The Lost Art of Conversation
General Books LLC, 2009 - 142 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1910 Excerpt: ...discussion of a single subject, however important or interesting. Nevertheless the controversial form is distinctly an agreeable and often highly instruc tive form of conversation, and many a society of ordinary people attain to the enjoyment of an excellent evening by encouraging two leading spirits to show their powers. The same good result may be obtained when the company comes together for the purpose of hearing some remarkable person, who is held out as the attraction of the party. It is not conversation, in any real sense, unless it stimulates others to speak; but still we must include in our survey those cases where the funny man, or the Arctic traveller, or the superannuated detective, or the escaped nihilist, undertakes to tell his experiences, and delight us with "real fiction." This is truly the epideictic or show-off style, in which the solitary speaker is supposed to delight and display himself without a rival, or with a rival silenced before him. Indeed, it is matter of common remark that two or three such talkers are apt to neutralise one another and produce no effect. Each is supposed to be afraid of the other, or jealous of the other, and so wanting in that spontaneity or abandon only attained in a congenial atmosphere. This is not my experience of Irish wits, of whom a wise English friend often remarked to me: There is no use in asking one Irishman to dinner; you must ask another to draw him out. Epilogue 60. The theory of conversation here attempted seems to be completely contained in the foregoing paragraphs, so far as the author has been able to investigate it. No doubt many of his readers will wonder that a subject so interesting can be made so dry, and will complain (in spite of 5) that he has not given at leas...
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