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Discussing selections from Gordon’s “The Transitive Vampire”

While I was not familiar with the Marquis de Sade parody of The Elements of Style until it was recently introduced to me by one of my new colleagues, I had heard before of and even owned a copy of Karen Elizabeth Gordon’s The Transitive Vampire:  A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. This is also on eReserves.

This book is similar to the de Sade parody in that it is trying to present some grammar and style rules in some very unusual ways– something you should be contemplating for part 2 of the style project– though it isn’t quite as direct a parody of Strunk and White.  As the introduction suggests, the “narrator” of this style guide happens to be a vampire.

Now, it is very possible to read the book (and the selections here) as simply what they pre-port to be, grammar rules.  But if you read through the examples, you get a sense that they are coming from a rather particular (vampire-like?) source.  They’re mostly funny of course, but they do seem to rather indirectly tell a “story” of sorts.

I think it’s also interesting to think back to both Strunk and White and Williams after these examples (not to mention the ones from Sade):  what sort of “story” were those authors trying to tell with the examples in their books?

Posted in Class Assignments, Class Readings.


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