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The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase

Overview

From classic poetry to pop lyrics, from Charles Dickens to Dolly Parton, even from Jesus to James Bond, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase—such as “O Captain! My Captain!” or “To be or not to be”—memorable.

In his inimitably entertaining and wonderfully witty style, he takes apart famous phrases and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare or quip like Oscar Wilde. Whether you’re aiming to achieve literary immortality or just hoping to deliver the perfect ...

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The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase

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Overview

From classic poetry to pop lyrics, from Charles Dickens to Dolly Parton, even from Jesus to James Bond, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase—such as “O Captain! My Captain!” or “To be or not to be”—memorable.

In his inimitably entertaining and wonderfully witty style, he takes apart famous phrases and shows how you too can write like Shakespeare or quip like Oscar Wilde. Whether you’re aiming to achieve literary immortality or just hoping to deliver the perfect one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you don’t need to have anything important to say—you simply need to say it well.

In an age unhealthily obsessed with the power of substance, this is a book that highlights the importance of style.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

We can all agree that true eloquence is irresistible, but how do we achieve it in this shoddy age of hashtags and acronyms? This new book by Inky Fool blogger Mark Forsyth (The Horologicon; The Etymologicon) dares to answer that question and he does it in the most entertaining ways, summonsing up examples from everyone from ancient orators and Shakespeare to Oscar Wilde and Dolly Parton. Even if you don't yet have the confidence to muster up your eloquence, you can borrow some of theirs. A trade paperback and NOOK Book original.

Library Journal
10/01/2014
Forsyth (The Etymologicon) has written a witty "dictionary" of rhetorical sayings used in contemporary English-language writing. The structure of the book is as funny as it is intelligent. For instance, in the chapter dedicated to the merism, a poetic device used when an author writes around an object of love instead of naming it directly, Forsyth ends the section with a transition sentence that includes the rhetorical device for the next chapter, the blazon, a technique whereby the author writes a merism so extreme, it requires a new definition. Forsyth shows his skills as a writer and presents technical terms for those interested in the many forms and poetic techniques as defined and discussed by the Greeks. The book contains a wide range of devices such as hendiadys, a recombining of independent words, and adynaton, a hyperbolic negative response to a question or request. Forsyth smartly references pop culture, quoting everything from the King James Bible and Shakespeare to James Bond films and the Beatles. VERDICT This enjoyable read is perfect for anyone interested in writing, literary humor, or the combination of the two.—Jesse A. Lambertson, Metamedia Management, LLC, Washington, DC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425276181
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/7/2014
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 43,733
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Forsyth, author of The Horologicon and The Etymologicon, was given a copy of The Oxford English Dictionary as a christening present and has never looked back. He is the creator of The Inky Fool, a blog about words, phrases, grammar, rhetoric, and prose. He has contributed to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Huffington Post. He lives in the UK.

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