38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2007
Paul Dry publishers should be commended for bringing this classic book back into print. I believe it had been out of print for decades and the fortunate few who had a copy or who were lucky enough to uncover a used copy, cherished this book as if it were a treasure. Sister Miriam Joseph displays an encyclopedic knowledge of Shakepeare's entire works including all the plays, the Sonnets & the narrative poems. She demonstrates Shakespeare's use of a wide variety of rhetorical terms as well as showing his use of the forms of argument, logic, and persuasion. Shakespeare's use of the rhetorical terms and the other "arts of language" is often the best example of anyone, ever! I really believe this book is of great value to a wide variety of readers and needs to be on more college and high school book lists; it is that good. Specifically, it will be of value to any writers; serious students of Shakespeare; or anyone interested in improving their communication skills. Close and careful study of this book will be time well spent.
36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2007
Two years ago I paid $145 for this unabridged version, which had gone out of print. At that time, the only version in print had been eviscerated of several hundred pages highlighting Shakespeare's own examples of rhetorical craft. Now the the unabridged version is back at an amazingly affordable price and remains the best work yet for those who want to use or teach this invaluable science of style.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2011
This is a scholarly book that methodically explores William Shakespeare's creative use of Elizabethan English in his plays. The book consists of three parts: (1) an introduction to the prevalent theories of composition in England in Shakespeare's lifetime; (2) an extensive survey of Shakespeare's use of the tools of the Trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) in his plays; and (3) a review of the theories of composition espoused by logicians and rhetoricians in Tudor England.
The first part provides an informative background that provides a conceptual and theoretical context by which the reader can better understand and appreciate the author's analysis and discussion of Shakespeare's creative use of Elizabethan English in his plays. Although the first part is somewhat technical in nature, a reader who takes the time and devotes the attention needed to follow the author's discussion will be better able to follow and appreciate the author's later discussion of Shakespeare's creative use of language in his plays.
The second part looks at many passages from Shakespeare's plays to illustrate and discuss how Shakespeare creatively used grammatical schemes, figures of speech, logic, and elements of classical rhetoric to make his plays lively, interesting, and memorable for his audiences. The second part is the heart of the book and the part most likely to be of interest to readers wanting to learn about Shakespeare's creative use of language, or to better understand and appreciate his plays.
The third part is a review of the theories of composition espoused by logicians and rhetoricians in Tudor England. The third part is not essential for readers only interested in Shakespeare, but it does provide material against which a reader can compare and contrast Shakespeare's use of language in his plays.
This book is a scholarly book that is not suitable for casual reading. It is very methodical and erudite and requires a reader to invest time and careful attention to follow the author's discussion and commentary. The author's analysis and discussion are insightful, informative, and thought-provoking. I recommend this book to anyone interested in: (1) a scholarly approach to understanding and appreciating Shakespeare's plays; or (2) the use of the tools of the Trivium (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) in Shakespeare's lifetime.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2008
This book examines the influence of a typical grammar school education on the word power and appreciation of the likes of Shakespeare. It is presumed that Shakespeare enjoyed a reasonable degree of schooling and in the last section of this wonderful book, the author outlines the typical course in language and its uses that a student would cover.
Firstly it certainly puts to shame the watered down nonsense that passes for English grammar and clear thinking in schools today. Secondly, it helps us to understand just where some of the theoretical genius of Shakepeare developed from.
A wonderful work. It has thrown me further into the study of language..
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2009
This book centers on the "flowers" of Rhetoric. Each one is described and provided with examples. Originally written in the first half of the twentieth century, it has not been equaled nor approached. A solid addition to anyone's Shakespeare reference shelf.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 25, 2014
This is a major scholarly work done by a conscientious researcher who detailed, with precision, Shakespeare's linguistic brilliance.