A renowned scholar of Milton, head of the English Department of Duke University, Fish has emerged as a brilliantly original critic of the culture at large, praised and pilloried as a vigorous debunker of the pieties of both the left and right.
His columns for the New York Times routinely receive hundreds of comments, and he has published 12 books, including How to Write a Sentence. BookPage caught up with the professor for his take on writing mistakes, favorite authors and how sentences can save us. You write that you appreciate fine sentences as others appreciate fine wines.
Do you have a favorite? My favorite sentence is the one by Swift that I analyze in the book. I admire it for its efficiency, its apparent simplicity and its extraordinarily quiet brutality.
Who is the intended audience of How to Write a Sentence? I had multiple audiences in mind. And I am writing for the even larger audience made up of those who fear the act of composing, and feel that writing something coherent and efficient is a task immeasurably beyond them.
I want to tell these readers that they can do it, perhaps not as well as a Jonathan Swift or an Oscar Wilde or a Virginia Woolf, but in a way that brings the satisfaction that attends any act of mastery.
Almost everything I have done both in my academic work and in my public journalism has emerged from my study of rhetoric.
When I say that sentences can save us I mean that in a world where projects often go awry and situations are almost never neatly and finally resolved, the existence of sentences that move confidently to their destination and provide, for a moment, a definitive summing-up is something of a miracle, and one we can have recourse to at any time.
What is the most common mistake your students make in writing sentences? All of the mistakes that students make stem from a failure to realize that a sentence is a structure of logical relationships; that is, a structure every component of which relates in a rigorous way to every other component.
You give examples of how to write sentences like Henry James, Tana French and other authors. Is every author imitable? Can you learn to write like Faulkner?
In your opinion, who is at the top of that esteemed group? I spent many hours in high school diagramming sentences for a course titled Modern Grammar. Why should students make the effort to diagram sentences? When Stein says that the experience of diagramming sentences is exciting, what she means is that the experience of everything falling into place in a complex structure is exciting because it gives you a glimpse into the possibility of achieving a kind of perfection, even if it is perfection on a small scale.
Do all devoted readers have the capability of being good writers, too? All devoted readers have the capability of becoming better writers because they are devoted readers; whether they become good in some strong sense of that word is another matter, but better is good enough.
Author photo by Jay Rosenblatt.If searching for the book by Stanley Fish How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One in pdf form, then you have come on to the faithful website. Stanley Fish How to Write a Sentence. HARDCOVER. UPC: Release Date: 1/25/ Jan 25, · His new book, How To Write A Sentence: And How To Read One, is part ode, part how-to guide to the art of the well-constructed sentence.
Fish is something of a sentence connoisseur, and he says writing a fine sentence is a delicate process — but it's a process that can be learned. Stanley Eugene Fish (born 19 April ) is an American literary theorist and legal scholar. He was born and raised in Providence.
He is the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Humanities and a professor of law at Florida International University, in Miami, as well as Dean Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at.
My essay on Stanley Fish’s book, How to Write a Sentence, and on ways to improve your sentence-making in general, has been published by the excellent web journal, Fiction Writers Review.I describe Fish’s method of learning through imitation, attempt to use his rules to produce some good sentences of my own, and then offer a critique of Fish’s ideas.
-Booklist Outspoken New York Times columnist Stanley Fish offers an entertaining, erudite analysis of language and rhetoric in this delightful celebration of the written word. Drawing on a wide range of great writers, from Philip Roth to Antonin Scalia to Jane Austen and beyond, Fish's How to Write a Sentence is much more than a writing manual-it is a penetrating exploration into the art and craft of sentences.