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Adverbs Anyone?

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Adverbs Anyone?

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:38 am

Stephen King joins the anti-adverb crowd in today's DelanceyPlace sample:
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com ... bHFw%3D%3D

I'm not that avidly against them, but I am opposed to the use of any unnecessary words. And I still love Tom, I want to say Swiftly.
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby gailr » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:27 pm

Good link, Perry.

I read Look Homeward, Angel half my life ago and have yet to recover. There are no words to describe this book; Thomas Wolfe used them all up. The work remains important for his time, but would have benefited from a radical adjectectomy, followed by an adverbial purge.



I could be wrong. :wink:
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Mar 07, 2013 10:17 pm

I once made a halfhearted effort to read some Thomas Wolfe. How did he ever become famous? It seems he is definitely on the outs now. I read that he was writing a Bildungsroman in "Look Homeward Angel". The BS is really getting deep when you have to use a pseudo-intellectual German word like Bildungsroman to try to navigate your way out of the mess.
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby Slava » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:21 am

I'd like to see what one of them thar newfangled computer thingees could do with reading and analyzing the words and usage in Mr. King's writings. Any adverbs? :D
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby gailr » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:39 pm

I've tried to repress most of it *shudders* but here's sample:

...and how the year the war had ended, when he was still fifteen, he had walked along a street in Baltimore, and seen within a little shop smooth granite slabs of death, carved lambs and cherubim, and an angel poised upon cold phthisic feet, with a smile of soft stone idiocy--this is a longer tale. But I know that his cold and shallow eyes had darkened with the obscure and passionate hunger that had lived in a dead man's eyes, and that had led from Fenchurch Street past Philadelphia. As the boy looked at the big angel with the carved stipe of lilystalk, a cold and nameless excitement possessed him. ... He wanted to wreak something dark and unspeakable in him into cold stone. He wanted to carve an angel's head.

As the Ghost turned coolly back to finish his interrupted drink, he found himself face to face with the little dancing girl. Two smoking globes of brine welled from the pellucid depths of her pure eyes and fell with a hot splash on his bronzed hand.
...
Two dimples sentinelled a platoon of milk-white teeth.

He caught and fixed the instant. A telegraph messenger wheeled vigorously in from the avenue with pumping feet, curved widely into the alley at his right, jerking his wheel up sharply as he took the curb and coasted down to the delivery boy's entrance. And post o'er land and ocean without rest. Milton, thou shouldst be living at this hour.

Gasping a welcome, Mr. Avery bore down on him, with a violent shuffle of his feet and a palsied tattoo of his heavy stick which brought him over the intervening three yards in forty seconds.
...
"Poeta nascitur, non fit," said Mr. Avery, and went off into a silent wheeze of laughter which brought on a fit of coughing strangulation. His eyes bulged, his tender pink skin grew crimson, he roared his terror out in a phlegmy rattle, while his goose-white hand trembled frantically for his handkerchief. A crowd gathered. Eugene quickly drew a dirty handkerchief from the old man's pocket, and thrust it into his hands. He tore up from his convulsed organs a rotting mass, and panted rapidly for breath. The crowd dispersed somewhat dejectedly.


I had forgotten the inherent racism, sexism and morbidity of his time; I had to skim a long ways to find passages that would be "decent" for this forum.
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby Slava » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:03 pm

Pretty rough going there. And most of the adverbs used, especially in the last two bits, could have been left out completely or re-written and avoided.
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby Perry Lassiter » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:37 pm

Bigger problem than adverbs is the rare words that make me want to go to the dictionary. Phthsic? And others.
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby Slava » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:56 pm

Agreed, they were part of what made me think of turgid and torpid.
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby gailr » Sat Mar 09, 2013 11:19 pm

I also considered turgid for her, Slava, but the sense of elaborate outweighed gravitas to my mind. Torpid is quite good, though.

Turgid is a grand word for Thomas Wolfe's style, though. It certainly makes one appreciate Hemingway! :wink:
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Re: Adverbs Anyone?

Postby Philip Hudson » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:26 am

Hemingway, a tragic life but a great literary one. He is high on my list of 20th century writers. "The Old Man and the Sea" is a lesson in life. "For Whom the Bell Tolls",may be my favorite. What's not to like? A great novel titled from one of my favorite poets.
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