Mark Forsyth

The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase

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Whether you want to achieve literary immortality or just persuade people of the genius of your thoughts, says Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling The Etymologicon, you don't need to have anything to say — you simply need to say it well. And to say it well you just need to know the tricks of the trade, the simple formulas that have been in use from The Bible to The Beatles, from proverbs to number one singles. These are the timeless techniques of classical rhetoric that worked just as well for Tennyson as they do for Tarantino. Join Mark as he explains, in his inimitably lucid and entertaining way, why you remember lines like 'Bond. James Bond' and 'To be or not to be', how Katy Perry adapted Charles Dickens, and the intriguing complexity of Dirty Harry's rhetorical questions. In an age unhealthily obsessed with substance, this is a book on the importance of pure style.
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186 printed pages
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  • Mariahas quoted8 years ago
    There is something liberating about simply putting together words with no need to bother with structuring them. Even when a congeries is simply found lying around it has a certain magic to it. Take this list from 1953 of words approved by the East German government for describing the British:
    Paralytic sycophants, effete betrayers of humanity, carrion-eating servile imitators, arch-cowards and collaborators, gang of woman-murderers, degenerate rabble, parasitic traditionalists, playboy soldiers, conceited dandies.
  • Mariahas quoted8 years ago
    I have never said the words ‘free gift’. It would seem a sinister thing to say when gathered around the Christmas tree. ‘Here’s my free gift, and, as an added bonus, here’s a festive Christmas card.’ People would think I’d gone mad. Yet, if you wander into a shop or make the terrible mistake of turning on the television or radio, you will hear of havens that are safe, co-operation that is mutual, and prizes that are, it turns out, to be won.
  • anhengstwerthhas quoted3 years ago
    back was beaten brass

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