Eric Hayot’s The Elements of Academic Style: Writing for the Humanities (2014) is a writing guide geared towards graduate students in the humanities. As a response to the still influential Strunk and White’s Elements of Style (from 1920), Hayot puts the focus of writing on the level of the sentence, as opposed to the level of the paragraph. Hayot also gives suggestions on how to get writing done and how to write a dissertation that could be easily transformed into a book.
I came across Hayot in the winter of 2014/2015 when a Professor in UBC’s history department, Carla Nappi, interviewed Hayot for the New Books Network podcast. The limited copies of Hayot were shared among the graduate students and soon became an important text for us. For myself, Hayot helped me shake off my fear or writing; Hayot told me to embrace the anxiety and stress from producing knowledge. While writing my MA thesis over the past year, I, still, on occasion open up The Elements of Academic Style to read a chapter or two.
Read this book if: You are a university student (graduate or undergraduate). You will be more relaxed when it comes to writing.