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I'm reading Virginia Woolf at present, and talk about "run-on sentences" ! What would she (or her editor(s) have done without the good old
semi-colon? Anyhow, her sentences sure change the way one reads a book by her. But they are different from those long sentences of some
19th century authors. George Eliot comes to mind, here. Woolf's sentences are reproductions of the way a character's mind jumps around
in a kind of "buckshot" fashion. It makes one think of "stream-of-consciousness" fiction.
By the middle of To The Lighthouse, though, I was reading the pages with fluidity.
Isn't it funny, though, how much variability there can be in writing styles? Think of those short, blunt blurts of Hemingway's, by way of contrast.
It seems to me that the length of the writer's sentences, plus his/her nice use of punctuation (which can aid the reader) determine the speed
at which one can read their works.
One more thing that occurs to me in thinking about 'silent' reading is the way that it differs from reading aloud. I remember those years when
I read aloud to my little ones. Some children's books were delightful to the ear, and it was because of the way the juvenile authors handled
the language. They used rhythm, repetition, alliteration, and 'choruses' (after each 'stanza'), etc.
Arabic may be the best language to curse in, Russian the best to lament in, and Italian to sing in, but, English is the most versatile language.
Last Edited on: 4/19/13 12:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 3