Friday, January 31, 2014


Captain Boyd Alexander

[1]  There is only one rule for good prose, the rule which Newman and Huxley in their different ways enunciated and followed—to set down your exact, full and precise meaning so lucidly and simply that no man can mistake it . . . . I am ready to assert that almost the best prose has been written by men who are not professional men of letters, and who therefore escape the faded and weary mannerisms of the self-conscious litterateur.  As an example I would point to the prose of Cromwell, Abraham Lincoln, and of a dozen explorers like Captain Scott and Captain Boyd Alexander, and of soldiers . . . . like the Canadian general Arthur Currie.

John Buchan:  from Homilies and Recreations: The Judicial Temperament (1926)

General Arthur Currie

[2]  Prose is not to be read aloud but to oneself alone at night, and it is not quick as poetry but rather a gathering web of insinuations which go further than names however shared can ever go. Prose should be a long intimacy between strangers with no direct appeal to what both may have known. It should slowly appeal to feelings unexpressed, it should in the end draw tears out of the stone . .

Henry Green:  Pack My Bag (1940)

Thomas Huxley:  Sketch of then hypothetical five-toed Eohippus being ridden by "Eohomo"

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