion of others. When your opponent is about
half through his speech you should have about half a dozen pages
completed and you should begin to put them in the order in which they
are to be used.

A good strong point should be selected to open. Lay this page face
downward on your table, away from the rest of your papers, where it will
stand forth clearly and not cause you to hunt around the table when the
chairman calls you. Lay the second point page on top of it, face down,
of course. When you have a pile like this, by turning it over and laying
it before you face up, you are ready to begin. You can rearrange the
order of these pages from time to time during the latter part of your
opponent's speech.

Whenever you find your opponent developing a point you have already
grasped and noted, you may take time to go over the pile of completed
pages. In this overhauling process you will find some faulty pages. If
you have noted a weak point of your opponent's and it does not admit of
a strong, clear reply, take it out of your pile and place it separately
so that it may be returned if you can improve it sufficiently, or
finally rejected and left unused if you cannot.

By the time your opponent is about to close you should have about twice
as many pages as you can use in the time allowed you and they should be
rapidly but carefully sifted. Anything that looks vague or weak should
be thrust aside. If need be, it is better to spend extra time on some
strong position which is fundamental to the debate.

To make a good debate you must meet your opponent most fully on his
strongest ground. Any tricky evasion of his strong points and enlarging
of minor issues is disgraceful to you and insulting to the audience. It
is this latter kind of debating which has prejudiced the public against

A real debate should be a clear presentment of two opposing schools of
thought by men who understand both, but basically disagree as to their
truth. Such a debate has an educational value of the very highest order.

Every speech, as in lecturing, should have a strong close. The last
point can usually be selected before the debate begins, as it will
probably deal with the valuable results flowing from your position. This
method enables you to prepare the closing sentence or sentences--which
is of great importance. It is one of the great disadvantages of debate
that your speeches are liable to end lame and if you can avoid this, one
of your knottiest problems is solved.

A strong point also should be selected to open with; a point that will
put the audience in good humor by its wit is especially valuable. But
remember wit is only valuable when it bears on the question and
strengthens or illustrates an argument. Any indulgence in wit merely to
turn a laugh against your opponent will disgust the intelligent members
of the audience and the pity is that there are always block-heads to
applaud such deplorable methods. The platform suffers an irreparable
loss whenever it is used by debaters whom nature intended for "shyster"

As an example of a good point for opening a reply, take the following
from my debate in the Garrick, October, 1907:

My opponent, Mr. Hardinge, said, "As an Individualist Mr. Spencer was an
extremist in one direction, and the Socialist is an extremist in the
other. I take a middle ground; you will always find the truth about half

My note of this (in blue) was, "extremist, middle ground." My note of
answer (in red) was "revolving earth."

This was the answer as I made it from these two notes:

"Mr. Hardinge said we should not be Socialists because we should then be
as great extremists in one direction as was Mr. Spencer in the other. We
should follow Mr. Hardinge's example and take the middle ground for,
says he, truth is always to be found half way. Therefore, if anyone
should ask you, does the earth revolve from east to west, or from west
to east, you should answer, 'a little of both.'"

It would have been small consolation to Mr. Hardinge to know that this
reply was taken from the individualist Spencer, who should have been his
mainstay in the debate. But such things are common property and I had
just as much right to take it from Spencer as he had to take it from
George Eliot.



There are a great number of tricks that may be practiced in debate. They
should be avoided by the serious man who is debating to defend a great
cause. It is well to know the best methods but anything like a trick
should never be practiced.

Some debaters I have met actually consider it smart to fill an opening
speech with empty words so as to handicap their opponent by giving him
nothing to reply to. This is precisely what Mr. Mangasarian did in his
debate with me, but although many disagree with me, I take the view that
he did so, not as a trick, but because of his ignorance of the question
and his want of experience in debate. To have done this deliberately as
a clever trick, after allowing an audience of 3,000 to pay over $1,100
for their seats would have been criminal, and I refuse to believe that
any public man of Mr. Mangasarian's status would stoop to any such
performance as a matter of deliberate strategy.

On one occasion, when the subject of discussion was not of any such
serious import as Socialism, but more a question of who could win a
debate on a subject of small merit, I defeated my opponent by a trick
that I am heartily ashamed of, even under those mitigating
circumstances. I record it here, not as an example to be followed, but
as a warning not to let anyone else use it against you.

Unskilled debaters usually reply to their opponent's points in the order
in which they were presented--seriatim. This is easy but not most

This opponent, whom I heard debate with someone else before I was
engaged to try conclusions with him, was limited, as I saw, to the
seriatim method of reply. When we met, I completely destroyed his
influence on the audience by the following trick:

Having the affirmative, I had to open and close, which gave me three
speeches to his two. In my first speech instead of taking five to ten
good points only, I added a good number of other points, stating them
briefly and just giving him time to get them down. These extra points
cost me about one minute each to state, and I knew they would cost him
at least four or five to reply. Then just before closing I very
seriously advanced the heaviest objection to my opponent's position. I
especially called the attention of my audience to this point and
declared it to be unanswerable and hoped my opponent would not forget to
make a note of it. Then I paused long enough for the audience to see
that I gave him full opportunity to get it down--as he did. Then I
gathered my threads together and entered on my peroration.

It worked out precisely as I had anticipated. My opponent began at the
beginning, as he saw it, and all his time went over those decoy points
and the chairman rapped him down long before he reached that special

I then repeated the same tactics only I loaded him more heavily with
decoys than before. I called upon the audience to witness that in spite
of my begging him to do so, he had never so much as mentioned the main
difficulty in his position.

