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114 Reviews
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130 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Writing is hard, even for authors who do it all the time."
This jazzy edition of the classic "The Elements of Style," by Strunk and White, features stylized, exuberant, riotously colorful, and often whimsical illustrations by Maira Kalman. In addition, a few references have been changed to make the book more relevant. For instance, in the earlier edition, the authors cautioned against the use of acronyms with this example: "Not...
Published on November 20, 2006 by E. Bukowsky

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53 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute, but...
The illustrations are interesting and nice. But this edition is certainly not a "user". Page numbers are all "inside" - along the binding side and at the bottom of the pages. To accommodate the illustrations you can go six pages without a page number. When you try to use this book as a reference, the illustrations just get in the way, breaking up your train of...
Published on November 14, 2005 by Larry J. Clark


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130 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Writing is hard, even for authors who do it all the time.", November 20, 2006
This jazzy edition of the classic "The Elements of Style," by Strunk and White, features stylized, exuberant, riotously colorful, and often whimsical illustrations by Maira Kalman. In addition, a few references have been changed to make the book more relevant. For instance, in the earlier edition, the authors cautioned against the use of acronyms with this example: "Not everyone knows that SALT means Strategic Arms Limitation Talks." The new edition states, "Not everyone knows that MADD means Mothers Against Drunk Driving." In the section on slang, Strunk and White advised writers to use standard language and avoid such words as "uptight, groovy, rap, hangup, vibes, copout, and dig." In the new edition, examples of slang are "psyched, nerd, ripoff, dude, geek, and funky." Strunk and White advocated "using scissors on the manuscript, cutting it to pieces and fitting the pieces together in a better order." In the current edition, writers are encouraged to use a word processor to move text from place to place.

Is a new edition of this handbook really necessary? I believe that it is, not only because of the archaic references that needed updating, but also because today's younger writers need visual stimulation and pizazz to capture their attention; this edition has both. Strunk and White's words of wisdom are, for the most part, reprinted as they appeared in earlier editions. The authors discuss such topics as elementary rules of usage, principles of composition and form, words commnonly misused, and tips on how to develop an effective and natural style. Even experienced writers would do well to review "The Elements of Style" now and then to remind them of the importance of clarity, brevity, simplicity, and consistency.
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148 of 162 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect gift for anyone who loves the art of writing., October 20, 2005
Strunk and White's Elements of Style is the absolute classic guidebook to grammar and to clear writing. It is underpinned by a simple philosophy of making every word count. The paperback edition resides on millions of desks world-wide: a wise guide to people who appreciate words and clear communication.

But here's a hardback edition, beautifully illustrated. Why not just go for the paperback? The answer is because Elements of Style has become much more than a reference text: it is an icon, and this edition is like a glorious piece of birthday cake that celebrates the fact that we've been in the presence of a faithful and inspiring servant for almost 50 years. Elements of Style is a classic that retains a resilient role even (or especially) in this age of txt.

If you love artful writing, buy a copy for yourself. For any friend who cherishes the written word, this book is the perfect gift. It allows us to stop, to marvel and to appreciate the power of simple truths, well told.
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92 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The pleasure of this edition is in the design, October 28, 2005
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For the reviewer who pines for life as it was 50 years ago, actually in 1959, William Strunk Jr.'s Elements of Style, which had gone out of print at that point, was revised by a former student of Strunk's, E.B. White. This 2005 revision takes nothing away from the book, but reconsiders the original from a design perspective. As far as I'm concerned, the cloth cover, the 57 color illustrations, the high-quality printing, only add to the pure pleasure of reading or re-reading this book.
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53 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cute, but..., November 14, 2005
By 
Larry J. Clark (Falls Church, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The illustrations are interesting and nice. But this edition is certainly not a "user". Page numbers are all "inside" - along the binding side and at the bottom of the pages. To accommodate the illustrations you can go six pages without a page number. When you try to use this book as a reference, the illustrations just get in the way, breaking up your train of thought.

Not that I'm pushing book sales, but if you get this illustrated edition (or plan of giving it as a gift), do yourself a favor and also get the paperback version. That way you have something you can actually use, as well as having a volume for muse.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intellectual and visual beauty, March 22, 2007
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My new "The Elements of Style" by William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, illustrated by Maira Kalman, lies before me now, beside the 1959 edition that I have had since August of that year.

Since I hadn't reread the old one in who knows how many years, what induced me to buy a new one? I have always retained affection for Strunk's "little book."

Recently I read a review of the new "The Elements of Style Illustrated," and saw a few of the paintings by Maira Kalman. And I heard of the song cycle, based on the book, composed by young Nico Muhly in collaboration with Ms. Kalman and premiered in the Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library.

The illustrated book sounded like fun, so I ordered it, which prompted me to read Strunk's words again with new appreciation.

