Having a few minutes to spare i idly clicked on a few links and ended up reading a few hundred words by someone i don’t like, partly out of malevolent curiosity; a curiosity sated – her prose reads like my third-hand Ford Escort used to drive, that is, with some difficulty.

Her thoughts were not themselves difficult, not demanding – but it was hard to develop the thoughts from the prose. i’m not sure why; her prose is clunky, without grace or muscle, but it’s not actually bad. Why should pleasant, musical prose be a better vehicle for thought than this charmless, leaden stodge? Why should it be hard to develop thought – even simple thought – from ugly prose: as long as it isn’t actually bad, it shouldn’t make any difference.

i think this is the flipside to an earlier puzzle – why certain passages of James Thomson’s ‘Winter’ evoke a physical reality as if some part of me is there, in Thomson’s fictive winter. That which is described – whether thought or physical reality – is inseparable from the description, that is, from the words. Or rather – we do not encounter the thought or the winter, not nakedly – we can only ever encounter a description. And the music of the words is not an unnecessary flourish, like go-faster stripes – it is inseparably part of the description; that is, of perception and cognition.

Well, so much for that. This dog’s running out of time and money, so adios till tomorrow.

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