The Deipnosophist: Pause celebre

This was originally published a few months ago in the Financial Times, who in their unsurprisingly miserly way have now made it inaccessible without a credit card. Thank goodness, then, for the blogosphere, where you can find it reprinted in its entirety for free. I love that a semicolon can inspire such tides of emotion in writers, who (as is their wont) are apt to express these feelings in wondrously witty and/or evocative ways. For instance; being a history student, I’m familiar with the idea of writerly bias, but it never occurred to me that this applies in other, seemingly straightforward realms, such as English grammar. *waves fan in front of shocked, overexcited face*

And the thing is, millions of Americans do subscribe to linguistic transparency having studied The Elements of Style, by William Strunk, a professor of English at Cornell, and The New Yorker writer E.B. White. As Yagoda notes in The Sound on the Page, Strunk and White’s “implicit and sometimes explicit goal is a transparent prose, where the writing exists solely to serve the meaning, and no trace of the author – no mannerisms, no voice, no individual style – should remain.

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