Friday, November 16, 2007

Quotes: Stupidity. Style.

Stupidity is believing what is palpably not true.
Stupidity 183 …no spirit can ever overcome the handicap of stupidity…the person who believes what is palpably not true…. Mencken, Minority Report.

The level of his stupidity is beyond nature.
Stupidity 280 Johnson: “Such an excess of stupidity, Sir, is not in nature….” Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

The proofs of stupidity are obstinacy and heat of opinion.
Stupidity 432 Obstinacy and heat of opinion are the surest proofs of stupidity. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

The wrong word ruins a beautiful thought.
Style 260 Voltaire: One word in the wrong place will ruin the most beautiful thought. Clark, Civilization.

Style is a part of content, not an entity in itself.
Style 116 Richard Summers: Of course style is an integral part of subject matter, not an entity in itself. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

Today’s style: short sentences, simple words, and avoiding what one thinks and feels; journalistic.
Style 319 Rudolf Flesch: …characteristics of what I called today’s “anonymous” style: …fourteen-word sentences are about one-third shorter than Dickens’; …uses no complex words where simple words will do; and he strictly avoids expression of his own thoughts and sentiments…admittedly journalistic writing—factual, simple, and idiomatic. Hull, ed. The Writer’s Book.

Dr. Johnson dictates to his readers.
Style 133 Boswell: Johnson writes like a teacher…dictates to his readers as if from an academical chair…his precepts are impressed upon them [his readers] by his commanding eloquence. Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

To learn style, study Addison.
Style 133 Johnson: Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar, but not coarse and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.
Boswell, Life of Johnson, Vol. 1.

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