This is why I hated Victorian authors

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"Readers read most easily when you quickly get them to the subject of your main clause and then past that subject to its verb and object." Joseph Williams, page 97 of Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace


We all had to drag through the long winded but somehow great and timeless authors of England's Victorian Era. I still haven't figured out why 90 percent of what are deemed Victorian classics do to make them classics. It's probably because of their greatness in that time period which unfortunately does not transition too smoothly to the writing style of today. 

The Victorian authors had a tendency to be incredibly long winded and passive with their stories. A lot of what the most renowned Victorian novels talk about is circular conversation, meaningless and passive dialogue often with no end in sight. Today's readers will quickly be bored to sleep at such plain and actionless sentences. Williams points out that today's best writing needs to follow a much different path, smoothly transitioning from subject to verb to object and then repeating. 

In today's ADD infested world this kind of writing is crucial and I do try to keep it in mind as much as possible in all of my writing. As a reader I sympathize with Williams and would feel like I was doing a disservice if my own writing did not reflect those principals I value as a reader. Essentially, it's best to write how you read in order to best convey your points.

1 Comments

Tiffany Gilbert said:

Interesting...I just realized we never really talked about the style of particular eras' writing...just how they used writing as communication. Though that's not on the direct path of our class, it is interesting to compare/contrast Old English versus the online slang and everything inbetween.

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