Monday, July 27, 2009

Chapter Review; Last Lines Quiz Answers

Today's review is of a chapter--"The Philosophy of Composition" in Richard D. Altick's The Art of Literary Research.

As in the rest of the book, Altick gears his information to scholars and critics, particularly of literature, but this chapter focuses on the act of composition itself. Altick encourages readers to write lucidly and gives examples of what to do and what not to do. He discusses introductions, transitions, conclusions, organization, and, because he is writing to people who use secondary information, quotation and documentation. He cautions against rambling: "Say what you have to say, and when you've said it, quit" (Altick 210). He reminds his readers to think of their readers: "Never leave the reader uncertain to your--and his--destination or the relevance of each statement to your purpose . . . The sentences and paragraphs should fit as tightly as the teeth of a zipper" (Altick 213). He reminds writers to rewrite for clarity in their thinking and their writing because "it sharpens insight into the meaning of what has been said, suggests new sources of data, perhaps makes it possible to extend the argument a further step" (Altick 214). His concluding sentences on conclusions is a good example of his subject: "Instead, it should sum up without seeming to do so; it should be a coda, not an abstract, and it should leave the reader with a satisfying sense of gain--new information acquired, an enlarged historical apprehension, a stimulating critical perception" (Altick 218). Altick finishes up with four useful reminders for all writers:
"1. Accuracy of facts.
2. Soundess of reasoning.
3. Clear explanation of the topic's significance.
4. Unaffected, terse, LUCID prose" (229).


Altick, Richard D. The Art of Literary Research. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1981.

Last Lines Quiz Answers

1. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
2. Mapp and Lucia by E.F. Benson
3. Emma by Jane Austen
4. The Egoist by George Eliot
5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
6. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
7. Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey
8. Step To The Music by Phyllis A. Whitney
9. Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery
10. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

1 comment:

  1. It was George Meredith who wrote The Egoist.
    Yep, George III was right when he told Fanny Burney that you can't proof your own stuff well!!!!!!!!!!