The Passions according to John Walker (1781)

Browse the index

Read John Walker’s Introduction

About the Database

John Walker (1732-1807) was an English stage actor, and later an important writer and lecturer on rhetoric. Considered to be one of the first in a generation of elocutionists, he devised innovative methods to instruct rhetoric to his students. Among his important works include Elements of Elocution (1781)A Rhetorical Grammar (1785)The Melody of Speaking Delineated, or Elocution Taught like Muisc (1787), a Rhyming Dictionary (1775), and Pronouncing Dictionary (1791). He was friends with Dr. Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke, who both respected his philological authority. [Read more]

Volume II of his 1781 Elements of Elocution includes an exhaustive list of Passions with detailed descriptions of their characteristics in the body and voice, with instructive examples on how to evoke them. This database has put this section of the book online and made it searchable, for easy access and lookup. It should be easy to look up a specific Affect and determine its main characteristics for performances in oratory or music. 

Disclaimer: As this database exists in its infancy, further work is required to properly format all of the entries and correct errors, as they were quickly transcribed from facsimiles. 


Quick Links to some Affects