The New Oxford Book of English Prose

Overview


Prose, strictly defined, is the ordinary form of spoken or written language. Examples of solid prose are not difficult to come by: a well argued legal judgment, a lucid scientific paper, or a readily grasped set of technical instructions. Inspired prose, however, is a much rarer thing. In The New Oxford Book of English Prose, John Gross has gathered together those rare jewels of the English language that take plain prose to artistic heights.
The pared-down style of Hemingway ...
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Overview


Prose, strictly defined, is the ordinary form of spoken or written language. Examples of solid prose are not difficult to come by: a well argued legal judgment, a lucid scientific paper, or a readily grasped set of technical instructions. Inspired prose, however, is a much rarer thing. In The New Oxford Book of English Prose, John Gross has gathered together those rare jewels of the English language that take plain prose to artistic heights.
The pared-down style of Hemingway didnt happen overnight. Beginning with Sir Thomas Malory and ending with Kazuo Ishiguro, this anthology chronologically traces the evolution of prose, which gained confidence and extended its range in the late seventeenth century. It wasnt until the eighteenth century, however, that the ornate style of literary giants like Milton and Donne gave way to prose that was recognizably modern. The material included in this anthology is literary, but literary, as the editor states in the introduction, is not the narrow term that it is often made to beit embraces an enormous range of experience and response. The New Oxford Book of English Prose pays tribute to literatures vibrant diversity by offering glimpses of master craftsmanship from around the globe. Included here are excerpts from writers of such varied backgrounds as Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Vladimir Nabokov, and Mulk Raj Anand.
From the eloquent political treatises of Burke to the bold narrative strokes of Herman Melville, readers will find that the selections contained within this volume superbly illustrate the expressive powers of prose.
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Editorial Reviews

Merle Rubin
John Gross has managed to put together an anthology that is not only colorful, entertaining and instructive but also brilliantly representative of the richness and variety of this common form of expression.
The Wall Street Journal
Alex Kuo
While I have no quarrel with the individual selections in this new anthology, I am quite uncomfortable with what appears to be the political underpinning of such criteria as eloquence (in its good sense), literary merit, and fine writing that colors the entire anthology: nineteenth century good taste.... Such an imperialistic and xenophobic position regards language as a set of sign systems that attempt to be God, pleasing the anglophile while ignoring the necessity of looking at language in all its constant cultural interplay with class, gender, and ethnicity, in all its spikes and dips on the linguistic graph, not just in its filtered and buffed samplings.
Biblio Magazine
Joseph Epstein
...Gross opens his pages to all writers of English....[H]e appears to have read and taken the measure of just about everything of any seriousness written in English....The comprehensiveness of the book is, as one would have expected from John Gross, impressive....If the book can be said to have a moral...it is that style is the great preservative if literature.
The New Criterion
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780192142467
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 1054
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 2.20 (d)

Meet the Author

John Gross is former editor of the TLS and currently theatre critic of the Sunday Telegraph, and reviews widely. He has previously edited the Oxford Books of Aphorisms (1983), Essays (1991), and Comic Verse (1994).

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