The overall design of the new book is appealing -- bright red covers, a somewhat larger format (about an inch wider, a half-inch taller, and 156 pages as opposed to 71), the cleaner look of the pages (with more white space and semi-glossy). Both books are hardbacks; I think I would not like the feel of the new one as a paperback.

Most striking on the mostly bare, red front cover, is a huge white colon punctuation mark, centered below "THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE." The printing is white (no connection to E. B. White, I'm sure). The word "illustrated" in small gold italic is printed near the lower right. The red back cover is completely bare except for a matching, centered white semicolon.

The cover designer, presumably Ms. Kalman or someone she worked closely with, no doubt intended that we follow these magnified punctuation marks: The colon by reading and viewing the book. The semicolon by proceeding to our own independent work.

Ms. Kalman's paintings are colorful, mostly full page, some double page, and attractively quirky. Her subject's eyes are intelligent and draw you in. The first double page appears to be of E. B. White, comfortably seated with a book, in a roomful of books -- piled on the tables, stacked on the floor, shelved in bookcases; on another chair, I think I see his dachshund Minnie who won't relinquish her place to more books. At the end of "Elements" are Ms. Kalman's paintings of Strunk, White again, and of herself.

Those of you who were introduced to Strunk years ago, in a Diction and Usage class somewhere (say, Ann Arbor), don't need anyone else to tell you of his value and influence. You who have yet to read him, should have confidence in the millions who already have, knowing that his brief remarks about writing will prove clarifying, incisive, and encouraging. Enjoy Maira Kalman's gallery. The book is a thing of intellectual and visual beauty.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic, July 13, 2006
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This book was required for my high school English classes back in the late '60's. As an English professor, I use this book today. Many generations of students have benefited from this book's informal, conversational approach to teaching formal English (that is, excellent English that is precise and concise in form and content). Although I don't personally like the illustrations, this is my favorite edition of the book because the illustrations add a whimsical informality to substantive content.
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21 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deft Illustration of the Classic Style Guide Stays True to the Original Intent, November 2, 2005
Many of us baby boomers have lived and breathed William Strunk Jr.'s and E.B. White's "Elements of Style" as we attempted to reacquaint ourselves with the rules of the road when it comes to writing clear prose. Its compact size (only 105 pages) and clear organization made the tome the pinnacle of usability before such factors came into play as successful criteria for any easy-to-use reference manual. The book, at least White's famous revision of it, is as old as me, both of us born in 1959, and clearly both of us are in need of an overhaul to refresh the knowledge we present to a more contemporary audience.

Enter artist Maira Kalman, who was so inspired by the book when she discovered it at a yard sale four years ago that she applied her considerable artistic gift and contributed 59 colorful illustrations to this version. The net result is a charming and comical addendum to an established classic. Keep in mind that the original intention of the authors was simply to present eight elementary rules of usage, ten elementary principles of composition and a list of commonly misused words or expressions. Consequently, it's impressive how Kalman is able to stay true to the rigidity of the book's structure with her whimsical images. Even though in earlier days I actually preferred the slap of the ruler of White's terse instructional style, I think Kalman brings a sense of humanity that is totally unexpected.
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18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars great contents, shoddy binding, December 13, 2005
By 
The illustrations are wonderful, as are the font and graphic design. The paper on which the book is printed also seems to be fairly high quality, bright and heavy to the touch, and looks to be acid-free. HOWEVER, the cloth binding is execrable. My copy is brand new, yet the front and back covers are already warping, and the text block itself is noticeably curved and starting to warp. The garish, cheap red cloth cover is poorly embossed; the title and spine lettering looks painted on with white-out and a cardboard stencil. I suspect that it will probably flake off in a matter of months. It's bewildering to me that the Penguin Press would lavish so much attention on the text block, then skimp on the binding, for an edition whose principle allure is as an objet d'art.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sergeant Strunk & Corporal White, now with cool art!, January 21, 2006
By 
______________________________________________

The Strunk & White classic, in a classy new hardbound edition, with sprightly illustrations by Maira Kalman. The book designer is uncredited, more's the pity, since it's very nicely laid out.

Ten million customers can't be wrong, and millions of writers would write better by heeding these simple rules: Write clearly. Be brief. Never call a spade an agricultural implement. Revise, shorten, proofread! Sergeant Strunk snaps his orders to the recruits.

I've worn out a couple of copies of this. One could quibble with some of Sergeant Strunk's and Corporal White's marching orders, but considering that the junior author has been dead for twenty years, their little book is holding up remarkably well.

Happy writing--
Peter D. Tillman
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I found it to be the perfect gift, April 18, 2007
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Strunk and White, which has kept college essayists in line for the better part of a century is already a fixture reference guide. I have no idea where Maira Kalman got the unique idea to illustrate it, but the result is a perfect gift for any slightly eccentric lover of the English language
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The Elements of Style Illustrated
The Elements of Style Illustrated by William Strunk Jr. (Paperback - August 28, 2007)
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