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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