Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The quintessential wink

Somehow over the course of the many years of reading and writing in which I have indulged I have come to develop (it is perhaps partly by blogging and writing e-mails?) an unusually baroque way with the sentence; I have sometimes been charged with speaking a curiously elaborate English (I speak more and more in sentences!), and I am greatly enjoying rereading The Golden Bowl for the class I'm currently teaching on style. I have never steeped myself so thoroughly in James as to claim him as an influence; but certainly I see in him some cast of thought that makes me feel I am among my kind...
It really came home to her friend on the spot that this free range of observation in her, picking out the frequent funny with extraordinary promptness, would verily henceforth make a different thing for him of such experiences, of the customary hunt for the possible prize, the inquisitive play of his accepted monomania; which different thing would probably be a lighter and perhaps thereby a somewhat more boisterously refreshing form of sport. (I.ii.6.181)

‘You’re strange, cara mia,’ he consentingly enough dropped; but, for whatever strangeness, he kept her, as they circulated, from being waylaid, even remarking to her afresh, as he had often done before, on the help rendered in such situations by the intrinsic oddity of the London ‘squash’, a thing of vague slow eddies, revolving as in fear of some menace of conversation suspended over it, the drop of which, with a consequent refreshing splash or spatter, yet never took place. (I.iii.1.209)
"A consequent refreshing splash or spatter"! "A somewhat more boisterously refreshing form of sport"!

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