Thursday, April 16, 2009
Help for Young Writers
Today is the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of E. B. White's revision of The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr., which was originally published in 1918. As a student at Mercer University in the late 1970s I took every journalism course offered by the University (two) under every professor who taught journalism (one), namely Billy Watson who was at that time Editor of the Macon Telegraph. Mr. Watson required us to read and to use The Elements of Style to which we referred and to which many people refer as "Strunk/White."
In a review of the book for Esquire magazine, Dorothy Parker once said,
If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they're happy.
As someone who tries to be a writer, I disagree, but I understand.