Tuchman Stresses Art and Accuracy In History Writing

Contemporary writing often shows a "disrespect for structure" and a lack of concern for "the right and correct," Barbara Tuchman '33, author of "The Guns of August," said yesterday in a talk sponsored by The Writing Center.

The sloppiness found in much of today's writing indicates a deeper unconcern with fact and accuracy, Tuchman told an audience of approximately 100 people in Harvard Hall. Tuchman said that a true feeling for grammatical structure could come only from a study of Latin no longer emphasized in modern education.

Tuchman also announced plans for a book about the Middle Ages exploring the social and cultural effects of the Black Death and the Hundred Years War.

Although she is renowned for her writing on military affairs, Tuchman said that she has no wish to write about the Vietnam War. "I would prefer to let a gap of 25 years develop before writing about," she said.

Analyzing the qualities of well-written prose, Tuchman stressed clarity, a scrupulous regard for facts, and a feeling for the "sound of words." She said that the well-turned phrase was the secret of the writer's immortality.


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