The Elements of Eloquence

10 Nov

What to say about this brilliant book by Mark Forsyth?

“The Elements of Eloquence” looks at the figures of rhetoric that make up part of English grammar.

Mark Forsyth provides examples ranging from Shakespeare to the Beatles and back again.

He analyzes some of Shakespeare’s greatest lines, explaining why they work and why they are so memorable.

I made several interesting discoveries.  Firstly, that it is possible to sing Lewis Carrol’s “The Walrus and the Carpenter” to the tune of “The House of the Rising Sun”.

The second one was a personal discovery: that Byron’s poem “The Destruction of Sennercherib” has much in common with Clement Clarke Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas”.  This isn’t in the book.  I worked this out for myself.

I also found myself sitting down and analyzing some of my favourite poems by A. A. Milne.

I recommend this book for all lovers of Shakespeare and poetry in general.

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