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Thread: Flowery language

  1. #16
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lokasenna View Post
    My opinion, for what it's worth, is that we hit peak-flowery-language in the 18th century, with the likes of Swift, Steele, Addison etc.
    I wouldn't really call any of those guys flowery. Steele and Addison might have been prone to some rhetorical flourish, (it's been so long, I don't properly remember) but that's not exactly the same thing. My impression of Swift was like my impression of Tolkein: clunky wooden grayish prose that ill suited their fantastic plot content. Anyway, I tend to associate the term flowery with the mushy emotional excesses of the Romantic era rather than the clinical cerebral excesses of the age of Reason.
    Last edited by mortalterror; 03-19-2017 at 01:14 AM.
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  2. #17
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
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    If I recall correctly, Euphues isn't flowery. It's bombastic.
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  3. #18
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ecurb View Post
    Words and their meanings are insuperable, and "style" is not a sauce with which an otherwise unpalatable dish can be rendered edible.
    Spot on.

    I stand corrected on Euphues.
    Previously JonathanB

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  4. #19
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    Flowery is kind like a Humpty Dumpty kind of word, it means watever the user wants it to mean. No wonder everyone came with authors from different styles, even in the opening thread list... I suppose he is using flowery in a positive light even..
    #foratemer

  5. #20
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Exactly was I was looking for in English. Here the second and the third paragraph of Euphues. There are several free editions on line. To my mind it is typical baroque prose:

    "The freshest colours soonest fade, the teenest '{a) razor soonest
    turneth his edge, the finest cloth is soonest eaten with moths,
    and the cambric sooner stained than the coarse canvas. Which
    appeareth well in this Euphues, whose wit being like wax apt to
    receive any impres^on, and having thenBridleTiTEis own hands
    either to use the rein or the spur, disdaining counsel, leaving his
    country, loathing his old acquaintance, thought either by wit to
    obtain some conquest or by shame to abide some conflict and,
    leaving the rule of reason, rashly ran into destruction ; who,
    pr oferring fancy before friends and his .present hum our b efore
    honnnj- to come, laid_rgMon_jn_water, being too salt for his
    taste, and followed unbridled afEection most pleasant for his
    tooth.

    When parents have more care how to leave their children wealthy
    than wise and are more desirous to have them maintain the
    name than the nature of a gentleman, when they put gold into
    the hands of youth where they should put a rod under their
    girdle,' when instead of awe they make them past grace and leave
    them rich executors of goods and poor executors of godliness,
    then it is no marvel that the son, being left rich by his father's \
    will, become reckless by his own will."

    https://archive.org/stream/cu3192401...22084_djvu.txt
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 03-19-2017 at 11:09 AM.
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  6. #21
    Registered User EmptySeraph's Avatar
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    When using the term ''flowery language'', I'm thinking of a corolla, that is, of a structure that is delicate and esthetically pleasing, that is, above all, beautiful, so much so that its practical purpose becomes secondary, as it's supplied by its aspect, its carcase. The shape is substituted for the content. I'm thinking of Nabokov, of Joyce, of Evelyn Waugh, of Virginia Woolf, and it strikes me that they are doing something apparently superfluous in their endeavour to create literature. I say apparently, for, in essence, this is literature itself, this is art, as there's no need for any practical consequence. But, deffinitely, they are adding to the main skeleton that could just as well be a piece of literature. Think of Kafka, or of some French moralist, Chamfort or La Rochefoucauld--how many times do they use metaphors, or any other figure of speech? Their prose if completely depoeticized, stripped to the minimun, devoid of any fancy artifice. So, what deepley poetic prose writers like Joyce (who was, in fact, a poet too) or Nabokov or Woolf do is adorning the primordial sketch of a narrative piece (be it imaginary or just a mere draught, it doesn't matter, what matters is that this outline, bare as it is, do exist at some point, even if only as a fleeting thought in this or that author's skull) with tons of supplementary words. And some of them make us of a dizzying number of words. Perhaps they are prolix. No matter. I'm interested in this wordy plethora that they impose, and by means of which they exist.

    As far as I know, Ulysses is comprised of more than 30 000 unique words, which means the lexical density of this books is truly astonishing! It really possess a rich vocabulary, and that's what I'm lookin for--a rich vocabulary! Words, words, words, with the sole condition of they being different. I want authors that have tens of ways of putting a sentence, as well as a penchant for making them obscure and over laden with distinct lexias. They may end up looking overwritten, prolix, exagerated and straight illegible, but as long as they use so many dictionary entries, I coudln't care less.
    Last edited by EmptySeraph; 03-19-2017 at 09:24 PM.

  7. #22
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Well, have a look at Clarice Lispector and Guimarães Rosa. They are authors after your mind, but it has to be a good translation.
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  8. #23
    Alea iacta est. mortalterror's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    Exactly was I was looking for in English. Here the second and the third paragraph of Euphues. There are several free editions on line. To my mind it is typical baroque prose:

    "The freshest colours soonest fade, the teenest '{a) razor soonest
    turneth his edge, the finest cloth is soonest eaten with moths,
    and the cambric sooner stained than the coarse canvas. Which
    appeareth well in this Euphues, whose wit being like wax apt to
    receive any impres^on, and having thenBridleTiTEis own hands
    either to use the rein or the spur, disdaining counsel, leaving his
    country, loathing his old acquaintance, thought either by wit to
    obtain some conquest or by shame to abide some conflict and,
    leaving the rule of reason, rashly ran into destruction ; who,
    pr oferring fancy before friends and his .present hum our b efore
    honnnj- to come, laid_rgMon_jn_water, being too salt for his
    taste, and followed unbridled afEection most pleasant for his
    tooth.

    When parents have more care how to leave their children wealthy
    than wise and are more desirous to have them maintain the
    name than the nature of a gentleman, when they put gold into
    the hands of youth where they should put a rod under their
    girdle,' when instead of awe they make them past grace and leave
    them rich executors of goods and poor executors of godliness,
    then it is no marvel that the son, being left rich by his father's \
    will, become reckless by his own will."

    https://archive.org/stream/cu3192401...22084_djvu.txt
    Yeah, but that's not flowery in the least. It's calculated rhetoric with balanced antithetical clauses. It's got the same beats and structure as the opening of A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens:

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
    Just look at Kipling's If:

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
    Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

    If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
    Polonius' speech to Laertes in Hamlet has the same conceit:

    Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar.
    Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
    Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel;
    But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
    Of each new-hatch'd, unfledged comrade. Beware
    Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
    Bear't that the opposed may beware of thee.
    Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
    Take each man's censure, but reserve thy judgment.
    Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
    But not express'd in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
    For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
    And they in France of the best rank and station
    Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
    Neither a borrower nor a lender be;
    For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
    And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
    This above all: to thine ownself be true,
    And it must follow, as the night the day,
    Thou canst not then be false to any man.
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  9. #24
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Shakespeare also was baroque. And the famous opening of A Tale of Two Cities might be inspired by these lines:

    Ecclesiastes 3:1-8New International Version (NIV)
    A Time for Everything

    3 There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    2
    a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
    3
    a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
    4
    a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
    5
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    6
    a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
    7
    a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
    8
    a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.
    New International Version (NIV)

    Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
    All these references seem good prose to me. In fact I don´t remenber any especific example in English of bad prose, except the intentional case maybe of some uneducated Dickens' character which is trying to speak elaborately.
    However was ES is after it seems, is what was called experimental language in the 20C: Joyce, Virginia Woolf and Becket in England, Clarice Lispector and Guimarães Rosa in Brazil, the Alfred Döblin of Berlin Alexanderplatz in Germany and others.Those were authors that recreated the language, inventing words, changing, grammar, sintax and text structures in meaningful ways.
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 03-20-2017 at 08:58 AM.
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  10. #25
    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EmptySeraph View Post
    When using the term ''flowery language'', I'm thinking of a corolla, that is, of a structure that is delicate and esthetically pleasing, that is, above all, beautiful, so much so that its practical purpose becomes secondary, as it's supplied by its aspect, its carcase.
    To what "practical purpose" do you refer? The purpose of a work of literary art is (surely) to entertain, amuse and have an emotional impact on its readers. I'll grant that if a instruction manual, designed to help some aging, technologically illiterate person program his VCR, employed abstruse, overly complicated, or aesthetically oriented words, you might have a point. But I'll repeat my former point: style and content are insuperable in a work of art.

    If poetry is the essence of literary art, my point becomes clear. Here's Tennyson (whom I quoted earlier):

    Flower in the crannied wall,
    I pluck you out the crannies,
    I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
    Little flower – but ‘if’ I could understand
    What you are, root and all, and all in all,
    I should know what God and man is.
    I suppose one could say the "purpose" (or the "didactic purpose") of the poem is to argue" "If we understand a flower, we understand God and man.". But the poetic purpose is not served by this paraphrase. The narrator holds the flower in his hand and contemplates it. He is not a scientist, but a poetic philosopher, and the "root and all, and all in all" induces the reader to contemplate how understanding completely something small encompasses understanding something huge. Is "the root" God? Where does man fit in?

    Once again, the language is not an "ornament" to the simple meaning of the poem as expressed in the paraphrase. It is essential to the meaning of the poem.

    (Aside: since you mention Nabokov, I'll suggest that he used words carefully. "Comprise" means "include comprehensively". Personally, I dislike the construction "is comprised of", because it sounds silly, like "is included of". But, perhaps, that is a losing battle. However, Ulysses "includes" 30,000 unique words. It "comprises" both those words and many standard words like "yes" and "no".)

  11. #26
    Registered User Jackson Richardson's Avatar
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    There have been number of possible examples here of flowery language. It would help keep the discussion on track if EmptySeraph could tell us which ones are flowery in his/her opinion.
    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

  12. #27
    Registered User EmptySeraph's Avatar
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    When I thought of asking for authors that write ''flowery'' (I didn't even pay much attention to this adverb, it seemed appropriate to me, but then again, I'm not a good stylist), I meant to find out some writers that really took their time to put together the many complex surfaces and underneaths of a text, writers that didn't just write, but that rewrite, that have tens of versions of the same paragraph, that make use of an luxurious amount of words, that overwhelm the reader with their lexical density. Have a look at this excerpt from Ulysses, which makes my arms hair raise everytime I stumble upon it. It's in these moments that Joyce appears to me not as a mere writer, but as The Writer:

    “What in water did Bloom, waterlover, drawer of water, watercarrier, returning to the range, admire?

    Its universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level: its vastness in the ocean of Mercator's projection: its unplumbed profundity in the Sundam trench of the Pacific exceeding 8000 fathoms: the restlessness of its waves and surface particles visiting in turn all points of its seaboard: the independence of its units: the variability of states of sea: its hydrostatic quiescence in calm: its hydrokinetic turgidity in neap and spring tides: its subsidence after devastation: its sterility in the circumpolar icecaps, arctic and antarctic: its climatic and commercial significance: its preponderance of 3 to 1 over the dry land of the globe: its indisputable hegemony extending in square leagues over all the region below the subequatorial tropic of Capricorn: the multisecular stability of its primeval basin: its luteofulvous bed: its capacity to dissolve and hold in solution all soluble substances including millions of tons of the most precious metals: its slow erosions of peninsulas and islands, its persistent formation of homothetic islands, peninsulas and downwardtending promontories: its alluvial deposits: its weight and volume and density: its imperturbability in lagoons and highland tarns: its gradation of colours in the torrid and temperate and frigid zones: its vehicular ramifications in continental lakecontained streams and confluent oceanflowing rivers with their tributaries and transoceanic currents, gulfstream, north and south equatorial courses: its violence in seaquakes, waterspouts, Artesian wells, eruptions, torrents, eddies, freshets, spates, groundswells, watersheds, waterpartings, geysers, cataracts, whirlpools, maelstroms, inundations, deluges, cloudbursts: its vast circumterrestrial ahorizontal curve: its secrecy in springs and latent humidity, revealed by rhabdomantic or hygrometric instruments and exemplified by the well by the hole in the wall at Ashtown gate, saturation of air, distillation of dew: the simplicity of its composition, two constituent parts of hydrogen with one constituent part of oxygen: its healing virtues: its buoyancy in the waters of the Dead Sea: its persevering penetrativeness in runnels, gullies, inadequate dams, leaks on shipboard: its properties for cleansing, quenching thirst and fire, nourishing vegetation: its infallibility as paradigm and paragon: its metamorphoses as vapour, mist, cloud, rain, sleet, snow, hail: its strength in rigid hydrants: its variety of forms in loughs and bays and gulfs and bights and guts and lagoons and atolls and archipelagos and sounds and fjords and minches and tidal estuaries and arms of sea: its solidity in glaciers, icebergs, icefloes: its docility in working hydraulic millwheels, turbines, dynamos, electric power stations, bleachworks, tanneries, scutchmills: its utility in canals, rivers, if navigable, floating and graving docks: its potentiality derivable from harnessed tides or watercourses falling from level to level: its submarine fauna and flora (anacoustic, photophobe), numerically, if not literally, the inhabitants of the globe: its ubiquity as constituting 90 percent of the human body: the noxiousness of its effluvia in lacustrine marshes, pestilential fens, faded flowerwater, stagnant pools in the waning moon.”


    Or Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited:

    “Oxford, in those days, was still a city of aquatint. In her spacious and quiet streets men walked and spoke as they had done in Newman's day; her autumnal mists, her grey springtime, and the rare glory of her summer days - such as that day - when the chestnut was in flower and the bells rang out high and clear over her gables and cupolas, exhaled the soft airs of centuries of youth. It was this cloistral hush which gave our laughter its resonance, and carried it still, joyously, over the intervening clamour.”

    Or Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady:

    “She was a young person of many theories; her imagination was remarkably active. It had been her fortune to possess a finer mind than most of the persons among whom her lot was cast; to have a larger perception of surrounding facts, and to care for knowledge that was tinged with the unfamiliar...It may be affirmed without delay that She was probably very liable to the sin of self-esteem; she often surveyed with complacency the field of her own nature; she was in the habit of taking for granted, on scanty evidence, that she was right; impulsively, she often admired herself...Every now and then she found out she was wrong, and then she treated herself to a week of passionate humility. After this she held her head higher than ever again; for it was of no use, she had an unquenchable desire to think well of herself. She had a theory that it was only on this condition that life was worth living; that one should be one of the best, should be conscious of a fine organization, should move in the realm of light, of natural wisdom, of happy impulse, of inspiration gracefully chronic.”

    Or Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness:

    “Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off forever from everything you had known once -somewhere- far away in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one's past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.”

    Or Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway:

    “Beauty, the world seemed to say. And as if to prove it (scientifically) wherever he looked at the houses, at the railings, at the antelopes stretching over the palings, beauty sprang instantly. To watch a leaf quivering in the rush of air was an exquisite joy. Up in the sky swallows swooping, swerving, flinging themselves in and out, round and round, yet always with perfect control as if elastics held them; and the flies rising and falling; and the sun spotting now this leaf, now that, in mockery, dazzling it with soft gold in pure good temper; and now again some chime (it might be a motor horn) tinkling divinely on the grass stalks—all of this, calm and reasonable as it was, made out of ordinary things as it was, was the truth now; beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere.”

    Or Oscar Wilde's The Portrait of Dorian Gray:

    “Because to influence a person is to give him one's own soul. He does not think his natural thoughts, or burn with his natural passions. His virtues are not real to him. His sins, if there are such things as sins, are borrowed. He becomes an echo of someone else's music, an actor of a part that has not been written for him. The aim of life is self-development. To realize one's nature perfectly—that is what each of us is here for. People are afraid of themselves, nowadays. They have forgotten the highest of all duties, the duty that one owes to one's self. Of course they are charitable. They feed the hungry, and clothe the beggar. But their own souls starve, and are naked. Courage has gone out of our race. Perhaps we never really had it. The terror of society, which is the basis of morals, the terror of God, which is the secret of religion—these are the two things that govern us. And yet, I believe that if one man were to live out his life fully and completely, were to give form to every feeling, expression to every thought, reality to every dream—I believe that the world would gain such a fresh impulse of joy that we would forget all the maladies of medievalism, and return to the Hellenic ideal—to something finer, richer, than the Hellenic ideal, it may be. But the bravest man amongst us is afraid of himself. The mutilation of the savage has its tragic survival in the self-denial that mars our lives. We are punished for our refusals. Every impulse that we strive to strangle broods in the mind, and poisons us. The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret. The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful. It has been said that the great events of the world take place in the brain. It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.”


    Or Proust's Remembrance of Things Past (I very much like this Shakespearian title, even if it's not very accurate in translating the original from French):

    “Forgetting that beauty and happiness are only ever incarnated in an individual person, we replace them in our minds by a conventional pattern, a sort of average of all the different faces we have ever admired, all the different pleasures we have ever enjoyed, and thus carry about with us abstract images, which are lifeless and uninspiring because they lack the very quality that something new, something different from what is familiar, always possesses, and which is the quality inseparable from real beauty and happiness. So we make our pessimistic pronouncements on life, which we think are valid, in the belief that we have taken account of beauty and happiness, whereas we have actually omitted them from consideration, substituting for them synthetic compounds that contain nothing of them.”


    Or Nabokov's Lolita (this truly is one of the best pieces of writing I've ever read. It's like music!):

    Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth. Lo. Lee. Ta. She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock. She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita. Did she have a precursor? She did, indeed she did. In point of fact, there might have been no Lolita at all had I not loved, one summer, an initial girl-child. In a princedom by the sea. Oh when? About as many years before Lolita was born as my age was that summer. You can always count on a murderer for a fancy prose style. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, exhibit number one is what the seraphs, the misinformed, simple, noble-winged seraphs, envied. Look at this tangle of thorns.”

