John Thelwall was an elocutionist who specialized in speech "impediments." He created a "Seminary" or "Institute" in London for the "Cultivation of the science and practice, and the cure of the impediments of speech." While Thelwall's literary and political works are readily available, his work in elocution is not. These pages provide a source for accessing his contributions to elocution. They provide a historical perspective on today's speech science (prosody) and speech therapy practices. Included in these pages are:

A BIOGRAPHY: The highlights of Thelwall's life, with a special focus on his elocutionary work

GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHY: Thelwall's writings, and writings about him, including literary, political and elocutionary.

ELOCUTION BIBLIOGRAPHY: Thelwall's elocutionary writings

POLITICS AND PRACTICE: The political bases OF Thelwall's elocutionary work

LETTER ABOUT A PARIS TOUR: An unpublished letter that Thelwall wrote to an acquaintance in Paris, arranging for a lecture on elocution

LETTER TO GEORGE DYER: An unpublished letter that Thelwall wrote to George Dyer, asking him to translate ancient writings into English, so Thelwall could analyze their prosodic structure and provide support for his idea for the universality of his prosodic theory.

VITALISM LECTURE: This oft cited lecture, was given in January 1793 by Thelwall to a group of physicians in London. In it he argues against vitalism as a way to distinguish living from inanimate material.


This work was partially supported by a grant from the Wellcome Trust (GR 07955MA, March - May 2006).