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NOTES TOWARD A NEW RHETORIC: 9 Essays for Teachers by Francis and Bonniejean Christensen

NOTES TOWARD A NEW RHETORIC: 9 Essays for Teachers

by Francis and Bonniejean Christensen

164 pages
These essays led to the famous Christensen Method of writing.

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Category: Writing
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About the Book
Francis Christensen, an English professor at the University of Southern California, solved the mystery of how the great writers write. Through careful analysis of literally thousands of works of fiction and nonfiction, he discovered how professional authors arrange all the elements to deliver those three fundamental requirements of all good writing: specifics, organization, and style.

The secret of the sentence, Christensen realized, is found not within the main clause, but outside of it, in the phrases and clauses that he called "free modifiers." He devised a simple yet powerful numbering system that shows how those parts of the sentence, and by extension the paragraph, may be explained and taught to others. That numbering system forms the foundation of what has since come to be known as The Christensen Method.

Fundamental to Christensen's approach is the analysis of real writers in action. The book is filled with dozens of sentences and paragraphs from the likes of Ernest Hemingway, E. B. White, Ursula LaGuin, David Halberstam, and John Steinbeck, all laid out on the page by the numbers (see the sample chapter). Of special note is his attention to the absolute phrase, a rarely taught but extremely frequent secret weapon of all the best writers.

This book is a reprint of a volume of Christensen's essays that has been out of print for nearly thirty years. But his insights into the art of rhetoric remain true today, and these lessons serve to prove that writing can, in fact, be taught. Whether you teach others to write, or write yourself, or enjoy the writings of others, this book will enlighten and inspire you.


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About the Author
Francis and Bonniejean Christensen Don Stewart teaches English at Belmont Hill School in Belmont, Massachusetts, and is the author of The Stewart English Program, a three-book series for high school students. He is also the director of Write for College, a summer writing program for students in the Boston area.



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