Suspend Your Disbelief

Posts Tagged ‘blurbs’

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99 problems but a blurb ain't one

There’s an art to book blurbing, as anyone who’s tried to write one can tell you. Over at the Kenyon Review, Jake Adam York takes a stab at classifying them. For example, there’s the “Lavish” type: The genre of the recommendation letter, a friend once observed, is hyperbole. Everything has to be stated in the superlative, so one reads for degrees of overstatement, hyper- and hypo-hyperbole, becoming a progressively more sensitive seismograph, searching out quavers and tremors or microscopic proportion. The blurb is a clear cousin or sibling, at least in the most common form in which sparrows of adjectives […]

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Mommy, where do blurbs come from?

The always-fascinating TYWKIWDBI points us to the origin of the blurb. According to Wikipedia, The word blurb originated in 1907. American humorist Gelett Burgess’s short 1906 book Are You a Bromide? was presented in a limited edition to an annual trade association dinner. The custom at such events was to have a dust jacket promoting the work and with, as Burgess’ publisher B. W. Huebsch described it, “the picture of a damsel — languishing, heroic, or coquettish — anyhow, a damsel on the jacket of every novel” In this case the jacket proclaimed “YES, this is a ‘BLURB’!” and the […]

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Blurb translation guide

We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But now, with Ward Six’s handy Literary Blurb Translation Guide, you can judge it quickly and easily by the blurbs on that cover. Some examples: “luminous prose” = too many goddam words “unflinching artistry” = lots of boobs and stabbing “taut” = limited vocabulary “incredible range and breadth” = all over the place “trenchant satire” = poop jokes The commenters on the original post have added more, as have the folks at MetaFilter. Got more to contribute? Tell us in the comments.