The History of the English Paragraph

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University of Chicago Press, 1894 - English language - 200 pages
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Page 148 - Of his sentences perhaps not more than nine-tenths stand straight on their legs ; the remainder are in quite angular attitudes...
Page 141 - ... fields — suddenly as from the chambers of the air opening in revelation — suddenly as from the ground yawning at her feet, leaped upon her, with the flashing of cataracts, Death the crowned phantom, with all the equipage of his terrors, and the tiger roar of his voice. The moments were numbered ; the strife was finished ; the vision was closed. In the twinkling of an eye, our flying horses had carried us to the termination of the umbrageous aisle ; at...
Page 138 - He is a kind of rhetorical Euclid. He makes such a flourish with his apparatus of axioms and definitions that you do not suspect any lurking fallacy. He is careful to show you the minutest details of his argumentative mechanism. Each step in the process is elaborately and separately set forth ; you are not assumed to know anything, or to be capable of supplying any links for yourself; it shall not even be taken for granted without due notice that things which are equal to a third thing are equal...
Page 31 - A paragraph whose unity can be demonstrated by summarizing its substance in a sentence whose subject shall be a summary of its opening sentence, and whose predicate shall be a summary of its closing sentence, is theoretically well massed. A matter so technical as this demands illustration. In my lectures at Harvard College I have found myself generally able to illustrate it by simply turning to whatever has happened to be the last number of
Page 76 - Acts iv. Who dried up the Red Sea? Who slew Goliath? Who did all those wonderful deeds which thou readest in the Bible? Who delivered the Israelites evermore from thraldom and bondage, as soon as they repented and turned to God? Faith verily ; and God's truth, and the trust in the promises which he had made. Read the eleventh to the Hebrews for thy consolation.
Page 134 - ... sometimes become half detached from the underlying thought, and an over-anxiety to avoid mere smartness which sometimes leads to real vagueness, he expects too much from his readers, or perhaps despises them too much. He will not condescend to explanation if you do not catch his drift at half a word. He is so desirous to round off his transitions gracefully, that he obliterates the necessary indications of the main divisions of the subject. When criticising Milton or Dante, he can hardly keep...
Page 29 - As in the sentence, so in the paragraph, a due proportion should obtain between principal and subordinate statements.
Page 132 - Johnson ; you cannot alter one conjunction without spoiling the sense. It is a linked strain throughout. In your modern books, for the most part, the sentences in a page have the same connection with each other that marbles have in a bag; they touch without adhering.
Page 132 - Rhythmus, or pomp of cadence, or sonorous ascent of clauses, in the structure of sentences, were effects of art as much thrown away upon him as the voice of the charmer upon the deaf adder. We ourselves, occupying the very station of polar opposition to that of Lamb, being as morbidly, perhaps, in the one excess as he in the other, naturally detected this omission in Lamb's nature at an early stage of our acquaintance.
Page 62 - ... decrease in predications and sentence lengths now shown? They seemed to indicate pretty clearly the trend of rhetorical progress in modern days. It is of the essence of the times to covet high culture, but not to exploit it. Men are becoming more and more specialistic, but less and less professional. Some of the most polished of present stylists studiously eschew seeming better than conversational writers. The style of the future is likely to be yet more informal and easy than the best examples...

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