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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Monday, November 24, 2014

Laws of Composition

A chapter cannot have two disparate elements. It can have two sections, if the point is to compare the two things head to head or to a third thing, but it needs to have either one central focus, or at least three. You can have one-act plays, or three to five; or string quartets with any number of movements, but not two. A painting can have three panels or one, but two is more awkward. (There are exceptions. Don't be giving me 100 examples of musical pieces with two movements. I know they also exist but I feel they aren't as typical.)

The reason is that two elements seem to demand two separate chapters, one for each element. So I could have a chapter on Lope, Tirso, and Calderón, or a chapter on just Lope, but not one on Lope and Tirso.

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