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Discussing “‘Style’ Gets New Elements” and “‘Elements of Style’ Goes Beyone Words”

I finished up commenting on everyone’s Ancient Style and YouTube projects Friday night, which was a little later than I had planned but that should still give you plenty of time to complete the “part 1″ of the assignment, revising one of the first two essays.  What you’ll do for that is revise the Google Doc version of either of your first two projects, being sure to make changes right in that document.  This is important because viewing the document history will help me see what you decided to do in your revision.  Along with your revisions, you need to write a 750-1000 word essay where you explain those revisions as they relate to the style guides.  Take another look at “part 1″ of the assignment for a refresher.

Remember:  your “part 1″ revision is due at the end of the day on October 31!

But this is where we’ll start shifting into part 2 of the using style guides, and we’ll start by discussing  “‘Style’ Gets New Elements,” Jeremy Eichler in the New York Times, and listen to this NPR story, “‘Elements of Style’ Goes Beyond Words.”

Because Strunk and White’s book is so iconic, it has been the main subject (target?) of remakes, parodies, and re-seeing the “style manual” in different ways.  One of the first examples we’re talking about here, the edition illustrated by Maria Kalman, is the version that I know that many of you are reading, which means that your “first encounter” with The Elements of Style is quite a bit different than mine!

The article  “‘Style’ Gets New Elements,” Jeremy Eichler in the New York Times and the  NPR story, “‘Elements of Style’ Goes Beyond Words,” are about this new(ish) illustrated version and an opera based on the book.  (Be sure to listen to the audio selections from the opera based on The Elements of Style on the NPR web site– they’re a hoot!)

I think these texts are pretty self-explanatory, but I will add/mention two things:  first, what Kalman did for me is to really see the humor that is in this book, and the number of times that the sly/dry humor was clearly intentional.  At the same time, Kalman does this strange and kind of surreal thing where some of her illustrations take the example in a completely different direction.  My favorite incident of this is this one (which she talks about a bit in the NPR interview):

A stain on the floor....

Now, maybe this means I have a sick sense of humor, but Kalman’s illustration clearly takes this example in a pretty dramatic new direction, don’t you think?

Posted in Class Readings.


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