Rhyme Crazy
Carnival of Children's Lit, March '09

Strunk and White's "Elements of Style" Celebrates a Birthday

E.B. White's revised version of William Strunk, Jr.,'s grammar and usage guide turns 50 in April, and the Ithaca Journal reports on the classic's history. E. B White was a student of Strunk's at Cornell in 1919.

Strunk's [original] "Elements of Style" probably would have vanished for good had not someone stolen one of the two copies in the Cornell library in 1957 and sent it to White. In his "Letter From the East" column for July 15, 1957, White trumpeted "the little book," recalling its "rich deposits of gold" and eloquently ruminating on the valuable lessons he learned, lauding Strunk and his devotion to lucid English prose. Jack Case, an editor at Macmillan, was enticed by the column and persuaded White to revise, expand and modernize Strunk's book.

Read the whole story here.

Speaking of Ithaca, the home of Cornell, I read Justin Souza's interesting poem about the town, which dips into history, too; it's linked at the blog Seven Impossible Things today. All of today's Poetry Friday entries can be found at The Drift Record, author Julie Larios's spot on the web.

More links: The Elements of Style (50th anniversary edition and Maira Kalman-illustrated version), at Powell's Books


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So I'm as old as Elements of Style...is that a good thing? ;)

Interesting story about White. Thanks for sharing it.

The new version of this is SO COOL.

*English geek alert! English geek alert!*

Tanita and Susan,
I know, I know: absolutely an English Geek Alert! I love it. In fact I'm wondering where my own Elements of Style is. I have not seen it in a while.

Lucky Eisha is working on the book's anniversary exhibit -- she mentions it here, including a correspondence w/Maira Kalman: http://blaine.org/sevenimpossiblethings/?p=1608.

I still have my copy from college! I'll head over to 7-Imp right now! Thanks for sharing this.

Hi, glad you liked the poem! Ithaca has been a fantastic muse for me in my last few years here.

As a teacher at Cornell I actually find the Elements of Style rarely gets used in the composition classes that could truly benefit from it. My only thought is that it gets passed along as too obvious a choice for the school. Confusing, yes, but possible.

Hi, Justin. Thanks for stopping by. I enjoyed your poem very much.

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