In his second and last speech, he saw the necessity of getting to that
point but, alas, although he hustled through the column of stumbling
blocks so rapidly that the audience hardly knew what he was talking
about, just as he was about to reply to this much-paraded difficulty of
mine--and it really was the main weakness of his position--down came the
chairman's gavel.

Then I lashed him unmercifully. I called the attention of the audience
to the fact that twice I had especially begged him to answer this
question and he had repeatedly failed to do so. The audience, of course,
drew the inference that he was unable to answer, and he was considered
to be hopelessly defeated.

He should, by all means, have given that point his first consideration
before dealing with the rest of my speech.

This gentleman had humiliated quite a number of young aspirants in the
local debating class, and openly boasted of the clever tricks by which
he had done so. For once, however, he was "hoist on his own petard."



It is the function of language to convey ideas. Ideas are the real
foundation of good lecturing and words must always be subordinate.

The English Parliamentarian, Gladstone, had the reputation of being able
to say less in more time than any man who ever lived. The difference
between a good and a bad use of words is well illustrated in the
discussion between Gladstone and Huxley on Genesis and Science. Of
course everybody knows now that Gladstone was annihilated, in spite of
the cleverness with which, when beaten, he would, in Huxley's phrase,
"retreat under a cloud of words."

Grandiloquence will produce, in the more intelligent of your audience,
an amused smile, and while it is well to have your hearers smile with
you, they should never have reason to smile at you.

Here again, a great deal depends on what you have been reading. In the
use of good, clear, powerful English, Prof. Huxley is without a peer,
and his "collected essays" will always remain a precious heritage in
English literature. For an example of the exact opposite, take the
magazines and pamphlets of the so-called new thought, which at bottom is
neither "new" nor "thought." In reality it is made up of words, words,
and then--more words.

       *       *       *       *       *

I read a fifteen hundred word article, in a new thought magazine, by one
of its foremost prophets, and nowhere from beginning to end, was there a
single tangible idea, nothing but a long drawn out mass of meaningless

       *       *       *       *       *

"Thus spake Zarathustra" is the same thing at its best. As an example of
a style to be carefully avoided the following is in point. It is also a
rara avis; a gem of purest ray. It is taken from the local Socialist
platform of an Arizona town:

    Therefore, it matters not, though the Creator decked the earth
    with prolific soil, and deposited within great stores of wealth
    for man's enjoyment, for, if Economic Equality is ostracised,
    man is enslaved and the world surges through space around the
    sun, a gilded prison. It matters not, though the infinite blue
    vast be sown with innumerable stars and the earth be adorned
    with countless beauties, teeming with the multiplicity of living
    forms for man's edification, for if Liberty is exiled, the
    intellect is robbed and man knows not himself. It matters not,
    though nature opens her generous purse and pours forth melodies
    of her myriad-tongued voices for man's delectation, for, if the
    shackles of wage slavery are not loosed, the mind is stultified
    and ambition destroyed by the long hours of toil's monotony in
    the factory, the machine shop, in the mines, at the desk, and on
    the farm. It matters not, though the fireside of the home sheds
    forth a radiance in which is blended paternal love, health and
    happiness, for, if woman is denied equal suffrage, then this
    queen of the household, perforce, becomes a moral slave.

    Man, therefore, is not the sovereign citizen as pictured by the
    flashing phrases of the orator and soothsayer.

Liberty exiled, we have heard of before, but economic equality
ostracised, is new. The idea that the multiplicity of living forms exist
for man's edification, is ancient to the point of being moldy, but we
must concede originality to "myriad tongued voices" issuing from a
"purse." The concluding remarks about the "flashing phrases of the
orator" are peculiarly well taken--unless that gentleman should be mean
enough to say, "you're another."

       *       *       *       *       *

Of course there is no objection to real eloquence and one's sentences
should always be smooth and rhythmical. One great source of smoothness
and rhythm is alliteration. Tennyson says:

  "The distant dearness of the hill
  The sacred sweetness of the stream."

Here the smooth movement comes from the alliteration on d in the first
line and the tripling of the initial s in the second.

    "With his back to the field, and his feet to the foe."

gets its music from the alliteration on f. In revising the MS. of my
lecture on "Weismann's Theory of Heredity" for publication, I found the
following sentence, referring to Johannes Mueller.

    "He failed to fill the gap his destructive criticism had

This sentence gives to the ear a sense of rhythm that is somewhere
interrupted and disturbed. Examination shows that the rhythm comes from
the alliterations "failed to fill" and "criticism had created," and the
disturbance arises from the interjection between them of the word
"destructive." Destructive is a good word here, but not essential to the
sense and not worth the interruption it makes in the smoothness of the
sentence. So it had to go.

Avoid long words wherever possible, and never use a word you do not
understand. As an example of the vast picture which half a dozen short
words of Saxon English will conjure up, take these lines from "The
Ancient Mariner":

  "Alone, alone, all, all alone,
  Alone on a wide, wide sea."

The power of expression in a single word, appears in Keats' description
of Ruth, in his "Ode to the Nightingale."

  "The voice I hear this passing night was heard
  In ancient days by emperor and clown;
  Perhaps the selfsame song that found a path
  Through the sad heart of Ruth, when sick for home,
  She stood in tears amid the alien corn."

What a master-stroke is the use of "alien," this time a Latin
derivative, in the last line quoted. What a picture of that old time
drama, with its theme of love and sorrow co-eval with the human race.

