[Ads-l] Quotes: Style is the stuff that you can=?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=99t_?=help doing. Style is the stuff you get wrong. Neil Gaiman? Jerry Garcia

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Dec 11 10:35:19 UTC 2019

The QI article now also includes the 1621 EEBO text of the remark from
Robert Burton that Ben mentioned:

[Begin excerpt]
It is most true, stylus virum arguit, our style bewrayes vs, and as
hunters find their game by the trace, so is a man descried by his
[End excerpt]


On Wed, Dec 11, 2019 at 3:54 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Great! Your comments are very helpful, Ben. I added to the QI article
> the remark from Elizabeth McCracken which I found on page xxviii of
> the introduction of your book.
> [Begin prelusion to McCracken's quotation]
> Circa 2001 English Professor Ben Yagoda was gathering material for his
> 2004 book “The Sound on the Page: Style and Voice in Writing”. Yagoda
> spoke to novelist Elizabeth McCracken who presented a viewpoint about
> style and voice that was thematically congruent with Gaiman’s:
> [End prelusion to McCracken's quotation]
> [Begin acknowledgement excerpt]
> Special thanks to Ben Yagoda who pointed to pertinent material in his
> book “The Sound on the Page: Style and Voice in Writing”.
> [End acknowledgement excerpt]
> Further feedback welcome,
> Garson
> On Tue, Dec 10, 2019 at 11:30 AM Ben Yagoda <byagoda at udel.edu> wrote:
> >
> > I find this interesting for many reasons. Number one, it’s a quote I wish I could have included among the many, many quotes on the subject in my book The Sound on the Page: Style and Voice in Writing. The book came out in 2004, but I was researching it in 2002, just as (Garson shows) Gaiman was first formulating it the quote. Nevertheless, it sounded so familiar that I paged through the book to see if it included an earlier reiteration of similar sentiments. Two came fairly close. One was from novelist Elizabeth McCracken, who said to me in an interview (in 2001!), “A writer’s voice lives in his or her bad habits. That’s the heart of voice. The trick is to make them charming bad habits. You have to leave some of them alone—basically, leave enough in so that, if you’re Grace Paley, readers know it’s Grace Paley.” The second is from Robert Burton, who wrote in The Anatomy of Melancholy (1628), "It is most true, stylus virum arguit, - our style betrays us.”
> >
> > I have a quite a few copies of the hardcover book on hand (I bought them on remainder), and would be glad to send a signed copy to anyone who mails me a postage-paid mailer, just in time for holiday giving! (The dimensions are 6”-9”-3/4”.) Email me at byagoda at udel.edu <mailto:byagoda at udel.edu> and I’ll send you my mailing address.
> >
> > Ben
> >

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