America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
On How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One, by Stanley Fish.
was right!Support The
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 ...
This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 29 June 2011, on page 4
Copyright © 2014 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.comhttp://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Heavy-sentences-7053
E-mail to friend
On the novelist's flaws, foibles & fallings-out.
by Hadley Arkes
Analyzing the views of the distinguished legal scholar Richard Epstein.
by Donald Kagan
A lecture delivered by Donald Kagan after he received the second Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society.
A new biography of James Madison hopes to change the way we remember America's fourth President.
The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
Jul 31, 2014 12:45 PM