You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
May 16, 2005
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· For the Mind's Ear: On the Harmonies of Style ·
In "The Harmony of Prose" from his book Style, F. L. Lucas focuses on the topic. He denotes it, musically speaking, in heard stresses. As Lucas claims, "the sound and rhythm of English prose seem to me matters where both writers and readers should trust not so much to rules as to their ears." He cites even Flaubert to the effect that "a good style must meet the needs of the respiration."
In illustrating as much, Lucas focuses on word order, "which concerns both rhythm and clarity alike. . . . Just as the art of war largely consists of deploying the strongest forces at the most important points, so the art of writing depends a good deal on putting the strongest words in the most important places." As Lucas claims, they are often at the end. To illustrate, he cites a short passage from Alexander Bain, revising it for better, more pointed stress. His improvements are marked in this
Lucas's stresses give marked, italicized substance to Swift's famed dictum about "proper words in proper places," and with that in mind, consider an example I've just made, one adducing, on a separate page, the still subtler stresses of my own recent music teaching. Do enjoy.Permalink
Well said, well taught! Thanks for the lesson!
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