Polishing Your Prose: How to Turn First Drafts Into Finished Work

Columbia University Press

This singular book illustrates how to edit a piece of prose and enhance its clarity of thought and felicity of style. The authors first present ten principles of effective composition, and then scrutinize three extended paragraphs, suggesting with remarkable specificity how to improve them. The volume also offers challenging practice questions, as well as two finished essays, one serious and one humorous, that demonstrate how attention to sound mechanics need not result in mechanical writing. Steven M. Cahn and Victor L. Cahn help readers deploy a host of corrective strategies, such as avoiding jargon, bombast, and redundancy; varying sentence structure; paring the use of adjectives and adverbs; properly deploying phrases and clauses; and refining an argument. Here is a book for all who seek to increase their facility in written communication.
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About the author

Steven M. Cahn is professor of philosophy at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He has written or edited fifty books, among them Fate, Logic, and Time; God, Reason, and Religion; Saints and Scamps: Ethics in Academia; and From Student to Scholar: A Candid Guide to Becoming a Professor.

Victor L. Cahn is professor of English at Skidmore College. Among his numerous nonfiction works are Shakespeare the Playwright: A Companion to the Complete Tragedies, Histories, Comedies, and Romances and Classroom Virtuoso: Recollections of a Life in Learning. He has also published two novels and many plays, seven of which were produced Off-Broadway.

Mary Ann Caws is distinguished professor of comparative literature, English, and French at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Columbia University Press
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Published on
Mar 26, 2013
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Pages
104
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ISBN
9780231532013
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / Teaching Methods & Materials / Arts & Humanities
Language Arts & Disciplines / Composition & Creative Writing
Language Arts & Disciplines / Editing & Proofreading
Language Arts & Disciplines / Style Manuals
Reference / Handbooks & Manuals
Reference / Writing Skills
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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When Victor Cahn's Shakespeare the Playwright was issued in 1991, it was highly recommended for any general public library and for academic collections at all undergraduate levels (Choice) and viewed as a useful guide for the general reader, as well as high school and undergraduate students Library Journal. Now Professor Cahn has revised his introduction to make the context of Shakespeare's plays more meaningful to the beginning researcher and to show how the plays have been performed from the 16th century onward. In addition, the bibliographies for each of the 37 plays have been updated to include the best new research. These updates and revisions will enhance the use of this guide for the general reader, student, and researcher, from high school onward.

Since their first production four centuries ago, the plays of William Shakespeare have been the most widely produced, popularly acclaimed, and critically examined works in the world's literature. In this unique book, Victor L. Cahn, an acclaimed teacher of drama, guides the reader scene by scene through each of Shakespeare's thirty-seven plays, re-creating the freshness and theatrical effect of performance. Cahn has based his approach on the assumption that the fundamental appeal of Shakespeare's plays lies in the characters, and with clarity and subtlety he focuses on how the implications of the characters' actions and the nuances of their language contribute to the plays' impact.

The introduction briefly traces Shakespeare's life and career, and explains some of the social and artistic circumstances that influenced his work. The plays are grouped by genre: Tragedies, Histories, Comedies, and Romances. This structure allows Cahn to explore Shalespeare's development in all four dramatic forms, as well as to suggest relationships between characters, themes, and images throughout the works. In addition, Cahn discusses the plays as reflective of Shakespeare's age, particularly the Renaissance concern with the tension between individual rights and social responsibility. The text is free from extensive scholarly apparatus, but valuable suggestions for further reading follow the analysis of each play, and a selected bibliography concludes the volume. The comprehensiveness of the book, as well as the accessibility and quality of its interpretations, make it a valuable resource for courses in Shakespeare, drama, and British literature, and a worthy addition to high school, college, university, and public library reference collections.

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