Economics, Literature and Scepticism

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I am a PhD student in Economics. I am originally from South Africa and plan to return there after my PhD. I completed my M. Comm in Economics and my MA In Creative Writing (Poetry) at the University of Cape Town, where I worked as a lecturer before starting my PhD.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What else shouldn't I say?

Posted by Simon Halliday | Thursday, January 28, 2010 | Category: |'m reading Joseph M. Williams' Style: Toward Clarity and GraceI began it some time ago having borrowed it from the library, but I didn't finish it because I had to return it. I bought it recently to finish it at last. In the 'Concision' chapter, Williams describes the following scene:
Every teacher of freshman Shakespeare has seen papers that begin with a sentence on the order of "Shakespeare, who wrote Macbeth, wrote many other famous plays." Tell the student that he doesn't have to say that and he is likely to answer, "Why not? It's true, isn't it?" You say, "Well, yes, but you just don't have to say it.  It's obvious." Moment of thoughtful silence. "What else shouldn't I say?"
What a fantastic way to lead the reader to that question, "What else shouldn't I say?" That question is one of many I ask myself when writing. Have I written anything redundant? Have I used too much meta-discourse? Can I maybe cut something else out? Far too many Economists fail to realise that they write poorly; they would benefit from Williams' book (as I have benefited). I shall review the book soon enough.  Until then, remember, "What else shouldn't I say?"

Currently have 2 comments:

  1. I'm probably guilty too.

    It's difficult trying to find a balance between being humourous and maintaining proper grammer, syntax etc. Do I have poetic licence, and if not, where can I apply?

  2. Lenny, certainly anyone can hold a poetic licence, but, as you say, the problem is living up to it syntactically and stylistically. To balance concision, length and elegance as Williams might say. I aspire to it (with a caress of wit where possible).