27 February 2011


Mechanics of influence are hard to trace. Writers tend to think that the way they write was influenced
by literature, and of course scholars make a living by following that same assumption.
But a writer’s ideal of a properly built sentence might just as well have been formed
when he was still in short pants and watched someone make an unusually neat sandcastle.
— Clive James
Perfectly (and simply) true. Might it upend an industry?


J.Z. Herrenberg said...

I like Clive James. But I don't agree. What connects syntax and sand castle is structure. That's all. There is an analogy. But to learn to write sentences, you'll have to read a lot and write even more.

Karl Henning said...

I don't dispute your point, but you seem to focus on the trees. (Or maybe I am somewhere so blurry that any focus at all is a disruption.)