Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: To write in a certain manner

  1. #1
    Registered User EmptySeraph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    98

    To write in a certain manner

    For years now, I've been interested in the perfectly written sentece, and I've been in a perpetual search for stylists, for those for whom the message itself is being substituted by the shape that has been atributed to it. I am well aware of the current fashion in writing, that implies delivering concise, limpid, straightforward utterances, choosing the simple words when possible, offering as much of a solide image as possible while avoiding ambiguity and equivocal formulae. This is done in order for the writer, we've heard is countless times, to have an easier time running across the pages of the book that proposes a specific facility. The problem that emeges here is the reception of the book, the book as an idea, as a vehicule that conveys thoughts, and the reasons behind it. There exists a very wrong conviction that a book is there to entertain, to make us have a good time, at last, to be enjoyed. I think the reasons that come along with a book, and that provide the necessary fuel for the writer to actually create it are completely different, but I don't want to make of this message a confession of my views regarding art. In the end, I want to make a request for people here to name writers really are worthy of the name, by this meaning writers that are primary concerned about the shape of their text, about its sonority, lenght, rhytm, about every comma. Of course an artist is free to create as he sees fit, and a rather minimalist curent might compel the artist to come up with a very terse prose, but here I'm interested in those authors that took their time to write over and over and over again, in order to reach the perfect embodiment of his ideas, those who always look to refine the text, to polish it until sometimes its essence becomes secondary, the main objective remaining the shape, the physicality, what it always remains there, what resists over time.

    So, let us hear some names. Nabokov? Joyce? Joseph Conrad? Faulkner? Virginia Woolf? Jane Austen? Henry James? Proust? Nietzsche? Flaubert? Maybe someone less known stylists like E.M. Cioran? Or the French moralists? La Rochefoucauld? Chamfort? Joubert? Surely Sir Thomas Brown? Daniel Defoe? Joseph Addison? Defoe? Samuel Johnson definitely knew how to wield a quill. The same could be said about Edmund Burke. Gibbon has also written some very good prose. And we cannot afford to forget Swift. I also like William Hazlitt. Montaigne also strikes me as faultless. Paul Valéry was of course obsessed with style, and he was, like his master, Mallarmé, a syntactic genius. Emerson is a great writer. So is Thomas Hardy. Roland Barthes is also great, with his exuberant use of neologisms. The Bronte sisters, I feel, have written some pretty good books. Oscar Wilde looks like a good stylist too. Fitzgerald writes with much talent, of course. Just like Truman Capote. T.S. Eliot is very good. Beckett is at least exquisite. Many, many others deserve to be mentioned and discused. I'm awaiting your proposals. Who, in your oppinion, is the best stylist?
    Last edited by EmptySeraph; 01-01-2017 at 11:01 AM.

  2. #2
    Registered User EmptySeraph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    98
    I have to admit it—the style matter can be very tedious at times...

  3. #3
    Registered User Red Terror's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    Location
    Over Your Shoulder
    Posts
    264
    Whoever wrote the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes was the best stylist.

    George Orwell, in his essay "Politics and the English Language", says:

    I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:


    I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. Ecclesiastes 9:11

    Here it is in modern English:


    Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politi...glish_Language

    http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/...glish/e_polit/



    Quote Originally Posted by EmptySeraph View Post
    For years now, I've been interested in the perfectly written sentece, and I've been in a perpetual search for stylists, for those for whom the message itself is being substituted by the shape that has been atributed to it. I am well aware of the current fashion in writing, that implies delivering concise, limpid, straightforward utterances, choosing the simple words when possible, offering as much of a solide image as possible while avoiding ambiguity and equivocal formulae. This is done in order for the writer, we've heard is countless times, to have an easier time running across the pages of the book that proposes a specific facility. The problem that emeges here is the reception of the book, the book as an idea, as a vehicule that conveys thoughts, and the reasons behind it. There exists a very wrong conviction that a book is there to entertain, to make us have a good time, at last, to be enjoyed. I think the reasons that come along with a book, and that provide the necessary fuel for the writer to actually create it are completely different, but I don't want to make of this message a confession of my views regarding art. In the end, I want to make a request for people here to name writers really are worthy of the name, by this meaning writers that are primary concerned about the shape of their text, about its sonority, lenght, rhytm, about every comma. Of course an artist is free to create as he sees fit, and a rather minimalist curent might compel the artist to come up with a very terse prose, but here I'm interested in those authors that took their time to write over and over and over again, in order to reach the perfect embodiment of his ideas, those who always look to refine the text, to polish it until sometimes its essence becomes secondary, the main objective remaining the shape, the physicality, what it always remains there, what resists over time.

    So, let us hear some names. Nabokov? Joyce? Joseph Conrad? Faulkner? Virginia Woolf? Jane Austen? Henry James? Proust? Nietzsche? Flaubert? Maybe someone less known stylists like E.M. Cioran? Or the French moralists? La Rochefoucauld? Chamfort? Joubert? Surely Sir Thomas Brown? Daniel Defoe? Joseph Addison? Defoe? Samuel Johnson definitely knew how to wield a quill. The same could be said about Edmund Burke. Gibbon has also written some very good prose. And we cannot afford to forget Swift. I also like William Hazlitt. Montaigne also strikes me as faultless. Paul Valéry was of course obsessed with style, and he was, like his master, Mallarmé, a syntactic genius. Emerson is a great writer. So is Thomas Hardy. Roland Barthes is also great, with his exuberant use of neologisms. The Bronte sisters, I feel, have written some pretty good books. Oscar Wilde looks like a good stylist too. Fitzgerald writes with much talent, of course. Just like Truman Capote. T.S. Eliot is very good. Beckett is at least exquisite. Many, many others deserve to be mentioned and discused. I'm awaiting your proposals. Who, in your oppinion, is the best stylist?
    Last edited by Red Terror; 01-11-2017 at 07:00 PM.
    There has never been a single, great revolution in history without civil war. --- Vladimir Lenin

    There are decades when nothing happens and then there are weeks when decades happen. --- Vladimir Lenin

  4. #4
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Near Chicago, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,092
    Blog Entries
    2
    Mary Oliver's poetry exhibits a style I wish I could imitate. I would call her the best stylist who comes to my mind at the moment.

    She also expresses a content or message that I enjoy hearing. That helps make her style pleasurable to me. Style without content ultimately goes nowhere.

  5. #5
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Beyond nowhere
    Posts
    5,089
    I think all good writers have a very personal style. But there is also experimental literature where the writers aim at new and often very unusual ways of expression. In English the extreme example would be Ulisses and Finnegans Wake.In Brazilian Portuguese the prose of Guimarăes Rosa. In German the novel Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin with its several layers of language.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Posts
    5
    Mary Stewart, DE Stevenson, Rosemary Sutcliff (more the Eagle series). CS Lewis is the king of the simplest and yet most poignant sentences . . .

  7. #7
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Near Chicago, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,092
    Blog Entries
    2
    I was walking through a street with antique booths the other day. I don't buy this stuff, but it amazes me sometimes what people keep. One of the vendors was selling funny refrigerator magnets in addition to antiques. It occurred to me that the texts on these magnets, for them to work like a good joke, have to be stylistically perfect. Here is one:

    Chocolate makes your clothes shrink


    Whatever genius came up with that would have to have labored over every word to make sure the reader got the point. The style was critical. Here's another:

    "Latte" is French for "You paid too much for that coffee"

  8. #8
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Somewhere in the South East of England
    Posts
    1,190
    Red is quoting from the King James or Authorized Version translation. That particular passage shows the virtues of that translation at it best – dignified without pomposity, plainness without dullness. Although the translation is much loved and admired, not all texts in the Bible are so well suited to the style of the Authorized Version.
    Previously JonathanB

    The more I read, the more I shall covet to read. Robert Burton The Anatomy of Melancholy Partion3, Section 1, Member 1, Subsection 1

  9. #9
    Gerardo 7 Reyes
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Manila
    Posts
    7
    British novelist, E. F. Benson, would be one of the best choices in terms of prose style. Secure a copy of his "Queen Lucia" series.

  10. #10
    Gerardo 7 Reyes
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Manila
    Posts
    7
    Among the male novelists with exceptional prose style are:
    E. F. Benson (at his best in Queen Lucia series or Mapp and Lucia)
    William Makepeace Thackeray
    Evelyn Waugh
    Wilkie Collins
    Benjamin Disraeli
    Oliver Goldsmith
    Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu ( please read his short story "Green Tea")
    Henry James

    Among the ladies, I would consider George Eliot to have technical superiority in terms of prose style.

  11. #11
    Gerardo 7 Reyes
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    Manila
    Posts
    7
    You are right, EmptySeraph... writing style IS indeed tedious as you can spend an entire lifetime searching for exceptional prose stylists in a vast ocean of books and produce minimal results. The finest stylists belong to bygone eras and many consider them "unreadable" - a hideous description that we, prose lovers, refuse to acknowledge.

  12. #12
    Registered User EmptySeraph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Posts
    98
    I love later Henry James. His style is so elusive, so elliptical, dense and impenetrable, his circumlocutions, his obfuscations, his obnubilating constructions--I find this style highly artistic. Sadly, most readers avoid him because they generally avoid difficult reads, favoring facile runnings through a novel devoid of any content. A good novel claims effort.
    Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes.

Similar Threads

  1. Gore Vidal and His Patrician Manner
    By Red Terror in forum General Literature
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 08-02-2016, 05:59 AM
  2. Venting one's frustration in a positive manner.
    By Lioness_Heart in forum General Chat
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 05-15-2008, 01:45 AM
  3. Fragment 3 (in the manner of Beckett)
    By linz in forum General Writing
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-25-2007, 07:08 AM
  4. Fragment 2 (in the manner of Beckett)
    By linz in forum General Writing
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-13-2007, 11:48 AM
  5. Fragment (in the manner of Beckett)
    By linz in forum General Writing
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-05-2007, 04:59 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •