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I am posting this as a benchmark, not because I think I'm playing very well yet.  The idea would be post a video every month for a ye...

Thursday, June 16, 2011


A paragraph needs a flowing rhythm. This means varying the length and structure of the sentences, but this cannot be done in a mechanical way, arbitrarily inserting a short sentence after every three long sentences, or following any other formula. In fact, each paragraph should have its own unique rhythm.

You can create a nice effect by giving a series of examples without using the exact same syntactical structure for each one. This is what I've tried to do here:
Lorca’s “Play and Theory of the Duende,” while a very well-known text, does not have a secure place in Spanish intellectual history. It is evidently not a part of the “jejune and uninfluential” canon of “Spanish theory.” Philip Silver does not consider Lorca’s duende in La casa de Anteo, a work devoted to the relation between Spanish poetics and the philosophical tradition arising out of German romanticism. Valente, likewise, fails to recognize Lorca as a thinker or a poet of “integration, fusion, union” in the lineage of Saint John of the Cross—even though Lorca was not an erudite “poet-professor” either. Although the duende lecture is densely allusive and metaphorical, critics have been quick to reduce it to a few key ideas rather than acknowledging its depth and complexity, and hence its privileged place among works dealing with “the inner nature and process of poetry itself.”


Vance Maverick said...

The point being, I think, that the true source of variety is not "length" per se, but syntactic patterns within each sentence. Nothing wrong with short sentences, of course; but they can feel arbitrary, pointlessly theatrical, when used as punctuation.

(Captcha: casmsus, a form of chiasmus.)

Anonymous said...

This is re content not style -- I reiterate that I am interested in what you have to say about that duende essay.

Jonathan said...

I could share it with you when I'm done with this chapter if I knew your identity. I feel somewhat hesitant about sharing complete chapters with colleagues unless I know who they are.