CDN$ 13.36
  • List Price: CDN$ 18.50
  • You Save: CDN$ 5.14 (28%)
FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25.
Usually ships within 1 to 3 weeks.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca.
Gift-wrap available.
Quantity:1
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Simple & Direct Paperback – Dec 6 2001


See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Paperback, Dec 6 2001
CDN$ 13.36
CDN$ 7.36 CDN$ 4.42

Best Canadian Books of 2014
Margaret Atwood's stunning new collection of stories, Stone Mattress, is our #1 Canadian pick for 2014. See all

Frequently Bought Together

Simple & Direct + On Writing Well 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
Price For Both: CDN$ 27.79

One of these items ships sooner than the other.


Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed



Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; 4 Reprint edition (Dec 6 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060937238
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060937232
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.7 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #87,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Rare is the book that causes one to consider--ponder? appraise? examine? inspect? contemplate?--one's every word. Simple & Direct, a classic text on the craft of writing by the educator Jacques Barzun, does so--with style. His object, says Barzun, is "to resensitize the mind to words." Do not use a word unless you know both its meaning and its connotations, its "quality" and its "atmosphere," and the ways in which it joins with other words. Barzun is an exacting taskmaster, railing against abstractions, "fancy" wordings, contemporary slang (which "prey[s] upon the vocabulary rather than nourish[es] it"), misprints ("it is rudeness to let them appear"), and the like. He bemoans what he sees as "a fury at work in the people to make war on hyphens," and he loathes those new words, such as condominium, that have been "cobbled together out of shavings and leftovers."

Still, no stodgy codger he. Barzun merely asks that you "have a point and make it by means of the best word." If that means splitting an infinitive or substituting a "which" for a "that," so be it. Just be sure that the decision to do so is conscious and informed. Once you've found the right word, you can move on to writing sentences and then leaning them against one another until they form paragraphs. Only when you've gotten it all down, says Barzun, should you allow yourself the pleasure of revision. "Unlike the sculptor," he says, "the writer can start carving and enjoying himself only after he has dug the marble out of his own head." --Jane Steinberg --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Born in France in 1907, Jacques Barzun came to the United States in 1920.After graduating from Columbia College, he joined the faculty of the university, becoming Seth Low Professor of History and, for a decade, Dean of Faculties and Provost.The author of some thirty books, including the New York Times bestseller From Dawn to Decadence, he received the Gold Medal for Criticism from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, of which he was twice president. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
You want to be a writer, or let us rather say: you want to write. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By W. A. Bussey on May 22 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book - twice. I am not an academic; I am a writer, and I find book to be not only useful but entertaining (as are most of Barzun's writings). As a writer he is careful and exact if not always concise. But even his lack of brevity has its merits; there is no misunderstanding what he is saying. I believe that only someone who has difficulty understanding the English language could call this book ". . .one of the worst books on English composition. . ." It is well written, well organized, and, although not always simple and direct, always complete, grammatically correct, and understandable.
As to another review, modern linguistic research has little to do with learning to produce a composition in English? Additonally in that review, the not-so-thinly veiled ad hominem attack on Barzun as being "pompous" and "nasty" has little to do with the merits of the book and do not constitute a review.
I certainly recommend the book for some excellent insight on how to write properly. Be prepared to work at it a bit, but that's as it should be; correct English writing requires some effort.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 25 2003
Format: Paperback
Barzun has written one of the best guides to prose composition, one to be set on the shelf with Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" and Graves & Hodge's "Reader Over Your Shoulder" and consulted often. All three of these books adhere to the Strict Taskmaster method and demand that the writer PAY ATTENTION to what he (or she) is doing. Prissy? Perhaps. Overbearing? At times. But such discipline is the first essential step towards becoming a real writer.
Only after one has internalized the Taskmasters and made their advice an ingrained habit can one then go on to profit from such excellent books as Joseph Williams's "Style," Thomas Kane's "Oxford Essential Guide to Writing," and Arthur Quinn's "Figures of Speech".
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Jones on April 20 2002
Format: Paperback
I taught newswriting as an adjunct in the journalism department of a state university for a couple of years, and Barzun's "Simple and Direct" was on a list of books and essays I strongly recommended to all my students.
As a news and documentary producer and news director, I found Barzun's prescriptions on prose style a reliable guide for editng my own work and others as well.
Barzun's approach can be a bit irritating at first because he tends to be fairly prissy about style, but if you can get past that, you begin to perceive the prissiness as a tight focus on precision of the type that is lacking in much modern prose writing.
His main rule is one I paraphrased at the first meeting of every newswriting class...that there are only two reasons for producing bad writing; either you don't know what you're writing about, or you don't know how to write about it.
I lost my copy of Barzun years ago. I think one of my students walked off with it. If so, I hope he or she is using it. I'm glad to know it's still available.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again.


Feedback