January 20, 2007
Lost Art of Rhetoric Being Revived in Coweta County
Rhetorical Rendition Included in Banquet in Newnan on Jan. 30
Prior to the twentieth century Rhetoric was a very important subject in the curriculum of our schools, and was highly regarded because it was defined as the art of skillful public speaking, and it did not have any of the pejorative connotations associated with it today. When our schools turned away from this "classical" education to the various modern forms, speaking skills declined to the point where Rhetoric is now virtually a lost art. Now the pendulum has begun its swing back toward classical education: during the past several years in the State of Georgia ten classical schools have been established including one here in Coweta County.
The Newnan Classical School (NCS) is clearly in line with this trend of reviving the lost art of Rhetoric. At a Banquet it held in 2005 the audience was spellbound by the amazing rhetorical renditions provided by senior year students at The Westminster Academy in Memphis,Tennessee, which has been a mentor for NCS. The NCS Banquet for this year will provide an encore: the entertainment will be a rhetorical delight delivered by Ashley Shaunak, a Senior Rhetoric Student at Westminster. This Banquet will be held on Tuesday, January 20 at 6:30 PM in the Fellowship Hall of the First Baptist Church of Newnan, located on Washington Street in downtown Newnan. This Banquet will also provide an opportunity of learning exactly what is meant by classical education because the banquet will include a talk entitled the Vision of Classical Education by Mr. John Hodges, a member of theWestminster faculty.
This Banquet is open to the public. Anyone wishing to attend should RSVP to Tina Landrum at 770-252-7223, which is the telephone number of Newnan Classical School. Information about the school can be found on its website www.newnanclassical.org.
The revival of classical education has a very interesting background. The written work most responsible for this revival was an essay written in 1947 based on a lecture delivered to Oxford University by an esteemed British intellectual who was part of the Inklings groups that met at C. S. Lewis's house. This was Dorothy Sayers and her essay was entitled "The Lost Tools of Learning". The American effort to re-establish classical schools was fueled by the publication of a book with a take-off on this title Recovering The Lost Tools of Learning. Information on associations of classical schools is available on these websites: www.accsedu.org, www.csionline.org, and www.circeinstitute.org. Sayers' essay can be downloaded by going to Google, entering "Dorothy Sayers", and then clicking on "The Lost Tools of Learning". Sayers thought that these lost tools were really, i.e. irretrievably, lost. Feisty Americans with their "can do" spunk are proving that these tools can be revived.
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