First get your idea, then express it in words that give it forth
clearly. No verbiage, no fog or clouds, no jargon, but simplicity,
lucidity, vividness, and power.



A lecturer should realize his grave responsibility to his audience.
Nothing but absolute physical impossibility is a sufficient excuse for
disappointing an assembly. Have it thoroughly understood that when your
name appears on a program, you will be at your post.

Never allow, if you can possibly prevent, anybody to announce you to
speak without consulting you and getting your consent. In some cities
the method of announcing a speaker, when it is not known whether or not
he can be present and, in some cases, even when it is known he cannot,
has prevailed in the Socialist party. The temptation to do this consists
in the possibility of using a prominent name to attract a large audience
and then, with some lame excuse, put forward somebody else.

This succeeds for a time; then comes disaster. In such a city a good
meeting becomes almost impossible. With the public it is, once bit,
twice shy. For myself, if when I am announced to speak and I am not
there and there is no message in the hands of the chairman reporting my
death or some other almost equally good reason, it is almost safe to say
my name has been used without my consent.

Any lecturer who treats his audience lightly has no reason to expect it
will take him seriously. There is no lecturing future ahead of the man
who says to some disappointed auditor he meets afterward on the street:
"Well, the weather was so bad I didn't think anybody would turn out."
Suppose only ten people turned out, is not their combined inconvenience
ten times as great as that of the speaker? At least you could go and
thank those who did come, as they surely deserved, and feel that you did
your duty in the matter.

I well remember one night in San Francisco, about the twenty-first
lecture of a course in the Academy of Sciences, when it rained as only
Californians ever see it rain; it seemed to fall in a solid mass. From 6
to 7:30 it continued with no sign of let-up, and the streets began to
look like rivers.

"No meeting tonight, that's sure," I concluded as I ruefully pocketed
the notes of my lecture. But my rule compelled me to turn out and see.
To my very great astonishment the Academy was full and the admission
receipts were equal to the average. Never again, if I can help it, will
weather alone keep me from appearing at a meeting.

Another matter in which speakers should consider the feelings of their
hearers is--"don't make excuses." The audience wants to know what you
have to say about the subject, and not, why you are not better prepared.
The audience will know whether you have a cold without you taking up
time telling about it.

If you allow yourself to drift into the habit of making excuses, you
will never be able to speak without doing so, and even your best
prepared effort will be unable to get by without a stupid preamble of
meaningless apologies.

It is safe to conclude that the good impression a lecture should make is
not increased by the lecturer condemning it in advance; this is usually
done to disarm criticism, secure indulgence, and give the audience a
great notion of what you could do if you had a fair chance. But the
audience wants to see what you can do now, and not what you might
possibly have done, under other circumstances. If your lecture cannot
bear open criticism and really needs to be apologized for, then it ought
not to be delivered, and you should be sitting in the audience listening
to somebody else.

Boasting is, of course, very irritating to an audience and should be
avoided, but want of courage and self-confidence is almost as
deplorable. Of course there is no merit in self-confidence that is not
well founded in sterling ability.

Somebody said, "The man who knows not, and knows not that he knows not,
is ignorant, avoid him; the man who knows not, and knows that he knows
not, is simple, teach him; the man who knows, and knows not that he
knows, is timid, encourage him; the man who knows, and knows that he
knows, is wise, follow him."




In traveling through the country on a street-speaking tour about the
first thing a speaker observes is the poor judgement shown by the local
comrades in the selection of street corners for their meetings. The
chosen corner is usually where the down-and-outs and drunks congregate
and is hemmed about by cheap noisy saloons. If a speaker is to be in a
town one or two nights he can hardly show the local comrades their
error. If I am to be in a town any longer I look through the town during
the day and early evening and pick out a down-town corner where there is
a steady flow of average citizens and nobody will stop unless they stop
to listen. Then the night after making the announcement at the old stand
I begin a revolution in the method of running street meetings. I have no
hard feelings against drunks but they are useless and worse in a street
meeting. There are two reasons for the present bad selection of corners
in so many cities. First, it is easier for a poor speaker to get an
audience where there are hangers-out waiting to be entertained. Second,
the city authorities like to have Socialist speaking done where it will
not reach the live members of the community. A change of corners
sometimes means a hard fight with the police but if the proper methods
are used victory is sure and the result is always worth the labor spent.


Street speaking is widely different from hall lecturing and this the
reason so many speakers succeed at one and fail at the other. The hall
lecturer opens easily and paves the way for the treatment of his theme,
but the street speaker would get no crowd or a small one by such a

He must plunge at once into the heart of his talk and put as much energy
into addressing the first dozen as when his crowd grows larger. As soon
as he adapts his voice and manner to the size of his crowd the crowd
will stop growing. The only way to add another hundred is to talk as if
they were already there.

A hall lecture should have one subject and stick to it because the
audience is the same in its composition throughout. At a street meeting
about half the audience is constantly changing, and hopping from one
question to another has many advantages. A street speaker must be
interesting or he will lose his crowd, and the better his crowd the
sooner he will lose it. If he is talking to "bums" they will stay
whether he talks or not, but if he has an audience of people who have
other things awaiting their attention they will pass on the moment the
speaker loses his grip.

