Why do so many writing courses, with their earnest handbooks and narrow focus on "clarity," bore students and fail to teach them how to write well? Richard Lanham provides answers, and an antidote, in the seven witty and provocative chapters of Style: An Anti-Textbook.
1. THE PROSE PROBLEM AND "THE BOOKS" 2. THE USES
OF OBSCURITY ¤ 3. THE OPAQUE STYLE ¤ 4. THE DELIGHTS
OF JARGON ¤ 5. POETIC PROSE ¤ 6. ESSENTIAL
HYPOCRACIES ¤ 7. THE ULTIMATE MORALITY OF MIND
A new program, one that emphasizes writing as "pleasure rather than duty" and allows "words to escape from the penalty box and get back to skating" is Lanham's goal with this updated and expanded edition of his classic. The Anti-Textbook is back!
Also available as an ebook:
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"People seldom write to be clear. They have designs on their fellow men. Pure prose is as rare as pure virtue, and for the same reasons…The Books [Lanham's term for misguided Composition textbooks], written for a man and world yet unfallen, depict a ludicrous process like this: 'I have an idea. I want to present this gift to my fellow man. I fix this thought clearly in mind. I follow the rules. Out comes a prose that gift-wraps thought in transparent paper.' If this sounds like a travesty, it's because it is one. Yet it dominates prose instruction in America." —from Chapter 1
"A necessary manual for those interested in the perpetuation, and the possibilities, of good English prose." —Harper's Magazine
"[Lanham's] style is notable for its audacity, liveliness, and grace." —Times Literary Supplement
"The most applicably provocative book on the subject of prose style available. Imperative reading for all teachers and students of writing." —Choice
Richard A. Lanham is professor emeritus of English at the University of California, Los Angeles and president of Rhetorica, Inc., a consulting and editorial services company. He is the author of numerous books on writing, including A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms, Analyzing Prose, The Electronic Word, and most recently, The Economics of Attention.