Semicolon by Cecelia Watson audiobook

Semicolon: The Past, Present, and Future of a Misunderstood Mark

By Cecelia Watson
Read by Pam Ward

HarperAudio, HarperCollins 9780062853059

Unabridged

Format: Library CD (In Stock)
  • ISBN: 9781982661076

  • ISBN: 9781982661069

  • ISBN: 9781982661083

Runtime: 3.79 Hours
Category: Nonfiction
Audience: Adult
Language: English

Summary

Summary

A page-turning, existential romp through the life and times of the world’s most polarizing punctuation mark

The semicolon. Stephen King, Hemingway, Vonnegut, and Orwell detest it. Herman Melville, Henry James, and Rebecca Solnit love it. But why? When is it effective? Have we been misusing it? Should we even care?

In Semicolon, Cecelia Watson charts the rise and fall of this infamous punctuation mark, which for years was the trendiest one in the world of letters. But in the nineteenth century, as grammar books became all the rage, the rules of how we use language became both stricter and more confusing, with the semicolon a prime victim. Taking us on a breezy journey through a range of examples—from Milton’s manuscripts to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letters from Birmingham Jail” to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep—Watson reveals how traditional grammar rules make us less successful at communicating with each other than we’d think. Even the most die-hard grammar fanatics would be better served by tossing the rule books and learning a better way to engage with language.

Through her rollicking biography of the semicolon, Watson writes a guide to grammar that explains why we don’t need guides at all, and refocuses our attention on the deepest, most primary value of language: true communication.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Impressive…The stress on compassionate punctuation lifts this work from an entertaining romp to a volume worth serious consideration.” Publishers Weekly
“Given her enigmatic, esoteric subject, historian Watson has crafted an impeccably readable meditation on the semicolon. …She reminds readers that there is an entire world of storytelling and communication that has nothing to do with how a sentence is spliced. It puts punctuation in perspective.” Booklist
“A brisk study of the history and meaning of an especially contentious punctuation mark…Sprightly and scholarly.” Kirkus Reviews

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Cecelia Watson

Author Bio: Cecelia Watson

Cecelia Watson is a historian and philosopher of science, and a teacher of writing and the humanities. She is currently on Bard College’s Faculty in Language and Thinking. Previously she was an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow at Yale University, where she was also a fellow of the Whitney Center for the Humanities and was jointly appointed in the humanities and philosophy departments.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : CD, Library CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 3.79
Audience: Adult
Language: English