November 04, 2004

American Rhetoric

For those who haven't had enough recently... Michael Eidenmuller's American Rhetoric site has a list of the "top 100 speeches", according to "137 leading scholars of American public address", with transcripts for all but one, and audio for many. The main page has organized links to a "growing database of 5000+ full text, audio and video (streaming) versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews ... and a declaration or two".

If you're unhappy about how the election came out, you could listen to #33, William Faulkner on the "the old verities and truths of the heart ... love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice", or #73, Lou Gehrig's Farewell to Baseball (" have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth"). You should avoid wandering over to the movie speeches section, where you might be tempted to listen to Aragorn's Battle Speech at the Black Gate. If you're pleased with the election results, you could listen to #25, Ronald Reagan's A Time for Choosing ("I'd like to suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There's only an up or down."). And to the extent that your priorities are elsewhere, you could read #84, Ursula Le Guin's Left-Handed Commencement Address ("Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing -- instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. ... Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourishes, where human beings grow human souls.")


Posted by Mark Liberman at November 4, 2004 08:12 AM