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simplified. These simple problems you will find in the old categories of the rhetoric, — Exposition, Argument, Criticism, Narrative, Description. In each of these, as I shall go on to show, the respective importance of the elements of thought and of feeling can be specifically and clearly settled ; and by thus attacking each problem in its simplest form you can see much more easily and clearly how to go to work.
5. Taking in the first place, then, Exposition: its value and its interest lie in its capacity to put the facts before you so perspicuously that you can immediately and completely see their bearing on each other. It satisfies the instinct which I have spoken of, which distinguishes man from the animals, — the instinct for classifying and understanding things. A typical case is Mr. Bryce's “American Commonwealth”: he came over to this country, as he tells us in his introduction, three times; and since each time he was studying constitutions and school systems, distribution of population and habits of life, all as he happened to run across them, his facts must have come to him in an entirely accidental and illogical order. To explain these facts and to reduce the jumble to order and simplicity he had to take them out of the order in which they came to him and throw them into an artificial order. By this rearrangement he made the multitude of complicated facts, which are the life of this great commonwealth, intelligible; so that after reading his book you know with some exactness what you mean when you use the term the
American Commonwealth. He has so laid out this complicated subject before your mind that henceforth your thought of it will be easier and you can have an . adequate grasp of the whole subject.
In all this, so far as the mere explanation goes, it is obvious that feeling has small part: as explanation a formula or a diagram is as perfect as explanation can be. The formula or the diagram, however, bears no relation to models drawn from anything that can be called literature, because it does not, like them, give you also some of the feeling of an individual man about his experience. Mr. Bryce's book, on the other hand, and Tyndall's “ Heat as a Mode of Motion,” and Darwin's “ Origin of Species,” all have the personal quality ; there is in them, both in the structure of the explanation and in the rhythm and structure of the style, the inseparable personal feeling which lifts the explanation out of the barren levels of the abstract into the humanities of literature. For our purposes, then, exposition or explanation is the kind of writing which clearly sets forth some one's individual understanding of a part of his experience. It must first of all satisfy your desire to have the subject simplified, and made easy to understand as a whole; but if it is to fall within the field which I have chosen here, it must also have some personal color,
6. Turning now to Argument, the next conventional division, it is clear that much of what has been said about Exposition is also true here, for no clear
line can be drawn between the two kinds of writing. Darwin, for example, speaks of his “ Origin of Species” as an extended and difficult argument; we think of it nowadays as an exposition. The example is pregnant ; for the difference in point of view points out the real difference between the two kinds of writing: Exposition is explanation when there is only one understanding of the facts or one possible policy ; Argument is explanation when the truth or the right policy is still in debate, and intelligent men can differ. Accordingly, in many cases the best argument is a simple and clear exposition ; and in all arguments there is some explanation. Arguments, however, differ very largely in themselves : between such arguments as the exposition of free trade in Mill's “Political Economy" and a stump speech against free trade there is another difference which again separates Argument from Exposition. When you are simply explaining a subject you assume that you have the truth and that your reader will accept it; when you are arguing you must either displace some view already planted in your reader's mind, or else, finding him passive and neutral, you must rouse him to accept your view. In the latter case, as Professor James would put it 1: Your task is to make the option between the two hypotheses before your reader forced, living, and momentous. An exceedingly good explanation may leave its reader quite unmoved; a good argument never does. Even if it does not convert him, it should at least make him uncomfortable.
Now when we say that Argument must move its reader we begin to pass from the realm of pure thought, in which exposition takes its rise, to that of feeling; for feeling is a necessary preliminary to action. Unless you can make your view cling to your reader's practical or æsthetic interests, you will not convince him. How large a part feelings play in argument you can see if you have ever heard the speech of a demagogue to an excited crowd; it is simply a crass appeal to their lower passions, aided by all the devices of oratory, often perhaps also by a moving presence. A better example is Henry Ward Beecher's Liverpool speech, in which he won a hearing from a hostile mob by an appeal to their sense of fair play. Such cases show how far argument may get from the simple appeal to the understanding, how little it may be confined to the element of thought. The ideal argument, however, like the ideal exposition must have both elements; besides offering a reasonable and logical theory or policy, it must stir the feeling of the people who read it or hear it, and attach itself to their strongest interests and prejudices. The prime quality, therefore, of argument is persuasiveness ; and in so far as the principles of argumentative writing differ from those of expository writing, the difference lies in this larger infusion of feeling.
7. In discussing the next of these regular divisions, Criticism, I shall limit it to the expression of opinions on works of art; in other words, I shall look on Criticism as the expression of cultivated taste.
Here we can assume that we pass at once from the realm of universal truths where all men must sooner or later think alike, to the realm of individual taste where personal feeling controls. Whether I prefer Raphael or Rembrandt or Titian or Millet is a matter of my personal make-up; de gustibus non est disputandum is as true in art as cookery. Here, then, we come to a kind of writing in which the material is drawn wholly from the feelings. Since the method, however, is explanation we are still dealing with a kind of writing in which thought holds a large share. Accordingly, as in the case of Argument, much of what applies to Exposition will be found to apply also to Criticism.
In so far as criticism separates itself from Exposition it does so, as I have just said, because the material with which it deals is dependent on personal feeling. The so-called scientific criticism undertakes, it is true, to explain a work of art by defining the conditions under which it was produced. But even the scientific critic does not try to explain a work of art unless it seems to him to be a work of art: and how much this preliminary definition depends on feelings you can understand in a minute by looking at some of the abundant discussion of either Dickens or Walt Whitman. At the other extreme of criticism, which is apt to be called appreciative or impressionistic, generalizing thought gives away almost entirely to feeling: the critic may concern himself with almost nothing but his own feelings of delight and inspiration in the work before him. Whatever the kind of