Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/250

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THE QUESTION OF STYLE

nical difficulties of language managed with masterly skill in a different medium from our own. We may struggle for years to acquire facility in avoiding harsh combinations of final and initial letters, the exasperating recurrence of some cacophonous but necessary relative pronoun, the jerk and jolt of an awkward rhythm—and at the end of that time we shall not know as much of the philosophy of a fluent and melodious style as could have been learned by one quarter of the effort through examining what can be done in a naturally musical language like Greek; a language in which harsh final mutes have no existence and in which one difficulty of a good prose style was not that of interweaving poetic rhythms, but rather of avoiding them. And similarly we can learn to correct our own tendencies to carry certain principles of prose writing to excess by seeing these same principles carried to a reductio ad

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