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The Art of the Sentence: Zora Neale Hurston

“Ah bet he’s wore out half a dozen Adam’s apples since Spunk’s been on the job with Lena.”

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The Art of the Sentence: William Faulkner

“Her eyes are like two candles when you watch them gutter down into the sockets of iron candle-sticks.”

– William Faulkner, “As I Lay Dying”

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The Art of the Sentence: Alice Munro

“At first Juliet did not understand what was meant.” — Alice Munro, “Soon“ This sentence is a daughter’s reaction to her mother’s greeting after a long separation. Juliet’s mother, Sara, has just said excitedly, “We’re long and short, but still we match.” Her first words. No hello, no hug. No there you are, I’ve missed […]

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The Art of the Sentence: Vladimir Nabokov

“I think that here lies the sense of literary creation: to portray ordinary objects as they will be reflected in the kindly mirrors of future times to find in the objects around us the fragrant tenderness that only posterity will discern and appreciate in the far-off times when every trifle of our plain everyday life […]

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The Art of the Sentence: Edward Lear

On Edward Lear

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The Art of the Sentence: Flannery O’Connor

On Flannery O’Connor

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The Art of the Sentence: D. H. Lawrence

This all seems like a load of hooey to Mr. Morel.

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The Art of the Sentence: John McPhee

A really long sentence in a paragraph of short-to-average-length sentences has an effect on the reader similar to that of a topspin lob in tennis: it changes the pace and adjusts the eye. Like a tennis player retreating to see if the lob will land inside the baseline, the reader waits with escalating anxiety for the sentence-ending period to arrive.

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The Art of the Sentence: Amy Hempell

“My throat closes every time I read this last line”

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The Art of the Sentence: Angela Carter

“He sees that she knows, and he is filled with despair, and to articulate the “stench” of his despair, Carter goes to these images. The first half of the sentence sets up what’s happening, and in the second half her wizardry occurs.”

Posted in Art of the Sentence, General

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The Art of the Sentence: Shirley Jackson

“No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.”

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The Art of the Sentence: Franz Kafka

” Most readers seem to expect fiction to have a single, stable truth. If it is a realist story, it must of course be “realistic” and have a certain objective truth. If it is a fantasy or science fiction story, readers expect a coherent world and consistent rules. Part of the genius of Kafka is his willingness to ignore those concerns. “

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The Art of the Sentence: Robert Walser

‘Of all the beautiful sentences out there, I choose Walser’s for one reason and one reason only: that glorious, oh so subversive adverb.”

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The Art of the Sentence: Virgina Woolf

“Mrs. Dalloway said she would buy the flowers herself…” —Virgina Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway It’s not much in terms of complication. It’s a simple voice; the prose is clean and orderly. But the richness of the novel is concealed in the sentence. Woolf will move fluidly through time, within time, around time — move between the […]

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The Art of the Sentence: William Butler Yeats

“Nearly one hundred years after it was written, it describes America’s current political climate.”

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The Art of the Sentence: Norman Douglas

“It’s 1921 (or thereabouts) and he’s in Rome again. There are no mosquitoes in his room, he tells us, and few flies, and no incident involving either insect follows. Why even speak of them? Well, because it’s Norman Douglas, that’s why.”

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The Art of the Sentence: Gerald Murnane

“Of course, for me, the real wonder of this sentence is that it attempts to describe how one represents being as the moment (if one reads record as photographs) when someone takes a picture of someone taking a picture — which as it happens, is a sentence I’ve never read.”

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The Art of the Sentence: Shunryu Suzuki

“It is the sentence that in a stroke convinces me that it inhabits an alternate, and beautiful, universe, and that our own world is nothing but a sustained fraud.”

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The Art of the Sentence: Gina Berriault

“This one bit of dialog has stayed with me since I first read the story in 1996….”

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The Art of the Sentence: Salman Rushdie

“It’s the most efficiently, the most brutally, that a character has ever been killed off.”

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The Art of the Sentence: James Salter

“Have ever shoes been more eloquent since Hemingway’s unworn baby pair?”

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The Art of the Sentence: William James

“There! that sentence is worthy of one of your novels at its best!”

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The Art of the Sentence: Mary Jo Bang

“It was, as Dickinson reminds us it should be, as if the top of my head had blown right off.”

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The Art of the Sentence: Vladimir Mayakovsky

“Not a fortress, but a forest”

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The Art of the Sentence: Virginia Woolf

“Putting words on the backs of rhythms.”

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