Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose (Second by Francis-Noël Thomas, Mark Turner

By Francis-Noël Thomas, Mark Turner

For greater than a decade, Clear and easy because the Truth has guided readers to contemplate variety now not as a sublime accent of potent prose yet as its very middle. Francis-Noël Thomas and Mark Turner current writing as an highbrow task, no longer a passive program of verbal abilities. In vintage kind, the rationale is fact, the aim is presentation, the reader and author are highbrow equals, and the celebration is casual. This normal type of presentation is at domestic all over, from enterprise memos to non-public letters and from journal articles to scholar essays. each person talks approximately variety, yet nobody explains it. The authors of this booklet do; and in doing so, they impress the reader to contemplate sort, no longer as a sublime accent of potent prose, yet as its very heart.

At a time whilst writing abilities have almost disappeared, what might be performed? If basically humans realized the foundations of verbal correctness, the basic ideas, would not solid prose easily fall into position? Thomas and Turner say no. getting to ideas of grammar, experience, and sentence constitution will not more result in potent prose than realizing the mechanics of a golfing swing will bring about a hole-in-one. in addition, ten-step courses to raised writing exacerbate the matter by way of failing to acknowledge, as Thomas and Turner indicate, that there are various kinds with varied standards.

The booklet is split into 4 components. the 1st, "Principles of vintage Style," defines the fashion and contrasts it with a few others. "The Museum" is a guided journey via examples of writing, either beautiful and execrable. "The Studio," new to this variation, offers a sequence of dependent workouts. ultimately, "Further Readings in vintage Prose" deals an inventory of extra examples drawn from a number of instances, areas, and matters. A significant other web site, classicprose.com, deals supplementary examples, shows, and observation, and contours a variety of items written by way of scholars in classes that used Clear and straightforward because the Truth as a textbook.

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Additional info for Clear and Simple as the Truth: Writing Classic Prose (Second Edition)

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In La Rochefoucauld’s classic sentence, the last section is the conclusion of all that has gone before it; the beginning of the sentence exists for the end, and the sentence is constructed so that we can anticipate arriving at such a conclusion. In Johnson’s sentence, by contrast, the final phrase, “flatter themselves that the regard which is yet denied by envy, will be at last bestowed by time,” is not a conclusion upon which the rest of the sentence depends. It might have come in the middle of the sentence.

He presents his subject according to the order of reason, represented—not coincidentally, for the supremely rational classic mind—as identical to the order of discovery. Assimilating intellectual experience to the order of reason is a matter of course in classic style. Descartes’s little book is among the most accessible of recognized philosophic classics in the Western tradition. It is not a book by an erudite addressed to other erudites. Descartes explicitly devalues erudition. His thesis is that everybody has what is essential for identifying truth—natural reason—whether or not that person has any special educational formation.

Those who admire it rarely fail to single out for praise its clarity, suppleness, and elegance. Propagandists, in the course of promoting the use of French as an international diplomatic language, attributed these marks of style to something inherent in the French language. Antoine Rivarol is the author of the best-known version of this primitive excursion into salesmanship as essentialist linguistics. Language, Professor Rivarol observes, is clear when it follows the order of reason, and unclear when it follows the movements and order of our experience.

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