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For whom is this book written?,
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This review is from: How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One (Hardcover)
I enjoyed reading this book for the reason I have enjoyed much of the rest of Stanley Fish's oeuvre: he reads closely and understands the implications of language so well. Indeed, this book strikes me as a continuation of his seminal work on Milton, which also paid such close attention to syntax, the order in which words are delivered. As usual, I gained a lot from Fish's careful and wise reading.
That said, the book's purpose and audience escape me. This cannot be a book for those wishing to write better. For one thing, to even approach this book one must already be rather nimble with language; that is, to understand what it says about sentences one must already know a lot about them. For another, Fish's idea that mastering sentence form by practicing writing clever sentences is just not borne out by research in composition and rhetoric. Study after study has shown that acontextual exercises like these don't help students much at all. So I could never suggest this as a writing text (try Joseph Williams "Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace").
In the end I can only guess that the real audience for the book consists of people who enjoy the wit and insight of Stanley Fish. That would be fans like me.