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The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  237 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Eric Hayot teaches graduate students and faculty in literary and cultural studies how to think and write like a professional scholar. From granular concerns, such as sentence structure and grammar, to big-picture issues, such as adhering to genre patterns for successful research and publishing and developing productive and rewarding writing habits, Hayot helps ambitious st ...more
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Columbia University Press (first published July 15th 2014)
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May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing
Several friends and colleagues recommended this book to me, so I was surprised by how little I enjoyed it. Part of the problem has to do with the kind of writing Hayot advocates—which is the echt academic genre of cultural theory. Few of his examples of strong prose strike me as compelling. (There's even an odd moment when Frederic Jameson is held up as an avatar of style.)

But his advice about writing is also often troubling. For instance, Hayot takes the valid insight that the inter
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I'm teaching this book in my introduction to Graduate Studies book and its emphasis on some of the toughest structural and stylistic challenges of scholarly writing is offset with its lightness of touch, Hayot's wit and frankness. He begins the book with generative writing strategies--reminiscent of Professors as Writers or How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing, and his emphasis on habit-building was generous and practical. I also particularly liked his articulation of writing-as ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phd
Read for work.

Solid and analytical. (Longer review to follow?)
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book is quite illuminating to a new grad student like me. I love the way Hayot describes some things, such as showing only the tip of your ice burg, or avoid giving your reader all of your background info and research. Using that advice really helped me decide what was important and what wasn't important in my papers for class.

I still struggle with the uneven U, because I can totally tell a 5 from a 1, but the middle numbers sort of jumble together for me, no matter how many tim
Kelly W.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic-books
I bought this book when I began writing my dissertation, and it was an incredibly important resource for learning how to craft an academic text that was, frankly, very intimidating. There wasn’t a lot of institutional instruction on how to write at the graduate level at my school, so Hayot’s book came in handy when trying to find my way as a writer in the humanities. I especially found the chapter on “the uneven U” to be helpful, as my biggest problem as a younger student was crafting paragraphs ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
When I started graduate school and began to hand in writing, for the first time in my life, I received a fair amount of criticism, but much of it without any real suggestions for how to improve my writing to suit the work I was now doing. It seemed like academic writing was just something I was expected to know how to do, without anyone telling me--or at least that I would figure it out.

So when I saw this come up on Amazon, I picked it up for my Kindle and planned to read it, hoping
Beth Stratton
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academia

This book really resonated with me when I was in my final semester of MA trying to revise a journal article I was working on. It is full of tips and tricks, but there are a few chapters on how exactly to look at a paragraph in the grand scheme of your argument and it was just brilliant. Definitely pick this up for some great writing techniques.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I wanted more examples or an extended discussion, other times I found the exames and commentary to be too lengthy, but on the whole, it was helpful, particularly the section on the uneven-U structure.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
this book comforted me so much even though I am terrified of academia
Zoe Phillips
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Genevieve Brassard
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Very helpful and practical and motivational, all things I need to fight my procrastinating tendencies...
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very useful. Especially for post-graduate students.
Carol Tilley
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: scholarship, writing
Jonathan Hiskes
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This how-to on scholarly writing is quite interestingly for non-scholarly writing.
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Hayot means well, but this book left a bad taste in my mouth. There were some helpful comments, like when he says that "the work you do in your first years after starting graduate school... [will] determine, in almost every case, the first decade or so of your life as a publishing scholar" (119). His ideas on writing as process were also very useful. But I found his comments on style, which occupy roughly 2/3 of the book, commonsensical and even trite oftentimes. I think he's a mediocre stylist ...more
Aug 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
As a PhD student, I really appreciate the advices given in this book, especially the one about writing every day. Though I have to say, pursuing my academic career while tending to my new-born child have been quite a difficult situation, and I haven't really followed that advice very well. I almost got the grudge on why Hayot make it sound so easy.
The discussions on different aspects in writing are also helpful, to various degrees. I like the style of this book, and enjoyed it very much.
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
An excellent guide to writing in the Humanities for publication. I really wish I had read this my first year of graduate school!
Tristan Johnson
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing
Life changing
Dec 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Often idiosyncratic, often useful: how much milage you get from this book, I think, is going to vary by person. Even so, I would say that this writing guide is definitely worth checking out.
Mills College Library
808.06637 H4249 2014
Oct 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ctl
Some waxing poetic here and there but incredibly useful for publishing and general academic writing (in the humanities)
Eric Pecile
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Easily one of best books on academic style I have ever read. Definitely something I will consult regularly for all my future writing projects.
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“Active writing should not involve saying things you already understand and know, but instead let you think new things.” 1 likes
“You truly engage readers in the introduction when you convince them that it’s worth their time to keep reading, which means making a variety of credible promises (implicit and explicit) about both the value of the problem you will solve (usually explicit: “We have an inadequate or limited theory of early modern sexuality”), your professional credibility for addressing that problem (both explicit and implicit: you show the reader that you understand and know the field in which the problem takes place), and, ideally, by writing sentences or laying out ideas in ways that are rhetorically, rhythmically, or lexically appealing (always implicit). By having, in other words, some kind of style.” 0 likes
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