Geoffrey Nunberg (somewhere) makes the point that parentheses and quotations follow similar typographical, and, you could say syntactic rules: If you open a parentheses (with a lunula) you have to close it (with another, facing the opposite way). Likewise if you open a direct quotation (with raised...
Word! Or some speculations on entropy and stress
I began this as a reply to Timothy Morton's extremely helpful comment on entropy in letters and words (following Shannon, whom I've used elsewhere in discussing the editing of Shakespeare). In fact all the comments were wonderful, so let me say thanks. Thanks!
Meter in fleet cahoots with subject matter
Following up on my earlier post on Nantucket, as well as all the discussion here about Ngrams, I want to offer a few spontaneous speculations based on a new paper that's the talk of at least a couple of neighborhoods in the town.
There once was a man from Nantucket, or one relation between rhyming, joking, and narrating
There once was a man from NantucketWhose life was a sham. It was muck. ItWas froth of the seaWhere he'd tried to be free
How can you use the market place to predict future classics? How could you even bet on the literary future? EBay has found a way -- a really interesting one. The futures markets tell us that Darren Shan (author of the young adult series Cirque du Freak) is more than twice as valuable as of today than New Yorker darling David Mitchell. But Ken Follett is a cut above that.How do I know?
Sometimes you notice an aesthetic effect or technique and assume that there must be a name for it. But how can you look it up? Maybe you can just ask.
Narrators, Part 2 -- The Cess of Omniscience
At the end of a work of fiction, the ideal reader knows as much as the author. How could it be otherwise? There is nothing else to know.This means that the end of the work is the end of omniscience.
Reported speech in the heroic couplet
While Beckett once advised another writer to stop "blazing away at the microcosmic moon," it's sometimes an irresisitible temptation to try to "flush the coverts of the microglot," as J.L. Austin put it (in "A Plea for Excuses"). And why resist it?