This is why telling stories at street meetings is not so good a thing as
some unobserving speakers suppose. No matter how good a story is, it has
a tendency to break up a crowd. I noticed it often before I caught the
reason. A story always carries its own conclusion and it thereby makes a
sort of a breaking off place in a speech like the end of a chapter in a
book. At the end of a good story the audience will laugh and take a
moments rest. For about a minute your spell is broken and men whom you
might of held the rest of the evening remember during that minute that
they have stayed too long already. Of course this does not apply to a
story of two or three sentences thrust into the middle of an argument
without breaking or closing it. Longer stories may be used to advantage
but they are not very useful to a speaker who has much to say and knows
how to say it. Of course wit is a valuable factor but wit shows itself
in a lightning dart, not in a long story.

The street speaker should use short sentences of simple words. He should
avoid oratory and talk as if he were telling something to another man
and in dead earnest about it. I have watched a man talk to another man
on the street forgetting the outside world completely and using forceful
language and eloquent gestures. If such a man could only talk like that
to an audience he would be surprised at his own success. Put him before
an audience and his natural manner disappears, he shuffles his feet,
does not know what to do with his hands, and brings forth a voice nobody
ever heard him use before.


As to people who disturb your meeting, if you are speaking in hobo-dom
you may well despair. There are so many drunks, that interruptions are
constant and irrepressible, and every interruption breaks your grip on
the audience. Moral: Don't speak there.

On a corner where you get an audience of typical working men
disturbances are rare and in a majority of cases if they are not easily
suppressed it is lack of tact on the part of the speaker. A speaker
should never try to be smart at the expense of a man in the audience,
even when he speaks out of his turn. A courteous explanation of why you
wish him to keep his questions until after your speech is much better.
If he persists after that, he is either an ignoramus or drunk. If drunk
ask two or three of your supporters in the audience to lead him off down
the street. If he is a natural fool the problem is not so easy. But if
you keep unbroken courtesy and he keeps up his unprovoked interruptions
some indignant person standing near will abate the nuisance with a punch
in the eye--which is the most effectual method in such cases.


There is no easier task in the world than to defeat the police
authorities in a free speech fight. In the few cases where we lose it is
our own fault. The police are usually acting under orders when making
arrests and nothing is gained by making bitter enemies of them unless
they treat you brutally.

A cool head, a disposition to reason the matter out with the district
attorney, the chief of police, the mayor, or in the courts, without ever
offering to compromise your speaking rights, will always triumph. The
realization by the authorities that they are in a dirty and tyrannical
business is one of your strongest weapons. Courtesy and persuasive but
firm and unflinching reasoning makes them more conscious of their
humiliating part in the matter. If you do or say foolish or offensive
things they will forget their conscience in their anger, and give you a
fight for which you alone are to blame.

There are a few exceptions to this rule; cases where the authorities are
bent on victory; even then there is no excuse for losing your head. But
you must give them all the fight they want and never under any
circumstances show the white feather or accept anything less than all
you need to make your meeting successful. In handling the police and
their relations to street meetings the New York comrades have set other
cities an example to go by. The comrades select any corners they please
and during the day notify the police by telephone that Socialist
meetings will be held that evening on such and such corners and a
policeman is instructed to protect each meeting. The New York comrades
have had many hard battles with the police to keep this system, and they
have reason to be proud of the result.

The permit system is all right if it does not keep you from the corners
you wish to use. If it does, the best thing is to fight it out for a new
arrangement or the right to hold your meetings without arrangements. If
you conduct your case properly the public will be overwhelmingly on your
side. It is good at such times to "view with alarm" the introduction of
Russian methods into "free" America. If there is real intelligence on
the other side your opponents will soon conclude that you are getting
more publicity for your ideas out of the police fight than you could
ever get at peaceful street meetings. After this light has dawned you
will proceed undisturbed.


A man who does a day's work in a shop and speaks on a street corner in
the evening has about as much chance of becoming an effective speaker as
he would have of becoming an effective musician, physician or lawyer by
the same method. It is necessary, however, to train before going wholly
into the work just as a man studies law evenings, before starting out as
a lawyer.

In New York, Socialist street meetings are a force and count for a great
deal, because the committee keeps a staff of capable speakers on salary
to do nothing else. In Chicago street, speaking is a failure and many
have concluded we should be better without it. This is because Chicago
lacks the enterprise to follow the example of New York and depends on
voluntary, haphazard, untrained, inefficient speaking.

New York, I believe, spends a good deal of money on its street meetings,
and for some reason Chicago does not seem to be able to do that. But
this barrier is not insurmountable. Street meetings with efficient
speakers may be made self-supporting, but professional speakers are the
only ones who have any chance to become efficient to the point of making
their meetings pay a salary and other expenses.

I hardly think it can be done by collections but I know by experience
that it can be done by book-selling.

I worked several weeks in New York one summer at the highest rate they
pay and instead of sending a bill for wages I sent a paper dollar which
represented the surplus from book sales after I had paid myself all that
was due to me, and no collections were taken. My best book-sale at one
meeting was $34 but it would just as easily have gone over $40 if the
supply had held out. $20 to $30 worth of literature can be sold easily
enough on any one of half a dozen corners in New York.

Chicago is not as good as New York but it is at least half as good and a
good speaker could work for $25 a week and make three or four meetings
foot the bill. I did this very easily in Chicago last summer. The
beginner should sell 10c booklets or pamphlets, and elsewhere in this
volume he will find two speeches that will show him how to do it. At a
street meeting he need not make these speeches in detail, but just give
the pith of them.

After a while 25c books may be sold, and with practice and hard study
50c books will sell readily. This question is more fully dealt with in
the next chapter.

