[My father] relied wholly on his tongue as an instrument of domestic discipline. And here that fatal bent toward dramatization and rhetoric produced a pathetic yet comic result. When he opened his mouth to reprove us he no doubt intended a short well-chosen appeal to our common sense and conscience. But alas, he had been a public speaker long before he became a father. Words came to him and intoxicated him as they came. What actually happened was that a small boy who had walked on damp grass in his slippers or left the bathroom in a pickle found himself attacked with something like Cicero on Cataline, or Burke on Warren Hastings; simile piled on simile, rhetorical question on rhetorical question, the flash of an orator's eye and the thundercloud of an orator's brow, the gestures, the cadences, the pauses. [...] While he spoke, he forgot not only the offense, but the capacities of his audience. All the resources of his immense vocabulary were poured forth. I can still remember such words as 'abominable", "sophisticated", and "surreptitious". You will not get the full flavor unless you know an angry Irishman's energy in explosive consonants and the rich growl of his r's."
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Surprised by Lewis
Earlier in the week I was reduced to laughing fits trying to read through C.S. Lewis' account of his early life in "Surprised by Joy". Somehow I knew what was coming and the anticipation made the ecstasy worse.
p. 22-23, Surprised by Joy, as collected in The Inspirational Writings of C.S. Lewis.