Sunday, April 08, 2007

Beauty and truth

I also just finished Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace, a handy little manual from Joseph M. Williams.

Williams swiftly covers some useful strategies for cleaning up bad writing, then ends unexpectedly with a chapter on "The Ethics of Prose." The highlight of the chapter, and the book overall, is Williams' analysis of Lincoln's second inaugural address. The passage is too long to excerpt here, but like David Levitin taking on "Ode to Joy", Williams is expert in figuring out what makes things tick, and finding the hidden blueprints for beauty.

1 comment:

Sharon Delman said...

Joe Williams had great insight into writing and was a phenomenal teacher. I had the good fortune to take a fantastic class called "Little Red Schoolhouse" at the University of Chicago with him. I only wish he'd written more.