About two different books may be sold effectively at the meeting; one
early in the meeting and the other about the close. The closing book
talk however, should be begun while the meeting is at its full strength.

One street meeting that puts ten to twenty dollars worth of good books
into circulation is worth a dozen where the only result is the
remembrance of what the speaker said.



The tones of the speaker's voice fade away and are forever lost. Too
often the ideas which the voice proclaimed drift into the background and
presently disappear. This is the crowning limitation of public speaking.
The lecturer should be, first of all, an educator, and his work should
not be "writ in water." The lazy lecturer who imagines that his duties
to his audience end with his peroration is unfaithful to his great
calling. Lazy lecturers are not very numerous as they are certain of a
career curtailed from lack of an audience.

There are some lecturers, however, who see nothing of importance in
their work except the delivering of their lectures. And the educational
value of such workers is only a fraction of what it might be. Life is
not so long for the strongest of us, nor are the results that can be
achieved by the most gifted such that we can afford to waste the best of
our opportunities. This article is not intended as a sermon, but if as
lecturers we are to be educators we must not neglect to use the greatest
weapons against ignorance in the educational armory--books.

The books here referred to are not the volumes in the lecturer's own
library. They, of course, are indispensable. There have been men who
felt destined to be lecturers without the use of mere "book learning,"
but they never lived long enough to find out why the public did not take
them at their own estimate.

The man who undertakes to deal with a subject without first reading, and
as far as possible, mastering, the best books on that subject, would no
more be a lecturer than a man who tried to cut a field of wheat with a
pocket-knife would be a farmer.

Any good lecture of an hour and a quarter has meant ten to fifty hours'
hard reading. There is much in the reading that cannot possibly appear
in the lecture. Another lecture on a related theme or one widely
different, has probably suggested itself. I remember while rummaging in
history to find proofs and illustrations of "The Materialistic
Conception of History," which conception I was to defend presently in a
public debate, gathering the scheme of a course of four lectures on the
significance of the great voyages of the middle ages--a course which
proved very successful when delivered about a month later.

Again, the reading furnishes a great deal of material on the question of
the lecture itself which cannot be put into it for sheer lack of time.
This is why a lecture always educates the lecturer much more than it
does the hearer. The hearer therefore labors under two great
disadvantages. First, he forgets much that he hears, and, second, there
is so much that he does not hear at all.

The first handicap can be removed by the printing of the lectures. The
second is not so easily disposed of.

A lecturer may state in three minutes an idea which has cost many days'
reading. The idea has great importance to the speaker and, if he is a
master of his art, he will impress its importance on his hearers. That
is what his art is for. But that idea will never illume the hearer's
brain as the lecturer's until the hearer knows as does the lecturer what
there is back of it.

There is only one way in which this can be done--the hearer must have
access to the same sources of knowledge as the lecturer. This does not
necessarily mean that every hearer should have a lecturer's library. It
does mean, however, that there are some books which should be read by

The lecturer himself is the best judge as to which books belong to this
category. In number they range anywhere from a dozen up, according to
the ambitions of the reader.

My method of dealing with this problem has been to take one book at a
time, tell the audience about it and see that the ushers were ready to
supply all demands. In this way I have sold more than two whole editions
of Boelsche's book "The Evolution of Man." In one week speaking in half
a dozen different cities I sold an entire edition of my first book
"Evolution, Social and Organic." One Sunday morning this spring at the
Garrick meeting at the close of a five-minute talk about Paul Lafargue's
"Social and Philosophic Studies" the audience, in three minutes, bought
250 copies, and more than a hundred would-be purchasers had to wait
until the following Sunday for a new supply. A few Sundays later
Blatchford's "God and My Neighbor," a dollar volume, had a sale of 204
copies--the total book sale for that morning reaching what I believe is
the record for a Socialist meeting--$220.00. The last lecture of this
season (April, 1910,) had a book sale of $190.00, which included 380
paper back copies of Sinclair's "Prince Hagen."

These figures are given to show that this work can be done, and if it is
not done the lecturer alone is to blame. Anyone who can lecture at all
can do this with some measure of success. There can be no sane doubt of
its value. About 500 young men in the Garrick audience have built up
small but fine libraries of their own through this advice given in this
way, and there is no part of my work which gives me so great

I never allow my audience to imagine for a moment that my book talk is a
mere matter of selling something. There will always be one or two in the
audience who will take that view--natural selection always overlooks a
few chuckle-heads.

Now let us tabulate some of the results that may be obtained in this

(1) By getting these books into the hands of our hearers we give our
teachings from the platform a greater permanence in their minds. We not
only help them to knowledge, but put them in the way of helping
themselves directly. This alone is, justification enough, but it is not

(2) We encourage the publication of just those books which in our
estimation contain the principles which we regard as destined to promote
the happiness of mankind.

(3) The difference between the wholesale and retail prices is often
enough to make successful a lecture course which would have otherwise
died prematurely of bankruptcy. Where a meeting cannot live on the
collection, the book sales may mean financial salvation. The morning we
sold $220 of books at the Garrick we also took a collection of $80.
Without the book sales $80 would have been the total receipts, and this
collection was normal. Yet the Garrick meetings cost $140 each. After we
had paid the publisher's bill we had a balance from book sales of $120,
which made the total receipts not $80 but $200. And this is among the
least important results of book selling.

Everything, of course, depends on the book talk. I will now give sample
book talks which any speaker may commit to memory and use, probably with
results that will be a surprise and an encouragement.



