Book Review: The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase Explores What Makes Good Writing Great

Written by Sarah Mitenko; copy edited by Karen Barry

Review of “The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase” by Mark Forsyth (Icon Books, 2013).

The image displays the cover of Mark Forsyth's book "The Elements of Eloquence: How to Turn the Perfect English Phrase."Have you ever wondered what makes Shakespeare’s writing so darn good? Or Wordsworth’s, for that matter? And have you ever wondered how musical artists, like Katy Perry and Alanis Morissette, create lyrics that are catchy and memorable (sometimes annoyingly so)?

Notable author Mark Forsyth, also known for his blog, The Inky Fool, answers these questions and more in his third book, The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase. Throughout the book, he explores the fundamentals of classic rhetoric, using examples drawn from both renowned classical works and modern-day popular culture. Most of the chapters include examples from Shakespeare, as Forsyth argues that he likely learned rhetoric in school, a subject that was abandoned not long after Shakespeare’s time.

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Book Review: Unearthing Canada’s Hidden Past…

by Eric Damer

Review of Unearthing Canada’s Hidden Past: A Short History of Adult Education by Michael Welton (Thompson Publishing, 2013).

Ours is a learning society that goes well beyond schooling for youth. Historian Michael Welton adds that all societies are learning societies and always have been. Adults have always learned new job skills, cultivated leisure interests and even tried to change their society to make it a bit more fair, inclusive and democratic. This last activity—learning for progressive social change—interests Welton the most in this accessible account of adult education in Canada over several hundred years. Unearthing Canada’s Hidden Past: A Short History of Adult Education invites the reader to consider not only how adults have learned to adjust to their world but also how they have learned to change it. Welton has a special plea for adult educators to “keep faith with our emancipatory traditions” (p. 229) to tackle some of the pressing problems of our current age.

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