The Institute: Champion & Professional

Elocutionary Work

News & Notices

Elocution is the Art, or the Act of so delivering our own thoughts and sentiments, or the thoughts and sentiments of others, as not only to convey to those around us ... the full purport and meaning of the words and sentences in which those thoughts are cloathed; but, also, to excite and impress upon their minds - the feelings, the imaginations and the passions by which those thoughts are dictated, or with which they should naturally be accompanied. (John Thelwall, "Introductory Discourse on the Nature and Objects of Elocutionary Science", 1806).

Thelwall's Institute (for the Cure of Impediments of Speech, Instruction of Foreigners, Cultivation of Oratory, English Composition and Polite Literature) was the fulfillment of his lifelong mission to champion, enfranchise and educate the public voice of Britain. Conceived in discussion with George Birkbeck and briefly established in Liverpool in 1805, it flourished in London for 15 years (1806-1821), at fashionable addresses in Bedford Place and Lincoln's Inn Fields, before lapsing into more modest surroundings in Pall Mall East and Regent's Park in the late 1820s. At its height, it offered complete liberal education and consistent programs of therapy for adults and children, men and women, native and foreign speakers, the healthy and the disabled, through individual lessons, a 4000-book library, an Historical and Oratorical Society, and public lectures, recitations and performances that attracted and entertained the curious, the cultivated, and the ambitious at home and abroad. Here Thelwall developed his groundbreaking theories and practice of elocutionary science, speech therapy and pedagogy, and published case studies, essays and memoirs, along with original verse, exercises and anthologies for use in recitation, and periodical journalism, including his newspaper The Champion.

The Institute pages highlight the lifelong nature of Thelwall's scientific interests with an Archive of elocutionary, pedagogical and scientific work, as well as his journalism both early and late. The Institute Forum provides a wiki bulletin board posting news and notices, including calls for papers, announcements of publications and conferences of interest to Thelwallians.

John Thelwall:
Words and Work

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