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The writings of John Burroughs (v. 12)

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The writings of John Burroughs (v. 12)

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    Available in PDF Format | The writings of John Burroughs (v. 12).pdf | Unknown
    John Burroughs
Excerpt from book: m STYLE AND THE MAN THE difference between a precious stone and a common stone is not an essential difference — not a difference of substance, but of arrangement of the particles — the crystallization. In substance charcoal and the diamond are one, but in form and effect how widely they differ. The pearl contains nothing that is not found in the coarsest oyster shell. Two men have the same thoughts: they use about the same words in expressing them: yet with one the product is real literature, with the other it is a platitude. The difference is all in the presentation: a finer and rnoio compendious process has gone on in the one case than in the other. The elements are better fused and welded together: they are in some way heightened and intensified. Is not here a clue to what we mean by style ? Style transforms common -f- quartz into an Egyptian pebble. We are apt to think of style as something external, that can be put on, something in and of itself. But it is not: it is in the inmost texture of the substance. Choice words, faultless rhetoric, polished periods, are only the accidents of style. Indeed, perfect workmanship is one thing : style, as the great writers have it, is quite another. It may, and often does, go with faulty workmanship. It is the use of words in a fresh and vital way, so as to give us a vivid sense of a new spiritual force and personality. In the best work the style is found and hidden in the matter. If a writer does not bring a new thought, he must at least bring a new quality, — he must give a fresh, new flavor to the old thoughts. Style or quality will keep a man's work alive whose thought is essentially commonplace, as is the case with Addison: and Arnold justly observes of the poet Gray that his gift of style doubles his force and " ra...  
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Book details

  • PDF | 162 pages
  • John Burroughs
  • General Books LLC
  • Unknown
  • 5
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