Reviewing strategies in Evaluating Writing

Silvia Pireddu

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


A book review is a complex form of writing. Book reviews draw from diverse areas of knowledge to discuss the style, form and content of a published text. They involve different areas of vocabulary, discourse organisation strategies, and they fulfil different purposes. Reviews of literary texts can be placed among specialised forms of writing English for Special Purposes (esp), especially in the case of peer to peer communication, i.e. scholars and critics reviewing books in a specialised magazine or journal, but they can be turned into a popularised text to be read by specialists, semi-specialists and the more general public with an interest in literature (e.g. book reviews in The Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, World Literature Today as much as in newspapers or, more recently, Goodreads, Amazon, etc.). In fact, the boundaries between specialised and popularised reviews overlap and a distinction between reviews of critical texts and, say, novels or poetry is not always clear in linguistic terms. Moreover, book reviews are also written by pupils and students at school or at university as part of their training in English and English for academic purposes. Therefore the area of study is vast and categorisations are rather complicated. A book review is basically a description which involves critical analysis and aims at evaluating the meaning and significance of a book. The reviewer focuses on the book’s purpose, content, language and often questions the ability, the authority, the quality of the writer and the publishing process. Book reviews play a key role in marketing a book and having it translated. Reviewing involves some sort of reaction or emotion along with the evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the material that is analysed. It is both a personal, subjective response to a text and, at least in intent, a brief, objective assessment of its form, content, language and ideas. The reviewer is often a writer or critic, i.e. an expert reader who bases his/her judgment on knowledge, expertise and the ability to interpret the text better than the average book lover. This article investigates various aspects of review writing: a linguistic analysis of the macrostructure suggests that it fits into specialised genres, albeit in a form of its own. Patterns of regularity along with the lack of recurrent codified elements are observed in the structural features that characterise these kinds of texts, and attention is paid to the discursive and stylistic layout of book reviews. Results are evaluated in the light of the globalised literary market.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)145-164
Numero di pagine20
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2013


  • ESP
  • discourse analysis
  • evaluative language
  • literary reviews


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