RE: RARA-AVIS: "transparent" prose

From: Robison Michael R CNIN (
Date: 17 Jan 2002

>carrie says:
>I remember now that I had this thought about the "Harry Potter" books.
>Heard Harold Bloom on NPR waxing philosophical about how JK Rowling is a
>writer because she used the phrase "stretch your legs" too many times.

i think that in most cases prose should flow smoothly, with the occasional stop-and-look that you mentioned in an earlier post. and i guess i can see bloom's point, in that oft-repeated phrases and words can potentially interrupt the flow.

i remember coming to a screeching halt while reading wolfe's _look homeward angel_, so that i could go back over the page and count how many times he had used the word "gaunt" on it. repeated and reworded phrases were a part of gertrude stein's style ("a rose is a rose is a rose."), but near as i can tell, it wasn't a big success.

vocabulary can get in the way, too. i can't remember what it was, but i was reading something by norman mailer and all them big fancy words made me wonder if he wrote the piece for a doctoral thesis.


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