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Stylish Academic Writing [Kindle Edition]

Helen Sword
5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

Helen Sword's brilliant little volume is in many respects the ideal companion to Stephen J. Pyne's equally brilliant Voice and Vision: A Guide to Writing History and Other Serious Non-Fiction (Harvard) and equally deserving of a wider audience than its target group, which in this case comprises those academics who either write or have to put up with "impersonal, stodgy, jargon-laden, abstract prose." As Sword writes: "Elegant data and ideas deserve elegant expression." Featuring oodles of ideas and tips backed up by lashings of original research and bursting to the seams with case studies exemplifying the good, the bad and the ugly of academic writing ("via a symbolic interactionist lens" is one such monster), this is a must for writers in any discipline. -- William Yeoman West Australian 20120619 [Sword's] counsel is wise, efficiently written, and infectiously winsome. She advises academic writers to use anecdotes and carefully chosen metaphors, and to write opening sentences that encourage readers to keep reading. She has drawn from a massive array of academic articles (more than a thousand) and given particular attention to authors known for writing readable material...Helen Sword's book contains much wisdom...Stylish Academic Writing contains superb counsel for academics who want to write with greater clarity and skill. -- Barton Swaim Weekly Standard 20120903 [A] practical and useful book. -- Colin Steele Australian Book Review 20121001

Kurzbeschreibung

Elegant ideas deserve elegant expression. Sword dispels the myth that you can’t get published without writing wordy, impersonal prose. For scholars frustrated with disciplinary conventions or eager to write for a larger audience, here are imaginative, practical, witty pointers that show how to make articles and books enjoyable to read—and to write.

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5.0 von 5 Sternen A very good treatment of academic writing 20. Juli 2013
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I enjoyed the book immensely, and feel that it has made a true impact on the way I write my articles, applications and other writing. Highly recommended.
War diese Rezension für Sie hilfreich?
Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 von 5 Sternen  33 Rezensionen
8 von 8 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Intelligent, useful book 9. Oktober 2012
Von James Donelan - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Helen Sword's perspective on academic writing is both timely and helpful. For at least fifteen years, discussion of academic writing style has either deplored it or defended it, without really figuring out what was wrong. The Bad Writing Contest and the Sokal Hoax showed us just how tangled up academic style had become, but failed to distinguish between a stylistic problem and outright fraud. The other side simply defended the indefensible: jargon for jargon's sake. What Sword had done here is point a way forward. Useful advice on how to make academic prose interesting and readable, along with fine examples from many fields, will undoubtedly send scholars in the right direction. An excellent, if brief, book, and what I hope will be the beginning of a positive direction in writing, especially in the humanities.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen More than a touch of genius 23. November 2014
Von Jennifer Grey - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
E. F. Schumacher once wrote that any intelligent fool could make things bigger and more complex, but that it took a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. Helen Sword's Stylish Academic Writing displays just the genius necessary to inspire academics to get up their courage to free their writing of the jargon-heavy passivity choking the life out of it (and their readers).

Unlike other guides, Sword brings massive research to bear on the 'problem' of academic writing: the first part of her work describes how she analyzed one thousand academic articles across ten different disciplines, as well as books and articles by one hundred academic writers recommended by their peers for the quality of their writing, and one hundred recently published style guides for academic writers in order to draw her conclusions. When was the last time you read a writing guide that devoted three full chapters to methodology?

From there, Sword goes on to explore eleven techniques displayed by stylish writers across the disciplines she studied, and each chapter contains both specific examples, good and bad, and simple directives for practices readers can use to improve their own writing. It's all so elegant that Strunk and White (who do get name-dropped several times throughout) would weep with joy.

Sword acknowledges that academic writing concerns itself with difficult, sometimes abstruse topics, and that sometimes jargon and nominalizations are appropriate to the task at hand. But smart, she argues, doesn't have to mean stultifying. Here's hoping publishing academics find her as persuasive as I did.
13 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Countering the leaden prose style of the academy 24. Mai 2013
Von Anson Cassel Mills - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Sword's advice for writing better academic prose isn't novel, but it's sound. As have other writing manuals, she urges scholars to reduce their adverbs, passives, "be" verbs, abstractions, nominalizations, prepositional phrases, and demonstrative pronouns. Her online diagnostic tool, "WritersDiet," is an amusing way of becoming more aware of one's own participation in the leaden style authorized by the academy.

Sword's book also provides examples of good scholarly prose, some truly stylish and others at least acceptable, if not rousing. Sword herself writes well enough, though many of her sentences might be tweaked and tightened. For instance, the following paragraph (112) is both clear and amusing:

"Every discipline has its own specialized language, its membership rites, its secret handshake. I remember the moment when, as a PhD student in comparative literature, I casually dropped phrase "psychosexual morphology" into a discussion of a Thomas Hardy novel. What power! From the professor's approving nod and the envious shuffling of my fellow students around the seminar table, I knew that I had just flashed the golden badge that admitted me into an elite disciplinary community. Needless to say, my new party trick fell flat on my nonacademic friends and relations. Whenever I solemnly intoned the word `Foucauldian,' they quickly went off to find another beer." (106 words)

Still, it could be tightened to good effect:

"Every discipline has its own specialized language, its secret code. When, as a PhD student in comparative literature, I casually dropped the phrase "psychosexual morphology" into a discussion of a Thomas Hardy novel, the professor's approving nod and the envious shuffling of fellow students revealed that I had been welcomed into an elite academic community. Needless to say, the same trick did not work with non-academics. Solemnly intoning the word `Foucauldian' sent them off after another beer." (77 words)

As a historian, I think my real problem with this book is that I don't want to write stylish academic prose. I want to write like David McCullough and Ron Chernow.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Intriguing and Fruitful 12. Juni 2013
Von Amazon Customer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
In academia, everyone prefers reading good writing but believes that everyone else wants tedious writing---a classic case of what social psychologists call "pluralistic ignorance." Helen Sword's book aims to motivate people to try an earthier, more human sound and to give them a sense of possibility and permission. After describing the sad state of writing across different fields, she offers advice and provides examples for academics who want to write well.

This is a good book: I enjoyed it and got much food for thought from it.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen didn't find it too helpful 18. Juli 2013
Von C^3 - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I've learned something from the first few chapters, especially the one about composing an engaging title. However, I didn't find the remaining chapters useful.

I would recommend "Writing Science" by Joshua Schimel, and "The Book on Writing" by Paula LaRocque.
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