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Mark Garvey

21 October 2009 | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post

Mark Garvey, the author of Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style (Touchstone, 2009), discusses the style guide, its history, its authors William Strunk Jr., and E.B. White, and who its influenced over fifty years now, with Joseph Planta.


Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style by Mark Garvey. (Touchstone, 2009) Click to buy this book from Amazon.ca: Stylized

Text of introduction by Joseph Planta:

I am Planta: On the Line. This is THECOMMENTARY.CA.

Anyone who writes, or aspires to write relies on Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. And if you don’t swear by it, and can’t stand it, you’ve obviously read it. Long before it became an indispensible tool at my writing desk, it was a marvellous book to read. There was something unique about this style guide unlike any other. It has a character of its own, an attitude and outlook at life that’s unique. Now, a fascinating book is out: Stylized: A Slightly Obsessive History of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. In 1918, William Strunk Jr., a professor of English at Cornell, self-published a guide on grammar and usage. In 1957, a former student, the New Yorker writer E.B. White, rediscovered the book and wrote a piece in the magazine about the book, eventually revising the book, adding to it. In 1959, fifty years ago now, the first Strunk and White edition was published. It is a book that’s been used by many writers from Dave Barry to Elmore Leonard; Frank McCourt to Stephen King. The author of this book, Stylized joins me now. Mark Garvey is a twenty-year veteran of the book publishing business, and he’s written two other books: Searching for Mary and Come Together. His blog is at www.textarts.com. What he has written is a remarkable book about a remarkable book. It’s published by Touchstone. I’ll be keeping it next to my copy of The Elements of Style. Please welcome to the Planta: On the Line program, in Cincinnati, Mark Garvey; Good morning, Mr. Garvey.

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