Welcome Prufrock Readers

Micah Mattix, author of the very, very useful daily survey of interesting writing, Prufrock (subscribe here), and generally interesting writer himself, mentioned this weblog in today’s mailing. This was unexpected but also encouraging.

Here’s Micah’s Prufrock weblog from the American conservative, which I commend. Here’s an item titled The Art of Writing Well, in which he explains and criticizes Remy de Gourmont’s thoughts on style. For example:

Throughout Problème, Gourmont refuses to distinguish between style and thought—one is the other. Again, there is something to this. Good writing, he states, is “irrefutable.” At the same time, “Nothing perishes more quickly than style unsupported by the solidity of vigorous thought.”

But, again, he goes too far when he writes that “style and thought are the same.” This wrongly elevates originality (which is almost always what Gourmont means by “style”) to a degree that in practice diminishes the importance of truth and emotion in a work of art. Gourmont could care less about truth. “Truth tyrannizes,” he writes, “doubt liberates.” But, contra Gourmont’s self-defeating praise of it, doubt has proven just as tyrannical in art and literature as any number of other false truths. Nothing, it sometimes seems, can be expressed today in certain circles with authentic feeling without the risk of being labeled simplistic or naïve.

And here is an item Micah wrote on my writing of the “While We’re At It” section of First Things, for which I’m grateful. You can find the ones I wrote here, or rather those I’ve managed to post.

The items in his weblog begin as messages sent to friends interested in writing. If you’d like to be added to the mailing list, write me at dmills / the at symbol / lapidarycraft.com.

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