As an undergraduate at Columbia College , Barzun was drama critic for the Columbia Daily Spectator , a prize-winning president of the Philolexian Society , the Columbia literary and debate club, and valedictorian of the class of From until his retirement, he was University Professor at Columbia. In , Barzun married Mariana Lowell, a violinist from a prominent Boston family. They had three children: James, Roger, and Isabel. In , Barzun married Marguerite Lee Davenport.
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Jun 15, Christopher Rush rated it it was ok I feel somewhat abashed giving a book by the superb Jacques Barzun only two stars, but according to the authoritative site Goodreads or "goodreads" as it wants to be known on its own page , two stars equates to "it was okay," and since Simple and Direct was okay, two stars it gets. Toward the end Mr. Barzun gives us an extended survey of punctuation, but inscrutably he defines colons in contradistinction to his own usage throughout the book.
Not to harp on its deficiencies, but organization, another facet of writing upon which Mr. Barzun attempts to instruct us, is almost wholly useless in this work. True, it has distinct chapter headings covering divers aspects of writing, helpful enough, but beyond that Barzun gives us wonderfully trenchant tips on diction, tone, style, revision Aside from a virtually meaningless index, we have no realistic way of using this book as a reference tool for attacking individual writing errors.
So read it Try to absorb as much as you can. Perhaps copy out the twenty basic rules for writing Mr. Barzun scatters throughout his pages for general guidelines of decent writing.
Simple and Direct: A Rhetoric for Writers