Happy 50th Birthday to The Elements of Style!

by Rebeca on April 22, 2009

The first time I expressed interest in writing, my father presented me with his copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style. I still have that original 1959 first edition and it’s in remarkably good shape considering it has traveled from Europe to New York, California, and back to New York.

This little book has been invaluable and I always keep it near me. When I don’t want a long-drawn out explantion about style or grammar, I refer to it often.

For a little history about the book, Sam Roberts wrote a nice article in the New York Times.  Below are the first three paragraphs:

Photo from the New York Times

Photo from the New York Times



The New York Times
‘The Elements of Style’ Turns 50
By Sam Roberts

How does a professional writer discuss “The Elements of Style” without nervously looking over his shoulder and seeing Will Strunk and E. B. White (or thousands of readers of their book) second-guessing him? (Is “second-guessing” hyphenated or not? Is posing a question the same as using the passive voice?)

William Strunk Jr. wrote and self-published the famous “Little Book” as a professor of English. White, his student at Cornell in 1919 and later an author and essayist, first revised the text four decades later after returning it to prominence with an essay in The New Yorker.

In 1959 a New York Times book reviewer pronounced it “a splendid trophy for all who are interested in reading and writing.”

To read the rest of the article click on headline.


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