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Pickle Me This

May 22, 2011

A prose that is altogether alive

“But I do mean that most contemporary novels are not really “written”. They obtain what reality they have largely from an accurate rendering of the noises that human beings currently make in their daily simple needs of communication; and what part of a novel is not composed of these noises consists of prose which is no more alive than that of a competant newspaper writer or government official. A prose that is altogether alive demands something of the reader that the ordinary novel-reader is not prepared to give.” –T.S. Eliot, in an introduction to Djuna Barnes’ Nightwood, which I love for the honesty of a paragraph beginning, “When I first read the book I found the opening movement rather slow and dragging…”

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