Plain Style: A Guide to Written English

Overview

Plain Style is an amusing and instructive guide to written English by the late Christopher Lasch, author of The Culture of Narcissism, The True and Only Heaven, and many other memorable works of American history and social criticism. Written for the benefit of the students at the University of Rochester, where Lasch taught from 1970 until his death in 1994, it quickly established itself in typescript as a local classic—a lively, witty, and historically minded alternative to the famous volume by William Strunk and...

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Overview

Plain Style is an amusing and instructive guide to written English by the late Christopher Lasch, author of The Culture of Narcissism, The True and Only Heaven, and many other memorable works of American history and social criticism. Written for the benefit of the students at the University of Rochester, where Lasch taught from 1970 until his death in 1994, it quickly established itself in typescript as a local classic—a lively, witty, and historically minded alternative to the famous volume by William Strunk and E. B. White, The Elements of Style.

Now available for the first time in published form, Plain Style is fundamentally a clear, readable, practical guide to the timeless principles of effective composition. At the same time, however, in ways that Stewart Weaver explains in his critical introduction, it is a distinctive and revealing addition to the published work of an eminent American thinker. No mere primer, Plain Style is an essay in cultural criticism, a political treatise even, by one for whom directness, clarity, and honesty of expression were essential to the living spirit of democracy.

As the teachers and students who have for years benefited from its succinct wisdom will testify, Plain Style is an indispensable guide to writing and, indeed, Christopher Lasch's least-expected but perhaps most serviceable work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The late Lasch, college history professor and the author of The Culture of Narcissism (1979), among other seminal works, so despaired of his graduate students' writing that he began to compile a list of common compositional errors. This list soon evolved into a full-fledged writing guide . . . covering the principles of literary construction; conventions governing punctuation, capitalization, typography, and footnotes; characteristics of bad writing; words often misused; words often mispronounced; and a table of proofreaders' marks. Lasch's wry, distinctive voice is evident throughout. . . . For serious word lovers."—Joanne Wilkinson, Booklist
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812218145
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 136
  • Sales rank: 1,226,263
  • Product dimensions: 0.31 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 8.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Lasch (1932-1994) was Professor of History at the University of Rochester. Among his many books are The Culture of Narcissism, The Minimal Self, The True and Only Heaven, and Haven in a Heartless World. Stewart Weaver is Professor of History at the University of Rochester.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Christopher Lasch and the Politics of the Plain Style
A Note on the Text
I Elementary Principles of Literary Construction
II Conventions Governing Punctuation, Capitalization, Typography, and Footnotes
III Characteristics of Bad Writing
IV Words Often Misused
V Words Often Mispronounced
VI Proofreaders' Marks

Index

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