Friday, May 06, 2005

The Stylist

Gertrude Stein is often quoted for her witty, eccentric remarks. I especially like her observation about Oakland, California: "There is no there there." Is she right? I don't know -- I've never bothered to go looking for it.

About Ernest Hemmingway, she has been quoted making this devastatingly ironic remark: "He writes modern, but he smells medieval." The quote may be apocryphal, however, for I've not yet been able to find it confirmed anywhere.

Her most remarkable statement is one close to my heart: "I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences." Now, one might take this as pure irony, but I prefer to read it as Stein's ironic observation on her genuine enthusiasm for diagramming sentences -- an enthusiasm that I share.

I have a similar enthusiasm for reading manuals on style. Indeed, I might echo Stein and say: "I really do not know that anything has ever been more enthralling than reading Sheridan Baker's Practical Stylist."

3 Comments:

At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, I like diagramming sentences, too. Since you brought the topic up, why don't you diagram on your blog (as far as it is possible to "diagram" here), one sentence a week? I think that could be quite an amusing and interesting feature!

 
At 8:59 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I'm afraid that I lack the technical skills to diagram on my blog -- assuming that this is even possible.

Besides, I'd probably lose readers, and I don't think that I have many in the first place.

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, you could diagram on paper, and post a digital picture on your blog using Hello or some other picture-uploading feature. I don't think a "sentence of the week" would lose you any readers, but it is, of course, your blog (and a good one it is, too!).
;-)

 

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