Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for August 5th, 2012

The Encyclopedia Britannica on style

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To attain [style], however, the writer must be sincere, original and highly trained. He must be highly trained, because, without the exercise of clearness of knowledge, precise experience and the habit of expression, he will not be able to produce his soul in language. It will, at best, be perceived as through a glass, darkly. Nor can anyone who desires to write consistently and well, afford to neglect the laborious discipline which excellence entails. He must not be satisfied with his first sprightly periods; he must polish them, and then polish them again. He must never rest until he has attained a consummate adaptation of his language to his subject, of his words to his emotion. This is the most difficult aim which the writer can put before him, and it is a light that flits ever onward as he approaches. Perfection is impossible, and yet he must never desist from pursuing perfection.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Edition, “Style,” written by Edmund Gosse

Written by nevalalee

August 5, 2012 at 9:50 am

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