COMPLETE TITLE: Chironomia; or a Treatise on Rhetorical Delivery: Comprehending many Precepts, both ancient and modern, for the proper regulation of the Voice, the Countenance and Gesture. Together with an Investigation of the Elements of Gesture and a new Method for the Notation thereof; Illustrated by many Figures. By the Reverend Gilbert Austin, A. M.
PUBLISHER: Printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies, in the Strand; by W. Bulmer, and Co. Cleveland-Row, St. James's.
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Unlike previously published treatises on the subject - John Bulwer, Chirologia: or The Naturall Language of the Hand ... Whereunto is added, Chironomia: Or, the Art of Manual Rethoricke (1644) (see) -, which concentrated mostly on the movements of the hands and fingers, Austin's treatise deals with the entire body. Its goal is to establish a standard notation system for gestures, for educational purposes.
In the first part of the treatise, on which he began working in 1770, Austin surveys the art of declamation from the classic age tor the eighteenth century. The second part of the work is dedicated to the notation system invented by Austin to teach rhetoric students the use of the voice and gestures. The treatise includes a number of engravings depicting the movement described (the various positions of the body, the feet, the arms, the hands, etc.).
In the text, Austin cites extensively Cicero (De Oratore) and Quintilianus (Institutio Oratoria) and mentions the Vacationes autumnales sive de perfecta oratoris actione et pronunciatione (1620) (see) by Louis de Cressolles. In the parts on the voice and facial movements show the influence of A Course of Lectures on Elocution (see) (1762) by Thomas Sheridan and Elements of Elocution (see) (1781) by John Walker.
Anastatic reprint of the first edition: Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press, 1966. Edition by Mary Margaret Robb and Lester Thonssen.
Translation and German adaptation by Christian Friedrich Michaelis: Die Kunst der rednerischen und theatralischen Declamation nach ältern und neuern Grundsätzen über die Stimme, den Gesichtsausdruck und die Gesticulation aufgestellt und durch 152 Figuren erläutert für öffentliche Redner, Schauspieler und Künstler. Mit 25 Kupferplatten, Leipzig, Baumgärtner, 1818 (see).
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