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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

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Speech and Drama
GA 282

Note by the Translator

To bring the English-speaking student into touch with this course of lectures by Rudolf Steirer on Speech-forming and Dramatic Art is a bold thing to attempt. I would like to suggest a way in which the student himself can help. Let him try to imagine he is sitting in the lecture room, listening—not reading, but listening, watching the lecturer's movements and gestures, noting changes in his voice and expression,—and let him at the same time remember that what he has before him is only a translation, that has been made from a shorthand report never checked by the lecturer. Frau Marie Steiner made herself responsible until the time of her death for the editing of such reports, and in regard to this course where, as she has pointed out in her Foreword, the conversational, even dramatic character of many of the lectures made the reporting peculiarly difficult, we owe her a special debt.

Where Dr. Steiner speaks of particular speech sounds, the letters in use for those sounds in German as well as in most other European languages) have been retained. A key to the approximate pronunciation of the vowels and of some of the consonants will be found on the pull-out attached to the back cover of the book. All such letters are printed in heavy type, also German words where they are brought forward as examples, and speech exercises.

For the interest of the student, translation of the speech exercises given in Lecture 5, as well as of the verses of poetry recommended for the purpose, also of the meditations given in Lecture 16, have been added in the Notes at the end of the book. Wherever Readings from plays or poems occur, a translation is added in the text. The student should realise that here too it will often be little more than the content of the Reading that the translation can give him. In. regard to the Readings in the German language, if he will take the trouble to carry his knowledge of the pronunciation a little further than our Guide (as can easily be done with the guidance given at the beginning of most German dictionaries and grammars, or with the help of a friend), he will be able to read the passages aloud with a tolerable degree of accuracy, and thus experience for himself in some small measure their sound value. For this possibility we have to thank the fact that German spelling is far more simple and consistent than our own.

Many kind friends have given help in diverse ways in the preparation of this book. Special thanks are due to Mrs. Violet E. Watkin, who has translated several of the German and French Readings and verses; to Mr. Jesse Darrell, who has read the manuscript through and made helpful criticisms; to Miss Maud Surrey, whose long experience has enabled her to give advice an many points; and to my life's friend and companion, George Adams, without whose continual aid and encouragement the task could never have been carried through. I would like also to express my gratitude to Herr Edwin Froböse for his valuable assistance in regard to doubtful or difficult passages in the text, and to the friends at Sunfield for the warm-hearted and practical interest they have taken in the work throughout.

A translation is never final. It is the hope of all who have been concerned in this first published attempt that it may stimulate some lovers of Speech and Drama to enter upon a serious study of what Rudolf Steiner has given in this domain.

Sunfield Childrens Homes,
Clent Grove,