“Most of Strunk’s injunctions repeat common and commonsense rules of grammar and syntax, though his hatred of the term ‘student body’ and his preference for ‘studentry’ after the example of ‘citizenry’ shows how usage is often personal and sometimes eccentric. His revulsion for the expression ‘the fact that’ was legendary. ‘It should be revised out of every sentence in which it occurs,’ he fumed . . .”
Nigel Jarrett explores the eccentricities of William Strunk Jr.’s Elements of Style, which he wrote about in Slightly Foxed Issue 54. His article ‘Strunking it’ was illustrated by this piece by Reynolds Stone, originally produced for the cover of the National Book League’s Annual Report in 1949.
About the contributor
Reynolds Stone was born in 1909. After finishing his degree at Magdalene College Cambridge, he became an unofficial apprentice at the Cambridge University Press and began to experiment with engraving on metal and wood. He engraved his first bookplate at the printing firm of Barnicott and Pearce, before leaving to engrave full time. Amongst his works are a Royal bookplate for the Queen Mother, a Royal Coat of Arms for the coronation of King George VI, illustrations for the Nonesuch Press and designs for the £5 and £10 notes which were produced in the sixties and used until decimalization. Stone continued to engrave during the Second World War, when he also worked as an aerial photographic interpreter for the RAF, before moving to The Old Rectory at Litton Cheney in Dorset with his wife. They lived there for the rest of his life, and Stone took inspiration from the garden and landscape for his painting and engraving. He was awarded the CBE in 1953, and died in 1979.