Clear Writing
Readings in Expository Prose
  • Publication Date: October 31, 2006
  • ISBN: 9781551118246 / 1551118246
  • 456 pages; 6" x 9"

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Clear Writing

Readings in Expository Prose

  • Publication Date: October 31, 2006
  • ISBN: 9781551118246 / 1551118246
  • 456 pages; 6" x 9"

Clear Writing is a compact, varied, and very readable collection of prose, designed to provide models of excellent and engaging writing for courses in rhetoric, composition, writing, university writing, expository prose, non-fiction writing, and the essay.


“This is a fantastic reader. Clear Writing matches contemporary ideas and issues with clear, effective writing from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries and draws on an impressive range of contexts and genres. This is an ideal book for writing instructors who wish to emphasize connections, especially the relationships between reading, writing, ideas, and critical thinking.” — Patricia Whiting, Carleton University

Clear Writing is an impressive collection of many of the world’s finest writers, wonderful models for students, and a very sensitive representation of voices often not heard. The division both by subject and by rhetorical mode is helpful; the juxtaposition of authors from different periods—for example, Samuel Johnson just before Naomi Klein—is a dramatic statement to students about the timelessness of great writing.” — Rosalie Murphy Baum, University of South Florida

“I have never seen a collection of essays before with so much historical, political, and academic variety—essays on yawning and batting averages are included alongside canonical texts of political and cultural theory. The selections are consistently intelligent and insightful; the book as a whole is genuinely engaging.” — Katherine Sutherland, Thompson Rivers University

Clear Writing includes an impressive range of canonical and contemporary writings. I like the selections, which demonstrate a strong critical sensibility without sacrificing accessibility.” — Matthew A. Levy, University of Texas at Arlington

Clear Writing is an excellent anthology for student readers. The selections are variously funny, elegiac, politically savvy, exposing students not only to different genres but to different tones and modes of writing—but always paragons of lucid prose. These are perfect essays for developing a student’s ear for poetics and rhetoric, and, perhaps most importantly, the love of reading that fosters good writing. They are essays to imitate as well as consume, and all are ‘meaty’ enough to foster discussion about their content as well as about their writerly strategies. I could imagine using this anthology for anyone from high school English students to undergraduates studying composition to graduate students in courses on rhetoric, the essay, or the history of prose style.” — Elizabeth Freeman, University of California Davis

Index—Rhetorical Modes

Personal Experiences

E.B. White · Once More to the Lake
James Baldwin · Notes of a Native Son
Annie Dillard · Terwilliger Bunts One
Lucy Grealy · Pony Party
David Sedaris · Old Faithful
Temple Grandin · My Story

Global Media

Samuel Johnson · On Advertising
Naomi Klein · The Swoosh
Douglas Coupland · Cigs
Nancy Franklin · Model Citizens
Malcolm Gladwell · Brain Candy

Nature and the Environment

Virginia Woolf · The Death of the Moth
Edward Hoagland · The Courage of Turtles
Barry Lopez · The Passing Wisdom of Birds
Peter Singer · Speciesism
Don Gayton · A Cautionary Tale

Social Issues

Jonathan Swift · A Modest Proposal
W.E.B. Du Bois · A Mild Suggestion
Richard Rodriguez · Profession
Gloria Steinem · Supremacy Crimes
Robert Murray · It’s Not Like Falling Asleep
Barbara Ehrenreich · Maid to Order
Laura Robinson · Women’s Volleyball

Law and Politics

Michel de Montaigne · Of a Monstrous Child
Henry David Thoreau · Civil Disobedience
Abraham Lincoln · The Gettysburg Address
Ralph Waldo Emerson · Politics
Winston Churchill · Wars Are Not Won by Evacuations
Martin Luther King, Jr. · Letter from Birmingham Jail
Gwynne Dyer · How People Power Topples the Tyrant


John Jay Chapman · Coatesville
Martha Gellhorn · The Bomber Boys
Hannah Arendt · Deportations from Western Europe—Denmark
Robert Darnton · Workers Revolt: The Great Cat Massacre of the Rue
Philip Gourevitch · We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be
Killed with Our Families
Joan Didion · History Lesson
Jonathan Vance · The Soldier as Novelist

Science and Technology

Stephen Jay Gould · Entropic Homogeneity Isn’t Why No One Hits .400
Any More
Jay Ingram · This Chapter is a Yawner
Witold Rybczynski · One Good Turn
Eric Schlosser · Why the Fries Taste Good
Meenakshi Wadhwa · In Her Own Words

Human Nature

William Hazlitt · On the Pleasure of Hating
George Eliot · Only Temper
Mark Twain · Corn-Pone Opinions
Stanley Milgram · Behavioral Study of Obedience
Nicholson Baker · Changes of Mind
Richard Wrangham · Killer Species

Languages and Culture

Ernest Hemingway · Pamplona in July
George Orwell · Shooting an Elephant
N. Scott Momaday · The Way to Rainy Mountain
Ngugi wa Thiong’o · Decolonising the Mind
Perri Klass · Learning the Language
Amy Tan · Mother Tongue

Literature and Other Arts

Gilbert Highet · The Gettysburg Address
Lawrence Weschler · Comedy of Values
Maya Lin · Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Douglas Coupland · Group of Seven
Susan Sontag · Looking at War
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. · Phillis Wheatley on Trial

Glossary of Terms
Index—Author and Title