Speech, sympathy and eloquence

‘It is a voice full of manly melody'

in Men on trial
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The purpose of oratory had long been understood as moving the passions, a capacity that held special relevance for the culture of sensibility, which placed sympathy at the heart of communication. This chapter explores how lawyers used speech-making to make sympathetic engagements within the courtroom and to persuade listeners to their truth. Speech-making is a bodily practice and this chapter explores how lawyers’ bodies, voices and oratory skill became implicated in the making of manly character and so truth. As truth was produced through sympathetic exchange, emotion was placed at the heart of the legal system. Through the press, the model for manliness presented by lawyers was given public airing, making a claim to Irishness rooted in a polite education, the ability to speak well and to judge with sensibility.

Men on trial

Performing embodiment, emotion and identity in Ireland, 1800-45

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