Advertisement

Back Cover Blurbs: Puff Pieces and Windows on Cultural Values

  • Helen Basturkmen

Abstract

The blurb on the back cover of a book has a strong promotional function aiming to entice readers to select the book in question. It offers fulsome praise, shuns negativity and is often edited by the publisher (Cronin and La Barre, 2005). Bhatia (2004) traces the historical development of the term ‘blurb’ back to the appearance in 1907 of a comic book jacket decorated with a drawing of the beautiful ‘Miss Blurb’ and subsequent definitions of the blurb as a ‘flamboyant advertisement’, a brief description functioning as a ‘commendatory advertisement’ and a ‘puff piece’ (p. 169). Blurbs are also sometimes referred to as ‘advance praise’ and according to Cronin and La Barre (2005) some US publishers explicitly label them as such on book covers. These writers entitled their own study of blurbs as an enquiry into ‘patterns of puffery’.

Keywords

Language Learning Language Teaching High Frequency Word Intended Readership Back Cover 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Agar, M. (1994) ‘The Intercultural Frame’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, XVIII, 2, 221–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arbury, J. (2008) SLA and the Analysis of Language Teaching Materials (Unpublished MA thesis, University of Auckland, New Zealand).Google Scholar
  3. Basturkmen, H. (1999) ‘A Content Analysis of ELT Textbook Blurbs: Reflections of Theory-in-Use’, Regional English Language Council Journal, XXX, 1, 18–38.Google Scholar
  4. Berelson, B. (1971) Content Analysis in Communication Research (New York: Hafner).Google Scholar
  5. Bhatia, V. K. (2004) Worlds ofWritten Discourse (London: Continuum).Google Scholar
  6. Cacchiani, S. (2007) ‘From Narratives to Intensification and Hyperbole: Promotional Uses of Book Blurbs’ in M. Davies, P. Rayson, S. Hunston and P. Danielsson (eds) Proceedings of the Corpus Linguistics Conference, University of Birmingham, 27–30 July 2007, http://www.corpus.bham.ac.uk/corplingproceedings07/paper/79_Paper.pdf, date accessed 10 December 2008.
  7. Cronin, B. and La Barre, K. (2005) ‘Patterns of Puffery: An Analysis of Non-Fiction Blurbs’, Journal of Librarianship and Information Sciences, XXXVII, 1, 17–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Flick, U. (2007) Doing Conversation, Discourse and Document Analysis (California: Sage Publications).Google Scholar
  9. Gea-Valor, M. L. (2005) ‘Advertising Books: A Linguistic Analysis of Blurbs’, Ibérica, X, 41–62.Google Scholar
  10. Gesuato, S. (2007) ‘Evaluation in Back-Cover Blurbs’, Textus, XX, 1, 83–102.Google Scholar
  11. Grupetta, C. (2008) ‘Getting Them Hooked’, http://www.thebookseller.com/in-depth/feature/70467-getting-them-hooked.html, date accessed 10 December 2008.
  12. Hofstede, G. (1984) Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-related Values (California: Sage Publications).Google Scholar
  13. Kathpalia, S. S. (1997) ‘Cross-Cultural Variation in Professional Genres: A Comparative Study of Book Blurbs’, World Englishes, XVI, 3, 417–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Krippendorf, K. (1980) Content Analysis (California: Sage Publications).Google Scholar
  15. Markee, N. (1997) ManagingCurricular Innovation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  16. Ryan, G. W. and Russell, B. (2000) ‘Data Management and Analysis Methods’ in N. K. Denzin and Y. S. Lincoln (eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research 2nd edition (California: Sage Publications), 769–802.Google Scholar
  17. Richards, J. C., Hull, J. and Proctor, S. (2005) Interchange 3 (3rd edn.). Teacher’s Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  18. Rayson, P. (2008) Wmatrix: A Web-Based Corpus Processing Environment (Computing Department, Lancaster University), http://www.ucrel.lancs.ac.uk/wmatrix/, date accessed 30 December 2008.
  19. Scott, M. (1998) WordSmith Tools (Oxford: Oxford University Press).Google Scholar
  20. Swales, J. (1990) Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).Google Scholar
  21. Thornbury, S. (2008) ‘McEnglish in Australia’, http://www.Perso.wanadoo.es/sthornbury/McEnglish.htm, date accessed 10 December 2008.
  22. Todova, E. (1997) ‘Capulet and Montague — Reconciled and Ennobled: Recognising the Existence of a Balanced Approach with CLT’, Journal ofCommunication and International Studies, I, 4, 127–34.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Helen Basturkmen 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helen Basturkmen

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations