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?