The Craftsmanship of Writing

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The Craftsmanship of Writing  (1920) 
by Frederic Taber Cooper
THE

CRAFTSMANSHIP

OF WRITING



BY

FREDERIC TABER COOPER


NEW YORK

DODD, MEAD AND COMPANY

1920


Copyright, 1910, 1911
By DODD, MEAD & COMPANY

TO

ARTHUR BARTLETT MAURICE

In recognition of long-standing and loyal friend-
ship as well as of his special kindliness
towards this particular volume,
it is herewith cordially
inscribed
 

PREFACE

The present volume is the outgrowth of a course in essay writing, offered two years ago in connection with the University Extension work of Columbia University. It embodies in part what the author then undertook to teach his students, supplemented by what the students quite unconsciously taught the author. There was a class which, taken collectively, offered much diversity of scholarship, a wide range of preparation for writing. Yet one and all of them presented practically the same sort of problem; one and all said in effect: "I have had such and such training; I have worked hard and willingly; yet my manuscripts do not sell. What is the matter with my preparation? What books should I read? What course should I take?" And in a wider way, these are the questions that are to-day being asked throughout the length and breadth of this continent. Now the purpose of this volume is to answer these questions, by pointing out that the fault is primarily with the would-be authors themselves, and not with their preparation. The best teaching they can anywhere receive is at most a makeshift, a mere starting point; they must learn to rely upon themselves, and the earlier the better. The most that this book or any other can do is to guide them away from certain wrong paths and toward certain right ones ; they must cultivate self-criticism, industry, the art of taking infinite pains, the habit of looking upon to-day's failures as the stepping stones toward to-morrow's success. The laurels of authorship are worth the winning largely because there is no primrose path leading to them.
     New York: April 13, 1911.

CONTENTS
CHAPTER PAGE
I The inborn talent 3
II The Power of self-criticism 47
III The Author's Purpose 79
IV The technique of form 115
V The gospel of infinite pains 153
VI The question of clearness 179
VII The question of style 209
VIII The technique of translating 243
Not listed on the contents page:
Index
269 


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1937, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 75 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.