Adios, Strunk and White: A Handbook for the New Academic Essay, Third Edition

ISBN: 9780937363140
Publisher: Verve Pr
Edition: 1st
Publication Date: 1997-05
Number of pages: 216
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ADIOS, STRUNK AND WHITE is subtitled "A Handbook for the New Academic Essay," but the ideas for creating original writing, style and alternative organizational forms apply to all writing tasks: scientific and creative non-fiction; business and personal.

The STYLE section offers a veritable linguistic palette for shaping and modulating written tone, underscoring content with "Flow" (ways for fearlessly generating long, grammatical sentences which capture complex realities), "Pause" (ways for dramatically creating emphasis and punch), "Fusion" (ways for crafting non-flowery, economical metaphors to compress and edit), and "Opt" (ways for altering perception by using first, second, and third person point of view).

The strategies in the FORM section are presented by problem-solution arrangement, the Hoffmans first identifying typical hurdles writers face when narrating, defining, arguing and intensifying: the difficulty of capturing a fleeting reality, the challenge of breaking through a reader’s cliché ideas, the need to deconstruct a self righteous position. Once the problem is explicated, the authors offer practical, original solutions: how to suspend time, how to bust clichés, how to mock, and finally how to "punch up" any piece of writing, with "Nettings," "Echoings," and "Masqueradings." At the end of the Form section, the Hoffmans offer four suggestions for transitioning between disparate strategies. The last section, aptly titled HEADWORK, offers a streamlined approach to critical thinking which includes a chapter on distinguishing between deductive and inductive reasoning, another chapter covering the pitfalls of critical analysis (i.e. logical fallacies and euphemism), the third section finally ending with swift counsel about conducting pertinent research—sound advice for graduate students, historians, and scientists.

All sections cull from such diverse sources as THE NEW YORKER, KITCHEN CONFIDENTIAL, bird handbooks, and satiric posters, and include writers as varied as Aristotle and David Foster Wallace—the breadth of examples engaging both the rogue student and serious scholar. Writing concepts are presented in a conversational tone with helpful terminology that makes the most complicated principles of writing accessible. The book is full of startling, yet practical advice.

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