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Style: The art of writing well by F. L. Lucas

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CHAPTER 5: Courtesy to Readers (3), Urbanity and Simplicity

URBANITY IS AN old-fashioned word; perhaps an old-fashioned thing. Some geniuses have been above it; many, not geniuses, have thought themselves above it; or have not thought about it at all. But, for the ordinary writer, it seems to me an important part of being civilized. After all, etymologically, urbanity and civilization are much the same – they cover those qualities that distinguish the better type of city-dweller from the boor. Urbanity is that form of true politeness which sets men at ease, as contrasted with the false kind that leaves its victims stiff, red, and bothered; and it is largely based on simple sympathy and unpretentiousness. I find it an embarrassing subject on ...

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