Samples of his adaptations scattered throughout the book demonstrate that Doerries has a knack for putting ancient speeches...

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THE THEATER OF WAR

WHAT ANCIENT GREEK TRAGEDIES CAN TEACH US TODAY

A memoir of a man with a mission, bringing the message of ancient tragedies to modern audiences in need of the comfort of their compelling truths.

The founder of Theater of War, “a project that presents readings of ancient Greek plays to service members, veterans, and their families to initiate conversations about the visible and invisible wounds of war,” Doerries, a “self-proclaimed evangelist for classical literature and its relevance to our lives today,” has adapted the texts of Greek tragedies into everyday speech, believing that the messages they contain can foster compassion and healing. His troupe stages readings of modern translations of ancient tragedies, followed by panel discussions eliciting audience participation. The experience of directing a performance of a Euripedes play while a student of classical languages led him to a career translating and directing Greek dramas. Doerries was able to persuade the military to allow him to present on bases around the world his adaptation of Sophocles’ Ajax, in which a Greek warrior stricken with grief, exhaustion, anger, and a sense of betrayal by his superiors commits suicide. The author writes that recognizing themselves in the character of Ajax, servicemen were able to share their stories as never before. Similarly, he has presented his adaption of Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, a play about discipline, power, hierarchy, and control, to corrections officers. His work has since expanded into readings of other Greek plays to other groups—for example, students and teachers at medical schools and hospitals, with the aim of starting open discussions about palliative care and death and dying. He has also presented the biblical Book of Job before communities suffering in the aftermaths of natural disasters.

Samples of his adaptations scattered throughout the book demonstrate that Doerries has a knack for putting ancient speeches into powerful modern words; hopefully, a companion volume containing the full texts will follow.

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-307-95945-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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