Writers’ Bible – A New Edition

‘Style’ Gets New Elements is the headline from an article in today’s The New York Times. Just a few years short of its fiftieth birthday, Strunk and White’s enduring rule book, Elements of Style, a thin little paperback packed with text, has become a book of visual art with accompanying music.

In the new clothbound edition, Ms. Kalman’s whimsical paintings are sprinkled through the text, often responding to the wry or quirky examples the authors chose to enliven what might otherwise have been a dry discussion of grammatical rules.

Maira Kalman also envisioned music, so she turned to a young Julliard graduate, Nico Muhly, who has written an “Elements of Style” song cycle which will premiere tonight at 8 PM in the Rose Main Reading Room of the New York Public Library (Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street).

The vocal writing is cast in a distinctly early-music style, the textures as pure and pared down as Strunk and White liked their sentences.

If I were in New York City tonight, that’s where I’d be.