English Prose: Its Elements, History, and Usage

LULU Press, 2015/06/26 - 547 ページ
Excerpt from English Prose: Its Elements, History, and Usage

English Prose is the greatest instrument of communication that is now in use among men upon the earth. On this ground alone if on no other it would seem to be worthy of that enquiry which is suggested by the natural curiosity for knowledge. Yet it is a thing to be noted, that whereas our Poetry has called forth a succession of critical literature from the times of Elizabeth until now, no like attention has been paid to English Prose.

The present work is quite new, not merely in details and in treatment, but in its very conception. All previous works upon English Prose, so far as I am acquainted with them, have busied themselves solely with the rhetorical graces of composition. I have therefore thought it the less necessary to expatiate much upon these, and I have tried rather to lay down the foundation and to exhibit the substantial fabric upon which the ornamental part may be displayed. For it is precisely in the figurative and ornamental part that method and doctrine can do least; what they can do best, is to provide the elementary framework for the reception and the setting of such ornaments of diction as flow from the wealth of the writer's own mind.

Mr. Herbert Spencer has observed that 'the maxims contained in works on composition and rhetoric, are presented in an unorganized form.' He has certainly made himself quite secure from any retort of this animadversion.

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