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

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CHAPTER 1: The Value of Style

‘IN THIS DAY’s silly Sunday Times,’ says Samuel Butler, [1 ] ‘there is an article on Mrs. Browning’s letters which begins with some remarks about style. “It is recorded,” says the writer, “of Plato, that in a rough draft of one of his Dialogues, found after his death, the first paragraph was written in seventy different forms. [2] Wordsworth spared no pains to sharpen and polish to the utmost the gifts with which nature had endowed him; and Cardinal Newman, one of the greatest masters of English style, has related in an amusing essay the pains he took to acquire his style.” [3]

‘I never knew a writer yet who took the smallest pains with his style and was at the same time readable. Plato’s having had seventy ...

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