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How Writing Works
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Book description

From the invention of the alphabet to the explosion of the internet, Dominic Wyse takes us on a unique journey into the process of writing. Starting with seven extraordinary examples that serve as a backdrop to the themes explored, it pays particular attention to key developments in the history of language, including Aristotle's grammar through socio-cultural multimodality, to pragmatist philosophy of communication. Analogies with music are used as a comparator throughout the book, yielding radically new insights into composition processes. The book presents the first comprehensive analysis of the Paris Review interviews with the world's greatest writers such as Louise Erdrich, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Ted Hughes, and Marilynne Robinson. It critically reviews the most influential guides to styles and standards of language, and presents new research on young people's creativity and writing. Drawing on over twenty years of findings, Wyse presents research-informed innovative practices to demonstrate powerfully how writing can be learned and taught.


‘This is an insightful and far ranging book on writing, its history, and how to teach it. Drawing on the insights of philosophers, scientists, educators, and accomplished writers, Dominic Wyse lays bare the power, mystique, and the pleasures of writing.'

Steve Graham - Arizona State University

‘Wyse's deep dive into the history of writing will make this book an instant classic and a must-read for scholars who study any aspect of writing. It is not an ordinary history of a discipline, but a rigorous and creative text that will make readers rethink relationships between music, composing, creativity and writing across our lifespans.'

Jessica Pandya - California State University, Long Beach

‘Like music of the soul with an original melody, replete with philosophical and historical notes, this book captures the very essence of writing and composition processes. Dominic Wyse's new volume switches up the tempo of current research to consider writing differently.'

Kathy A. Mills - Learning Sciences Institute Australia, Australian Catholic University

'A comprehensive survey and a meaningful proposal for future practices in education.'

Andrew Caines Source: The Times Literary Supplement

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