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Vernacular Eloquence


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Table of Contents

PART ONE. What's Best in Speaking And Writing? ; Introduction: Defining "Speech" and "Writing" ; 1. Speech and Writing as They Are Used: The Role of Culture ; 2. What's Good about Writing ; 3. Speaking as a Process: What Can It Offer Writing? ; 4. Speech as a Product: Eight Virtues in Careless Spoken Language that Careful Writing Needs ; 5. Intonation: A Virtue for Writing Found at the Root of Everyday Speech ; 6. Can We Really Have the Best of Both Worlds? ; PART TWO. A Role for the Tongue During the Early Stages of Writing: Treating Speech as Writing ; Introduction: More Defining ; 7. What is Speaking Onto the Page and How Does Freewriting Teach it? ; 8. Where Else Do We See Unplanned Speaking onto the Page? ; 9. Objections to Speaking onto the Page-And Responses ; 10. The Need for Care: Unplanned Speaking onto the Page is Never Enough ; PART THREE. A Role for the Tongue During Late Revising: Reading Aloud and Treating Writing as Speech ; Introduction ; 11. Revising by Reading Aloud. What the Mouth and the Ear Know ; 12. How Does Revising by Reading Aloud Actually Work? ; 13. Punctuation: Living with Two Traditions ; 14. Good Enough Punctuation by Reading Aloud and Listening ; 15. How Speech Can Improve Organization in Writing: Form as Energy ; 16. Summary Chapter: The Benefits of Speaking onto the Page and Reading Aloud ; PART FOUR. Vernacular Literacy ; Introduction: Dante and Vulgar Eloquence ; 17. Our Present Culture of Proper Literacy and How It Tries To Exclude Speech ; 18. A New Culture of Vernacular Literacy is on the Horizon ; Appendix I. How Freewriting Went from Dangerous to No Big Deal in the Composition and Rhetoric Community ; Appendix II. A list of Publications Written in Nonprestige Nonstandard Versions of English ; Appendix III. A List of Published Works by Peter Elbow

About the Author

Peter Elbow is Professor of English Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he also directed the Writing Program from 1996 until 2000. He is the author of Writing Without Teachers (Oxford UP 1973), Writing With Power (Oxford UP 1981), Embracing Contraries (Oxford UP, 1986), Everyone Can Write (Oxford UP, 2000), and Being A Writer (McGraw-Hill, 2002).


Elbow is his own best argument for speaking onto the page: His voice is both authoritative and affable, conversational and professorial. * Erin McKean, International Herald Tribune *
it is written in [the author's] wonderfully approachable, affable voice; it emphasizes the need to indulge one's own impetus when writing, to pour oneself into "freewrites" ... The book is organized in a unique and purposeful manner ... Highly recommended. * E. McCourt, Jacksonville University, CHOICE *

Elbow (English, emeritus, Univ. of Mass., Amherst; Writing Without Teachers) devotes his latest book to the value the spoken word brings to literacy and, ultimately, the written word. The text is part homage to the power of techniques like freewriting that teach writers to silence their stifling internal critic and part treatise on the misguided notion that speech is inferior to and/or separate from writing. The first portion of the book is the more scholarly, expounding on the differences and similarities between spoken and written language. Succeeding parts grow more practical, though Elbow's sidebars and "literacy stories" continue the theoretical thread. The book concludes with arguments for vernacular literacy and its power to revitalize, reform, and sometimes even trump edited written English, the so-called standard. VERDICT Elbow intends to interest both scholarly and lay readers and he does succeed on some level, though this reviewer doubts that readers outside of academia will read it cover to cover. This title should greatly interest English language and linguistics scholars and teachers. Any readers willing either to dig deep or skim and skip will also find fresh ideas and renewed energy for writing.-Stacey Rae Brownlie, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, PA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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