Public corrections: The discipline of Lynne Truss

Steven Scott Lunsford, University of Texas at El Paso


This study responds to many of the assumptions incited by the discourse by and about British author Lynne Truss and her bestselling book Eats, Shoot & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation . I look through two lenses to glean what many in popular and academic discourse say about several objects of study that the field of Rhetoric and Writing Studies takes on throughout its own scholarship and practice. First, by appropriating and synthesizing genre theories, I examine the generic function of the book: How does she characterize her own book? Who are Truss's intended readers? What does she intend for those readers to do with the book? What are her assumptions about various issues of writing studies, for example, literacy, grammar, and language standardization? Second, through critical discourse theory, I explore many of the reviews and other commentary by authors writing in popular newspapers and magazines, as well as those in academic journals: How do they characterize the book? How do they identify with Truss's call for better standards in English? What do they assume about various writing issues? I conclude by discussing some of the disconnects that continue to separate public and academic attitudes toward writing issues such as literacy, grammar, and the like. ^

Subject Area

Language, Rhetoric and Composition

Recommended Citation

Lunsford, Steven Scott, "Public corrections: The discipline of Lynne Truss" (2008). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3320190.