The Time of the Orator

In the older days, men like Dickens would make a substantial living from public speaking. They would travel from town to town, narrating their stories, acting them out for the pleasure of the fans.

Things are a bit different these days. People put public speaking on the same level as a trip to the dentist. It’s a shame, really, but the time of the Orator has been lost. It’s been replaced by television and movies. Not that I have a problem with movies, I’m an addict from way back. I can’t help but wonder what those times would have been like. It’s strange to miss times that were dead before you were born.

2 thoughts on “The Time of the Orator

  1. Interesting! I wonder, though, having just been looking at the Wheeler Centre’s program, whether this age has entirely been lost? Perhaps the modern-day equivalent more often takes the shape of ‘in conversations’ or panels rather than one person declaiming, but writers talking about their stories to booked-out theatrettes (or classrooms) of fans seems to have survived in some form – and for some it’s more lucrative than their royalties. Or did the original orators perform mainly for the illiterate who would otherwise have no access to their work?

    • I’m thinking of oratory as an art form that was cultivated as a part of education. The kind of speaking that was performance art without all the ego puffory. Where family members would perform for one another and it was par for the course. There was no audience participation and yes, it was a great tool for the illiterate

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