You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
February 19, 2005
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Roger Angell's New Yorker piece, Andy, on his stepfather E. B. White's prose, includes this sentence. I begin with his judgment for my students' sake, should they confuse ease of writing with ease of reading. It puts me in mind of Richard Sheridan's quip, "Easy writing makes vile hard reading," logically the regrettable obverse, and its all-too-frequent result.
Angell's own apt effort shines through in honor of White's limpid style, and his celebrated capacity for disciplined, pains-taking, ever-demanding work.
You can hear in these words — those of "adoption," as I'd call them — Angell's own acknowledgement of a quite natural identification with "more than ten million writers" like him, all of whom have profited from his stepfather's example.
Would that we all wrote so well, and worked so hard.Permalink
A small sidelight might also second a post I wrote just a year ago on Friedrich Nietzsche:
Swim, of course, at your own risk.
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