    Or De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium Eater:

    “The town of L— represented the earth, with its sorrows and its graves left behind, yet not out of sight, nor wholly forgotten. The ocean, in everlasting but gentle agitation, and brooded over by a dove-like calm, might not unfitly typify the mind and the mood which then swayed it. For it seemed to me as if then first I stood at a distance, and aloof from the uproar of life; as if the tumult, the fever, and the strife, were suspended; a respite granted from the secret burthens of the heart; a sabbath of repose; a resting from human labours. Here were the hopes which blossom in the paths of life, reconciled with the peace which is in the grave; motions of the intellect as unwearied as the heavens, yet for all anxieties a halcyon calm: a tranquility that seemed no product of inertia, but as if resulting from mighty and equal antagonisms; infinite activities, infinite repose.”


    Or Mellville's Moby Dick:

    “Consider the subtleness of the sea; how its most dreaded creatures glide under water, unapparent for the most part, and treacherously hidden beneath the loveliest tints of azure. Consider also the devilish brilliance and beauty of many of its most remorseless tribes, as the dainty embellished shape of many species of sharks. Consider, once more, the universal cannibalism of the sea; all whose creatures prey upon each other, carrying on eternal war since the world began.

    Consider all this; and then turn to the green, gentle, and most docile earth; consider them both, the sea and the land; and do you not find a strange analogy to something in yourself? For as this appalling ocean surrounds the verdant land, so in the soul of man there lies one insular Tahiti, full of peace and joy, but encompassed by all the horrors of the half-known life. God keep thee! Push not off from that isle, thou canst never return!”


    Or Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby:

    “If personality is an unbroken series of successful gestures, then there was something gorgeous about him, some heightened sensitivity to the promises of life, as if he were related to one of those intricate machines that register earthquakes ten thousand miles away. This responsiveness had nothing to do with that flabby impressionability which is dignified under the name of the "creative temperament"--it was an extraordinary gift for hope, a romantic readiness such as I have never found in any other person and which it is not likely I shall ever find again. No--Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men.”



    I'm looking for more of the same, not especially for the definition of an aesthetic theory, for arguments over what is or is not flowery, but rather for that very theory's, be it methodic or spontaneous, manifestation upon the words. Ornamental words, words that are like flowers, especially plucked to be beautiful when put in a vase. Words that are not absolutely necessary, but are included nonethelss for art's sake, for their intrinsic beauty, for those moments in which prose seems to be poetry.
    Last edited by EmptySeraph; Yesterday at 02:49 PM.

  13. #28
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    In short ES, you are looking for those great writers that "paint with words" (don´t remember who said that).
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

  14. #29
    Registered User EmptySeraph's Avatar
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    From what I've read, and also heard, Banville's lexicon is vast. Who are some other writers that use many a words in their compositions (except the ones mentioned above and the obvious examples like Milton or Shakespeare)? I'd rather he was a prose writer.
    Et ignotas animum dimittit in artes.

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    Ecurb Ecurb's Avatar
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    I like your selections, Empty, but not your theory, in which you seek, "Ornamental words, words that are like flowers, especially plucked to be beautiful when put in a vase. Words that are not absolutely necessary, but are included nonethelss for art's sake, for their intrinsic beauty, for those moments in which prose seems to be poetry."

    OK, I buy that some prose is more poetic than other prose -- but words are the essence of literary art, not its ornaments. The choice of words is essential to literary art. Arguing otherwise makes you sound like Robert Kincaid, the word-loving hero of "The Bridges of Madison County". Those unfortunate enough to have read this book will perhaps recall that Kincaid "liked words and images. 'Blue' was one of his favorite words.... He liked other words, such as 'distant', 'woodsmoke', 'highway', 'ancient', 'passage', 'voyageur' and 'India' for how they sounded, how they tasted, what they conjured up in his mind."

    Such is the literary taste of our photographic hero, whom we readers are supposed to admire for his literary sensitivity. "Voyageur"? Perhaps it leads our cowboy Francophile to "taste" French cooking?

    I'll grant that Joyce has better taste in words than Kincaid (would Kincaid ever admire the word 'urine' for how it sounds or tastes, however mellifluous?). Nonetheless, neither Kincaid nor Joyce can divorce the sound of the words from their meaning, and their "intrinsic beauty" is, I think, artificial, because language is artificial. Melodies have intrinsic beauty; words are freighted with conventional meaning.
    Last edited by Ecurb; Yesterday at 11:16 PM.

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