Article

Lectures and the Lyceum Movement

Kent P. Ljungquist

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195331035.013.0023

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Lectures and the Lyceum Movement

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This article is about lectures and the lyceum movement. The lecture form has a long history that antedated the advent of a coherent network of public speaking. In its initial phase, the lyceum movement stressed the importance of mutual instruction and random lectures. Many early lecturers were local residents, commonly clergymen or lawyers, speaking before audiences in their own towns or villages. The article states that although New England remained a stronghold of the lyceum movement, settlers moved into Ohio, the old Western Reserve, where expanding literacy rates supported both the extension of the public lecture and new periodicals such as the Western Messenger, admired by many Transcendentalists. Theodore Parker and Emerson were much in favor of the lecture form. Emerson even noted that the “orator is the most American of Americans”.

Keywords: lyceum movement; lecture form; public lecture; antebellum; orator

Article.  8999 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (19th Century) ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

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