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Extended Audio Sample Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric, by Ward Farnsworth Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (61 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Ward Farnsworth Narrator: Bronson Pinchot, Jim Meskime Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Masters of language can turn unassuming words into phrases that are beautiful, effective, and memorable. What are the secrets of this alchemy? Part of the answer lies in rhetorical figures: practical ways of applying great aesthetic principles—repetition and variety, suspense and relief, concealment and surprise—to a simple sentence or paragraph. Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric recovers this knowledge for our times. It amounts to a tutorial on eloquence conducted by Churchill and Lincoln, Dickens and Melville, Burke and Paine, and more than a hundred others. The book organizes a vast range of examples from those sources into eighteen chapters that illustrate and analyze the most valuable rhetorical devices with unprecedented clarity. The result is an indispensable source of pleasure and instruction for all lovers of the English language.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Not only educational but delightful.”

    David Mamet, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Many things, from dictators to advertising, have made modern people suspicious of and cynical about language mobilized to move us. Fortunately, Ward Farnsworth’s delightful swim in a sea of well-chosen words should help to rehabilitate the reputation of rhetoric.”

    George F. Will, New York Times bestselling author and syndicated columnist

  • “The most immediate pleasure of this book is that it heightens one’s appreciation of the craft of great writers and speakers…Mr. Farnsworth wants to restore the reputation of rhetorical artistry per se, and the result is a handsome work of reference.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “As Ward Farnsworth—a professor of law at Boston University—demonstrates in his witty handbook, the various rhetorical techniques are actually the organizing principles behind vivid writing and speech…More important, this handbook also provides a slew of examples to reveal how great writers have added force and color to their sentences by employing these tropes or figures.”

    Washington Post

  • “Mr. Farnsworth, who despite being a professor of law writes clearly and trenchantly, wastes no time here with the trite and the trivial…This wealth of examples, if you will only look into them, will stimulate your interest, gratify your curiosity, and amplify your own writing.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “So, dear reader, I say it even if I say it myself—get this book! No, really, get this book! Read clever Farnsworth, and read him again, and you may become more clever yourself.”

    Chronicle of Higher Education

  • “An engaging and accessible guide, valuable to all who wish to improve their rhetorical skills or better appreciate the abilities of others.”

    Library Journal

  • “Ward Farnsworth’s invaluable review of classical English rhetoric is not only a vital tool for aiding clear expression, but a timely reminder that, despite the confusion of the present technological age, human nature, and our ability to communicate in clear and often beautiful ways is unchanging.”

    Victor Davis Hanson, coauthor of Who Killed Homer?: The Demise of Classical Education and the Recovery of Greek Wisdom

  • “Every writer should have this book.”

    Erin McKean, editor of Verbatim: The Language Quarterly

  • “I must refrain from shouting what a brilliant work this is (praeteritio). Farnsworth has written the book as he ought to have written it—and as only he could have written it (symploce). Buy it and read it—buy it and read it (epimone).”

    Bryan A. Garner, author ofThe Elements of Legal Style

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Joshua | 12/3/2013

    " Best book on categorizing figures of speech in English prose. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Gwen Burrow | 7/8/2013

    " If this book were the highway, I read it fast enough that I caught only every fifth mile marker, but I still enjoyed the ride and I know right where to go if I want to catch the other four. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Geoffrey | 6/28/2013

    " One of the most fascinating books I've ever read. A must-read for any writer, or anyone interested in language. I can't recommend it more highly. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by David | 6/5/2013

    " I read it in snippets and learn something every time. "

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About the Author

Ward Farnsworth is professor of law and the Nancy Barton Scholar at Boston University School of Law. He is the author of various books and articles on a wide range of subjects, from tort law to English rhetoric.