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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2014 Mark Forsyth (P)2014 Gildan Media LLC
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Philo on 10-30-14

Who knew rhetoric could be so much fun?

(Yes, that's a rhetorical question.)
This is not for everybody, but this is probably a bookish crowd, right? (We have a second rhetorical question already? Oops, and there's another?.) If you are delighted by English words and phrases, I recommend this. The author almost dances through it, tossing jokes everywhere. The narrator is ideal -- I wonder whether my laughing aloud on my listening-walks is at the wit of the author (and his often smartly goofy portrayals of very ostensibly serious writings) or the narrator's understated puckish style that always seems casual and yet right on the edge of laughter. This is a nice trip through English poetry and literature of the last few hundred years too. There are many little deconstructions of Shakespeare, also Dickens, William Blake, a bit of Jane Austen, some Churchill, on and on.
I see the author has other books here, and I won't hesitate to snap them up.

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53 of 57 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Donald E. Campbell on 06-21-15

Just enjoy the listen

Any additional comments?

I think some of the negative comments for this book come from those who expect too much from it. It is a light/skim the surface look at the "elements of eloquence" -- You aren't going into the jungle of deep learning here folks. You are just being introduced in a well written (often funny) and light manner.

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16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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