In an age unhealthily obsessed with substance, this is a book on the importance of pure style, from the best-selling author of The Etymologicon and The Horologicon. From classic poetry to pop lyrics and from the King James Bible to advertising slogans, Mark Forsyth explains the secrets that make a phrase - such as 'Tiger, Tiger, burning bright', or 'To be or not to be' - memorable.
In his inimitably entertaining and witty style he takes apart famous lines and shows how you, too, can write like Shakespeare or Oscar Wilde. Whether you're aiming for literary immortality or just an unforgettable one-liner, The Elements of Eloquence proves that you don't need to have anything to say - you simply need to say it well.
©2013 Mark Forsyth (P)2014 Audible Studios
“Sparkling ... the book offers many pleasures ... I laughed out loud at the examples chosen” (Charles Moore, Daily Telegraph)
“An informative but highly entertaining journey through the figures of rhetoric ... Mark Forsyth wears his considerable knowledge lightly. He also writes beautifully.” (David Marsh, Guardian)
“It is good news that the popular author of The Etymologicon should now potter round the rhetorical warehouse at our elbow, commenting on the choicer goods on view, for he is well-informed and amusing.” (Christopher Howse, The Spectator)
“The Elements of Eloquence makes a daunting, potentially boring subject exciting ... Forsyth's wickedly clever, irreverent take on rhetoric should cement his reputation as a virtuoso: it is hard to think of any other book that tackles the topic with such style.” (South China Morning Post)
For some reason, my wife and I see two different versions of this book on each of our accounts -- on my account the narrator is American, on hers it's Simon Vance, whose gloriously crisp British carefully caresses every word with clear reverence for their meaning.
Guess which I prefer?
The book itself is the first I've ever read on the topic, and is beyond words. As he describes each form, I got great delight out of discovering examples of prior terms in the following chapters. I am going to be listening to this again and again and again, for the beauty of how he phrased each example and the dry British humor laced through it all.
"Outstanding insight into English language"
It opened my eyes to the linguistic foundations that make or break language. I thoroughly enjoyed it and book provided me with a new understanding of language and what the difference is between various way of expression.
Great educational story and excellent narration by Simon Shepherd who made a topic that could easily become boring very interesting until the end.
"Mark Forsyth : brilliant and witty as ever"
I read his Etymologicon and became a fan straight away . What he writes about , he explains well , in a very funny and witty way . He knows his onions .
Wordcatcher : An Odyssey By Phil Cousineau . A book by Phil Cousineau is an odyssey to boredom . Very tedious and unexciting . It has a substance , but delivered in an inaccessable way .
It was great . A very clear voice and easy to listen to .
Would this satisfy your curiosity ?
"Rhetoric, Rhetoric, Rhetoric!"
This book is hilarious, whilst also being informative, insightful, and... hilarious.
The linking between chapters is inspired and it's full of things that I have never thought about. I've passed on facts from this book to all my friends. I won't say it makes you a great party guest but it certainly sparks interesting conversations.
My only criticism is that in order to use the information I needed a written copy as well: I cannot work out how to spell all the Greek terms on my own. However, I would have never have been able to pronounce the terms without the audio book.
The narrator has a soothing, rhythmical voice that meant I could even listen to this book whilst running.
It was fantastic to learn the method to the madness, and madness to the method, that makes up the English language.
"A fantastic insight into the English language!"
I was recommended this book and was sceptical at first, however after the first chapter I was hooked!
Forsyth leads you through rhetoric in an amusing, yet informative way and this was mirrored by a marvellous performance by Simon Shepherd
"Fantastically witty, insightful and interesting"
This book covers a broad range of rhetoric techniques, some of which I was entirely unfamiliar with, in a remarkably accessible way.
The narration is superb and I cannot fault Simon Shepherd for his work.
The book is structured in a manner that covers 1 chapter per rhetoric technique, but the author went through great pains to ensure they each chapter neatly dove-tales into the next, giving the book a greater sense of cohesion then some similar books in this field. The author puts a lot of opinion and humour into this book, I would most certainly read/listen to this book again.
Great, Great, Great
The book delivered in all ways, it flowed, it connected, kept the listeners interest, good examples. I will listen again and again as it is both educating and an easy listen with examples that bear remembering.
Simon, the narrator, delivered as though he was the author, he allowed me to listen while I was driving, there were times when I wanted to rewind and listen again, but I decided to be patient and his narration was so comfortable I will listen again.
The book had no "special" moments, but thoroughly enjoyed listening, learning and the content was both educating and entertaining.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, for those that are interested in how our language is sculpted this is well worth a listen.
"Listen to to be a better listener."
Listen to this to be a better listener, listen to this to be a better writer, and listen to this to be a better critic.
Mark clearly defines some of the 'flowers of rhetoric', then illustrates them with well-known examples from literature.
Brilliantly narrated. The content is so good, and so very accessible, that you'll also want to buy the printed copy for reference.
"Interesting and funny"
Well read interesting and funny like all of this series. I was sad when the book ended.
"A brilliant and witty book"
This is the kind of book that you expect to be worthy and tedious but is clever, playful and fascinating. Simon Shepherd's reading catches the author's sly wit and delight in verbal ingenuity.
It is the best English lesson imaginable.
I hope I will be able to remember some of the figures and will enjoy spotting them when they occur.
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