We are by this time agreed that the sale of the proper books at lecture
meetings is greatly to be desired. In this article we shall consider the
chief instrument by which this is attained--the book talk.

We might treat this theme by laying down general rules as to the
elements which enter into the make-up of a successful book talk, but
while this is necessary it is not enough--so many speakers seem to find
it very difficult to apply rules. This part of the question will be
treated in a few sentences.

A book talk, to be successful, must answer the following questions:

(1) Who wrote the book? It is not, of course, simply a question as to
the author's name, but his position and his competence to write on the
subject, etc.

(2) What object had the author in view?

(3) What is the main thesis of the book?

(4) Why is it necessary that the hearer should read the book?

Above all, a book talk should be interesting. How often have we seen a
speaker begin a book talk at a meeting by destroying all interest and
making sales almost impossible! The speaker holds up a book in view of
the audience and says: "Here is a book I want you to buy and read." That
settles it. The public has been taught to regard all efforts to sell
things as attacks upon their pocketbooks, and the speaker who begins by
announcing his intention to sell, at once makes himself an object of
suspicion. In the commercial world it is held and admitted that a seller
is seeking his own benefit and the advantages to the buyer are only
incidental. In our case this is largely reversed, but that does not
justify the speaker in rousing all the prejudices lying dormant in the
hearer's mind.

A good book talk thoroughly captures the interest of the audience before
they know the book is on hand and is going to be offered for sale. About
the middle of the talk the listener should be wondering if you are going
to tell where the book can be obtained and getting ready to take down
the publisher's address when you give it.

His interest increases, and toward the close he learns to his great
delight that you have anticipated his desires and he can take the volume
with him when he leaves the meeting.

This is a good method, but where one is to make many book talks to much
the same audience there are a great many ways in which it can be varied.

I will now submit a book talk which has enabled me to sell thousands of
copies of the book it deals with. This is a ten-cent book, and this
price is high enough for the speaker's experiments. The speaker will
later find it surprisingly easy, when he has mastered the art _to sell
fifty-cent and dollar books_.

The speaker may use the substance of this talk in his own language, or,
commit it to memory and reproduce it verbatim. Any one who finds the
memorizing beyond his powers should abandon public speaking and devote
his energies to something easy.



    For some time previous to the year 1875 the German Socialist
    party had been divided into two camps--the Eisenachers and the
    Lassallians. About that time they closed their ranks and
    presented to the common enemy a united front. So great was their
    increase of strength from that union that they were determined
    never to divide again. They would preserve their newly won unity
    at all costs.

    No sooner was this decision made than it seemed as if it was
    destined to be overthrown. Professor Eugene Dühring, Privat
    Docent of Berlin University, loudly proclaimed himself a convert
    to Socialism. When this great figure from the bourgeois
    intellectual world stepped boldly and somewhat noisily into the
    arena, there was not wanting a considerable group of young and
    uninitiated members in the party who flocked to his standard and
    found in him a new oracle.

    This would have been well enough if Dühring had been content to
    take Socialism as he found it or if he had been well enough
    informed to make an intelligent criticism of it and reveal any
    mistakes in its positions. But he was neither the one or the
    other. He undertook, without the slightest qualification for the
    task, to overthrow Marx and establish a new Socialism which
    should be free from the lamentable blunders of the Marxian

    Marx was a mere bungler and the whole matter must be set right
    without delay. This was rather a large task, but the Professor
    went at it in a large way. He did it in the approved German
    manner. Germany would be forever disgraced if any philosopher
    took up a new position about anything without going back to the
    first beginnings of the orderly universe in nebulous matter, and
    showing that from that time on to the discovery of the latest
    design in tin kettles everything that happened simply went to
    prove his new theory.

    Dühring presented a long suffering world with three volumes
    that were at least large enough to fill the supposed aching
    void. These were: "A Course of Philosophy," "A Course of
    Political and Social Science" and "A Critical History of
    Political Economy and Socialism."

    These large volumes gave Dühring quite a standing among
    ill-informed Socialists, who took long words for learning, and
    obscurity for profundity. His followers became so numerous that
    a new division of the ranks threatened and it became clear that
    Dühring's large literary output must be answered.

    There was a man in the Socialist movement at that time who was
    pre-eminently fitted for that task, who for over thirty years
    had proven himself a master of discussion and an accomplished
    scholar--Frederick Engels.

    Engels' friends urged him to rid the movement of this new
    intellectual incubus. Engels pleaded he was already over busy
    with those tasks, which show him to have been so patient and
    prolific a worker. Finally, realizing the importance of the
    case, he yielded.

    Dühring had wandered all over the universe to establish his
    philosophy, and in his reply Engels would have to follow him. So
    far from this deterring Engels, it was just this which made his
    task attractive. He says in his preface of 1892:

    "I had to treat of all and every possible subject, from the
    concepts of time and space to Bimetalism; from the eternity of
    matter and motion to the perishable nature of moral ideas; from
    Darwin's natural selection to the education of youth in a future
    society. Anyhow, the systematic comprehensiveness of my opponent
    gave me the opportunity of developing, in opposition to him, and
    in a more connected form than had previously been done, the
    views held by Marx and myself of this great variety of subjects.
    And that was the principal reason which made me undertake this
    otherwise ungrateful task."

