Tags

,


Paul Elmer More on Emerson:

Where [his essays] fail to reach the reader’s heart, it is not so much because they are fundamentally disjointed, as if made up of sentences jostled together like so many mutually repellent particles [he wrote from his journals]; as because from the manner of his composition Emerson often missed what is the essence of good rhetoric, that is to say the consciousness of his hearer’s mind as well as of his own.

We hear him as it were talking to himself, with no attempt to convince by argument or to enlighten by analysis. If our dormant intuition answers to his, we are profoundly kindled and confirmed; otherwise his sentences may rattle ineffectually about our ears. [Italics added]

Sorry about all those italics, but how wise More’s critique.  You either resonate with E. or you don’t.  His is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition, no offense intended, etc.

Yes, the writer for publication keeps his readers in mind.  They dictate style, argument, even content.  Whom he writes for is important.

Of course, Ezra Pound rejects this.  No writing on demand for him, and he largely got away with it.  But most of us can’t and don’t.

Advertisements