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Semicolon
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About the Author

Cecelia Watson is a historian and philosopher of science, and a teacher of writing and the humanities. She is currently on Bard College's Faculty in Language and Thinking. Previously she was an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow at Yale University, where she was also a fellow of the Whitney Center for the Humanities and was jointly appointed in the humanities and philosophy departments.

Reviews

'I have no views on the semicolon. Or at least I thought I didn't ... Then I read Semicolon by Cecelia Watson ... She has hunted down the very finest examples of semicolons in use, in order to prove how poorly rules serve us' Financial Times

'A neat and immaculate manifesto for opening our hearts to the semicolon. In taking us through the history of the neither-one-thing-nor-the-other squiggle, she illustrates without any hectoring why the rules of language are very much there to be broken precisely because no one can fully agree on what exactly they are' Irish Independent

'Look, some people just enjoy arguing about punctuation. It's in their nature. But if your enthusiasm for this polarizing little mark stems from adoration and inquisitiveness (and only occasionally the haughty knowledge that you're right), Cecelia Watson's "biography" of the semicolon will be a delightful companion' Elle

'An argument for deep knowledge and style awareness, moving beyond strictures to something educated, intuitive, and graceful' New York Journal of Books

'In this impressive debut, Watson . . . takes readers through a lively and varied 'biography' of the semicolon. . . . The stress on compassionate punctuation lifts this work from an entertaining romp to a volume worth serious consideration' Publishers Weekly

'Informed and witty . . . from chapter to chapter, [Watson] brings a gadfly's spirit to the proceedings, thoughtfully lobbying for written English that resists restrictions and recognizes that "rules will be, just as they always have been, inadequate to form a protective fence around English"' Kirkus Reviews

'In Cecelia Watson's hands, what starts as an exploration of the obscure origins of a modest punctuation mark becomes a slyly profound proof of the value of creative freedom itself. Grammar fiends and poetic anarchists alike will find Semicolon inspiring, challenging, and delightful' Adrian Johns, Allan Grant Maclear Professor of History, University of Chicago

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