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

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CHAPTER 6: Good Humour and Gaiety

My great ambition is not to grow cross.

– Horace Walpole

Caressez longtemps votre phrase, elle finira par sourire. [163]

– Anatole France

NO MANUAL OF STYLE that I know has a word to say of good humour; and yet, for me, a lack of it can sometimes blemish all the literary beauties and blandishments ever taught.

Good humour is, indeed, a part of urbanity. (‘What!’ you groan. ‘Still more on that tedious topic?’) But though one cannot have urbanity without good humour, one may have good humour without the least urbanity. I would suggest that a style is usually much the better for both. Any week you may read reviews that were clearly written in a temper; any year you may watch literary controversialists growing ...

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