Parsing the Art of Writing

Berkeley Writers at Work Series Features Campus Linguist Oct. 31

Robin Tolmach Lakoff, one of the nation's foremost linguists, will be the featured writer this fall in the Berkeley Writers at Work series. The event will be Friday, Oct. 31, from noon to 1:30 p.m., in the Toll Room of Alumni House. She will read from her works, be interviewed about her writing process and answer questions from the audience.

Lakoff is a professor of linguistics, which she has taught here for 25 years. She has lectured throughout the world and is often called upon to train her linguist's sights on current issues. Recent talks have addressed "The O.J. Simp-son Case as an Example of Narrativity" and "How to Be a Smart Consumer of Language." She has also participated in the debate over ebonics.

Lakoff writes on a variety of subjects from linguistics to beauty to Freud. Her most recent book (with James C. Coyne) is "Father Knows Best: The Use and Abuse of Power in Freud's Case of 'Dora'" (1993).

Her 1975 book "Language and Women's Place" examined how our language influences or is influenced by the way we look at the world. An excerpt, reprinted in Ms. Magazine, has become a standard part of high school and college anthologies for the last 22 years.

In "Face Value: The Politics of Beauty" (1984), Lakoff and co-author Raquel L. Scherr explore what they call "the problem of beauty," tracing our fascination with beauty and its effect on our lives through myth, linguistic analysis, art, literature and popular culture.

"Talking Power: The Politics of Language" (1990) examines how language is used in conversation, the courtroom, academia, between men and women, from culture to culture.

"By artfully drawing together insights from linguists and rhetoric," said the San Francisco Chronicle, "[Lakoff] shows how to ferret out the patterns and assumptions behind the use of language in a variety of arenas....As consumers of manipula-tion...we all have plenty to learn from this book."

The Berkeley Writers at Work series provides a forum for writers to discuss all aspects of their craft. It is sponsored by the College Writing Programs, with support from the dean of undergraduate education.

The series is free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary.

For information, contact College Writing Programs at 642-5570 or email Steve Tollefson,



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