Today I’m looking at Arthur Quinn’s great book Figures of Speech: 60 ways to turn a phrase. It’s a very short book about style, about the different ways to play with words and when to do them. More importantly, it’s a pretty comprehensive glossary of terms, so that I know that when I spell something wrong intentionally, what I’m doing is called ennallage (5), and when I repeat the same word in different grammatical schemes, it’s called isocolon (77) and if I repeat a word or phrase immediately, that’s epizeuxis (80).
Quinn writes his book with his tongue firmly pressed against his cheek, moving very cleverly through all 60 of these figures of speech by talking about them, around them, and providing copious examples of them, drawing from the Bible, Shakespeare, Euripides, Twain, Marlowe; he shows us these figures at work in language throughout our cultural history. (more…)