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On How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One, by Stanley Fish.
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After thirty years of teaching a university course in something called advanced prose style, my accumulated wisdom on the subject, inspissated into a single thought, is that writing cannot be taught, though it can be learned—and that, friends, is the sound of one hand clapping. A. J. Liebling offers a complementary view, more concise and stripped of paradox, which runs: “The only way to write is well, and how you do it is your own damn business.”
Learning to write sound, interesting, sometimes elegant prose is the work of a lifetime. The only way I know to do it is to read a vast deal of the best writing available, prose and poetry, with keen attention, and find a way to make use of this reading in one’s own writing. The first step is to become a slow reader. No good writer is a fast reader, at least not of work with the standing of literature. Writers perforce read differently from everyone else. Most people ...
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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 June 2011, on page 4
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On the novelist's flaws, foibles & fallings-out.
A review of the new Harvard Art Museums, designed by Renzo Piano.
by Paul Dean
A review of A. David Moody's Ezra Pound: Poet. A Portrait of the Man and His Work, Volume II: The Epic Years, 1921–1939.
The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"