    Dealing with the same point, in his biographical essay on
    Engels, Kautsky says:

    "Dühring was a many-sided man. He wrote on Mathematics and
    Mechanics, as well as on Philosophy and Political Economy,
    Jurisprudence, Ancient History, etc. Into all these spheres he
    was followed by Engels, who was as many-sided as Dühring but in
    another way. Engels' many-sidedness was united with a
    fundamental thoroughness which in these days of specialization
    is only found in a few cases and was rare even at that time. * * *
    It is to the superficial many-sidedness of Dühring that we
    owe the fact, that the 'Anti-Dühring' became a book which
    treated the whole of modern science from the Marx-Engels
    materialistic point of view. Next to 'Capital' the
    'Anti-Dühring' has become the fundamental work of modern

    Engels' reply was published in the Leipsic "Vorwärts," in a
    series of articles beginning early in 1877, and afterwards in a
    volume entitled, "Mr. Dühring's Revolution in Science." This
    book came to be known by its universal and popular title:

    After the appearance of this book Dühring's influence
    disappeared. Instead of a great leader in Socialism, Dühring
    found himself regarded as a museum curiosity, so much so that
    Kautsky, writing in 1887, said:

    "The occasion for the 'Anti-Dühring' has been long forgotten.
    Not only is Dühring a thing of the past for the Social
    Democracy, but the whole throng of academic and platonic
    Socialists have been frightened away by the anti-Socialist
    legislation, which at least had the one good effect to show
    where the reliable supports of our movement are to be found."

    Out of Anti-Dühring came the most important Socialist pamphlet
    ever published, unless, perhaps, we should except "The Communist
    Manifesto," though even this is by no means certain. In 1892
    Engels related the story of its birth:

    "At the request of my friend, Paul Lafargue, now representative
    of Lille in the French Chamber of Deputies, I arranged three
    chapters of this book as a pamphlet, which he translated and
    published in 1880, under the title: "Socialism, Utopian and
    Scientific." From this French text a Polish and a Spanish
    edition was prepared. In 1883, our German friends brought out
    the pamphlet in the original language. Italian, Russian, Danish,
    Dutch and Roumanian translations, based upon the German text,
    have since been published. Thus, with the present English
    edition, this little book circulates in ten languages. I am not
    aware that any other Socialist work, not even our "Communist
    Manifesto" of 1848 or Marx's "Capital," has been so often
    translated. In Germany it has had four editions of about 20,000
    copies in all."

    The man who has the good fortune to become familiar with the
    contents of this pamphlet in early life will never, in after
    life, be able to estimate its full value as a factor in his
    intellectual development. I have persuaded many people to buy it
    and have invariably given them this advice: "Keep it in your
    coat pocket by day and under your pillow by night, and read it
    again and again until you know it almost by heart."

At this point you may hold up the pamphlet and announce its price. If
this is done before the lecture, have the ushers pass through the
audience, each with a good supply, and beginning at the front row and
working rapidly so as not to unnecessarily delay the meeting. If the
sale is at the close of the meeting announce that copies may be had
while leaving and have your ushers in the rear so as to meet the
audience. A good deal depends on having live and capable ushers. Our big
sales at the Garrick are due to ushers being past masters in their art.



    In the year 1848--over sixty years ago--Scientific Socialism was
    born. Almost every objection we now hear against Socialism holds
    only against the utopian Socialism which died and was discarded
    by Socialists more than half a century ago.

    The birth of Scientific Socialism came as the result of the
    discovery of a great new truth. This truth revolutionized all
    our ideas about society just as Darwin's discovery, eleven years
    later, revolutionized our notions of organic life.

    From 1848 forward there was no need for speculations and guesses
    as to how the world will be in the future or how it might be now
    if it were not as it is. From that time we knew that the present
    was carried in the womb of the past and the future is already
    here in embryo.

    If you think you know the main outlines of the future society
    yet cannot find those outlines already developing in the society
    about you, you are nursing a delusion. You belong to the
    Socialism of Utopia--if your future society is not already here
    in part, it is "nowhere," as Utopia means.

    We know today that science does not consist of a mere collection
    of facts. The facts of course are necessary, but science comes
    only when we push through the facts and find the laws behind

    The discovery that gave birth to Scientific Socialism had to do
    with history. This discovery changed our ideas as to what
    constitutes history. The rise and fall of kings, tales of bloody
    wars, the news of camp and courts; these were supposed to be all
    that was important in history. This has been well called: "Drum
    and trumpet history."

    Since 1848 history is the story of the development of human
    society. The introduction of machinery overshadows all kings and
    courts in history, as we now know it, because it played a
    greater part in social development than ten thousand kings.

    History itself is not a science but it is one of the chief parts
    of "the science of society"--sociology.

    Historical movement like all movement proceeds by law. When Karl
    Marx discovered the central law of history he became the real
    founder of modern sociology. His discovery of this law of
    history ranks with Newton's discovery of gravity or the
    Copernican revolution in astronomy. It ranks Marx as one of the
    men whose genius created a new epoch in human thinking.

    Marx made the discovery before 1848, but that date is immortal
    because in that year it was published to the world. That date
    ranks with 1859 when the "undying Darwin" gave us "The Origin of

    The book was not intended for a book and became a book only by
    reason of its great importance. It was published as a political
    manifesto--the manifesto of "The Communist League." Hence its
    name--"The Communist Manifesto." This book is the foundation and
    starting point of Scientific Socialism and is indispensable to
    all students of social science or social questions.

