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The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed Revised Edition
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Karen Gordon seems to be using a similar tactic on the teaching of sentence structure with her book, The Deluxe Transitive Vampire: A Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed. (Now, that's a title.)
In her introduction, Gordon states that she knows what "a dangerous game I'm playing" by illustrating the rules of grammar via "a menage of revolving lunatics kidnapped into this book." However, she persuades that by following their stories, we will "be beguiled into compliance with the rules, however confounding those rules may appear to be." She's right. This is absolutely the most fun I've had reading a grammar primer. The rules are written simply enough; this book's charm lies in its illustrative sentences--wonderful, gothic examples of subject and predicate, adjective and adverb, dependent and independent clauses. Sentences giving examples of a subject include:
The persona non grata was rebuked.
His huge, calm, intelligent hands wrestled with her confusion of lace.
She goes on to give examples of nouns: Person (eavesdropper, ruffian, Peter Lorre), Place (Aix-en-Provence, Omsk, Mars), and Thing (marzipan, scum, haunch); as well participles and gerunds. This is a thorough look at all the rules necessary for proper communication. The examples make for curious reading, and when the sentences are captioning the numerous classical paintings and woodcuts scattered throughout, often provoke a laugh.Read more ›
Gordon published her original *Transitive Vampire* in 1984, and it was a delight to read then. The newer edition, published in 1993, has only gotten better. There are more lurid examples and, of course, more of those pictures.
This isn't to say that the book is devoid of useful grammar instruction. While copy editors are unlikely to find a use for this book, almost everyone else will find something here that they weren't aware of before, whether it's the rule on number agreement or the cases of pronouns.
But the real value of Gordon's book is that it makes us actually want to read through it, and the grammar lessons seep into our ears almost by the way. Other grammar books are reference sources; this one reads more like a good novel, and is practically as hard to put down.
Gordon's cast of characters include a dour but charming gargoyle named Jean-Pierre, the lovely Alyosha, assorted bats and demons, and even the Statue of Liberty. This gothic motley trundles through the book, whispering sweet nothings about verb tenses. At times, Gordon plays the vamp: "The debutante rocks on her haunches and sucks her thumb."
That alone ought to send some to their dictionaries, eagerly looking up what haunches are, and why a scantily clad debutante might be rocking on them.
This book is a must for gothic logophiles--and anyone who isn't, might consider playing the part, if only for a night, just to read it.
I recommend this book to writers, writers-manque, lovers of both the English language as well as linguistics in general. Not to be missed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I really wish that THIS had been the book my teachers used to teach me back in grade school for my Language Arts classes.Published 11 months ago by Paxloria
Fun to read, and full of great examples and good explanations of the different parts of speech; but I wish it had contained a bit more formal theory and explanation as opposed to... Read morePublished 12 months ago by gs64
One of the wirdest books i ve read. Had to buy it for class, otherwise i d never get it. Its written in a style of a foreign horrow film - author uses weird words and topics. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Yana Koldashova
A bit macabre in context, however, this essential grammar book effectively reduces tomes of boring grammars into a mesmerizing, instantly grasped fable read. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Christopher Robinson