Farnsworth’s Classical English Metaphor

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What to expect

Make your writing and speech shine like the sun! Here’s the most entertaining and instructive book about enlivening and clarifying communication by comparing one thing to another.

Ward Farnsworth provides a wide-ranging, practical tour of metaphors, arranged by theme. He shows how the best writers have put figurative comparisons to distinctive use―for the sake of caricature, to make an abstract idea visible, to make a complicated idea simple.

Using hundreds of examples, Farnsworth demonstrates all the different stylistic ways that points can be unforgettably made. There are quotations from novelists, playwrights, philosophers, and orators—along with commentary on how and why they work to bring power to words both in person and and on paper.

Writers and speakers, this book will make you a star.

Critics Review

  • “His discerning analysis of classical style as wielded by some of the most inspiring writers in English: Jefferson, Lincoln, Churchill, Douglass, and many others.”

    New Criterion
  • “I want this book to be beside my bed for years to come, a treasure-house of the liquid magic of words.”

    Simon Winchester, New York Times bestselling author
  • “Ward Farnsworth is a witty commentator…It’s a book to dip in and savor.”

    Boston Globe
  • “Most people will find it a grab-bag of memorable quotations, an ideal browsing book for the nightstand.”

    Washington Post
  • “A feat of elegant demystification…Farnsworth is able to focus on the finite material of metaphorical referents…a brilliant strategy, both in its utility for writers and the inherent insight Farnsworth’s divisions suggest about metaphors.”


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