    The book itself explains why it is not "The Socialist Manifesto"
    as we might have expected. At that time the various groups using
    Socialist as a title were Utopian and some of them positively
    reactionary. There is a description and analysis of these groups
    in the third chapter which shows why Marx had no part in them.
    Their advocates know nothing of the new historical principle
    which now stands at the center of Socialist thought and which
    has successfully withstood half a century of searching

    This great new principle is called: "The Materialistic
    Conception of History." It is not mentioned by name in the
    manifesto, but it is there like a living presence spreading
    light in dark places of history which had never been penetrated
    by previous thinkers. The key to all history is found in methods
    of producing and distributing material wealth. Out of the
    changes in this field all other social changes come.

    Forty years later Frederick Engels gave completeness to the
    Manifesto by adding a preface which defines the main theory,
    gives an estimate of its value, and explains his part as
    co-author with Marx.

    No other book can ever take the place of the Communist
    Manifesto. Its value grows with the passing years. It was the
    first trumpet blast to announce the coming of the triumphant

    The Manifesto's first two chapters and its closing paragraph are
    beyond all price. They are without parallel in the literature of
    the world. They sparkle like "jewels on the stretched forefinger
    of all time."

Here the speaker may show the book and state its price, and proceed with
the selling. If the sale is made while the audience is leaving, nothing
further need be said, and if the sale is the last thing in the meeting
it is useless to ask the audience to remain seated during the sale. They
get irritated and the meeting breaks up in confusion. See that your
salesmen are posted at the exits where they will face the audience as it
leaves. At one big meeting in Pittsburg where the sales of a fifty cent
book reached over sixty dollars they would have been double but some of
the sellers came to the front, and while the audience was clamoring for
books which could not be had at the doors, these sellers were following
the audience in the rear with armfuls which they had no chance to sell.

If the sale is made before the lecture while the sellers are passing
through the audience the speaker should continue speaking of the book so
as to sustain interest. There will be no loss of time making change if
the right priced books are sold. 10c, 25c, 50c or $1 are right prices.
At a public meeting it is a mistake to try to sell a book at an odd
price as 15c or 35c or 60c. The demand dies and the audience gets
impatient while the sellers are trying to make change.

The speaker who endeavors to make a success of book-selling at his
meetings will find his labors doubled. The larger his sales the greater
his labors. On my last western trip I sold on an average half a trunk
full of books at each meeting and I had no spare moment from the work of
ordering by telegram and rushing around to express offices and getting
the books to the meetings. But the rewards are great. My trips are
always a financial success and the books I leave scattered on my trail
do far more good than the lectures I delivered.



In concluding this series I will group several items of importance which
did not suggest themselves under any previous head.

Gestures should be carefully watched, especially at the beginning, when
future habits are in the process of formation. They should not be
affected or mechanical like those of the child reciting something of
which it does not understand the sense.

A good story is told of the old preacher who could weep at will and
marked his manuscript "weep here;" but, on one unfortunate occasion, to
the great consternation of his congregation, got his signals mixed, and
wept profusely during a reference to the recent marriage of two of his

Never allow your thumb and fingers, especially the thumb, to stick out
from the palm at right angles like pens stuck in a potato.

Never work the forearm from the elbow "pump-handle" fashion, but always
move the arms from the shoulders. Do not move the palms of your hands
toward yourself as if you were trying to gather something in, mesmerist
fashion, but always outward as is natural in giving something forth.

Cultivate a narrative style. History, poetry, and all forms of
literature take their origin in the story-teller who once discharged all
their functions. The so-called dry facts of science, well told, make a
"story" of surpassing interest.

If young, let no man despise thy youth. Plunge boldly in, blunder if
needs be, but do something; experiment with your theories. Let the
veteran who has no sympathy with your crude efforts "go to pot." The
lapse of years has made his early inflictions look to him like the
masterpieces of Burke and Chatham.

Never slight a small audience. Do your best as though you had a crowded
theater. If you speak listlessly to a small gathering in a town, depend
on it next time you go there it will be still smaller.

Preserve your health and take especial care of your throat. The speaker
who doesn't smoke has a great advantage, and when the throat is at all
relaxed smoking should be eschewed. The most dangerous time to smoke is
immediately after the close of a lecture. Then the cells are all exposed
from recent exercise, and it is positively wicked to so abuse them with
tobacco fumes when they have served you so well. It is equally wicked to
scald them with "straight" liquor. Any speaker who persists in either of
these habits will pay a heavy penalty. If these things must be done, at
least wait an hour or two after speaking.

All this is just so much more true of street speaking as the throat is
more exhausted by the louder tone.

When you have worked out your lecture, and are waiting for the hour to
strike, test its merit by this question: Does it contain enough valuable
information to make a distinct addition to the education of an average
listener? If you cannot affirm this, whatever merits otherwise it may
have, fundamentally, it fails. When the enthusiasm has worn off, your
audience should be able to decide that, in its acquaintance with modern
knowledge, a distinct step forward has been made. Anything else is
building on sand.

Always be firm, positive, courageous. First get a mastery of the
question, and then let your audience realize that you know what you are
talking about. The great merit of a certain speaker of long ago, seems
to have been that "he spake with authority." Remember truth is not
decided by counting heads, and if you are correct, even though the
majority, in some cases in your own audience, may be against you, they
will be obliged eventually to come to your position. True, in the
meantime you may be obliged to suffer a temporary eclipse, but this is
one of the permanent possibilities of the career of the real teacher.

Weigh carefully, investigate thoroughly, consult the authorities, be
sure of your ground and prepared to defend it against all comers, and

  "Plunge deep the rowels of thy speech,
  Hold back no syllable of fire."

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Art of Lecturing - Revised Edition" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.