I wrote briefly about Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric here; C. Max Magee of The Millions asked me to expatiate upon it chez lui, and I have done so. You will find a fair number of examples cited there, and I must say I enjoy the title he gave my review.


  1. 🙂 Wonderful, Hat.

  2. What I like most about your review is its artful simplicity. It deploys more rhetorical techniques than it displays, so there is something for every kind of reader, whether unfinished or lacquered.
    Take the first sentence: “These days we tend to write as we speak, with a certain allowance for fancy words and allusions.” This is an ingratiating appeal to the average person, who prides himself on being average and takes gruel for breakfast. I myself start the day with a quail egg, and polish my persona for an hour before riding out in the Park. Thus I bridled at the second part of your sentence.
    Yes, I write as I speak, but also I speak as I write. A certain allowance for fancy words and allusions would not float my boat – I take carte blanche with me when shopping for words.
    But these very considerations were stimulated by your sentence, which is fair enough as it stands. One of the effects of good presentation is assent. Another is to ensnare those who listen and think while balking.

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