HOMAGE TO CATALONIA

A history, published in Britain shortly after the author wrote it in 1937, of the few months surrounding the Barcelona Telephone Exchange riots and what the writer determines as the Communist betrayal of all of Spain's anti-fascist forces. The crux of Orwell's writing is to show the ridiculous misrepresentations of the actual happenings in Barcelona and on the front and their meaning for the rest of Spain. The Communists were joined with the Government. Another anti-fascist faction was the P.O.U.M. or anarchist militia. They were closely allied with socialist worker movements, ready to build up a workers' revolution. In the beginning when issues were but hazily defined, Orwell joined the P.O.U.M. and fought with them- at the front. The Communists, considering anarchist-socialist revolutionary policies as presumptive, sought successfully to purge the P.O.U.M. and rendered them through messy journalism, coercive police methods, withdrawal of arms, false reports- as Trotskyists, pro-Franco, anything but the potent patriotic force they were. Thus republican Spain lost a power that could have helped beat Franco. Orwell's report is as exciting as it is meditative. With his quiet exactitude the midnight skirmishes, the political issues, and the utter futility of war come clearly into focus. Perhaps not a book to create sensation in a day when much of what happened at Barcelona has been realized, but one enlightening in terms of showing the war way toward mutual understanding and fair play.

Pub Date: May 15, 1952

ISBN: 1849025975

Page Count: 182

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1952

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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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