Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/1084

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He will scatter chaff and refuse over the pure grain which the classic poet's genius had so completely fanned and freed. The employment of vague and loose terms where the original author has been eclectic, and of a flood of verbiage where he has been frugal, destroys all semblance of style, although the meaning may be correctly preserved.

The errors principally to be avoided in the cultivation of a pure style are confusion, obscurity, incorrectness and affectation. To take the earliest of these first, no fault is so likely to be made by an impetuous beginner as a mingling together of ideas, images, propositions which are not on the same plane or have no proper relation. This is that mass of "stunning sounds and voices all confused" which Milton deprecates. One of the first lessons to be learned in the art of good writing is to avoid perplexity and fatigue in the mind of the reader by retaining clearness and order in all the segments of a paragraph, as well as propriety of grammar and metaphor in every phrase. Those who have overcome this initial difficulty, and have learned to avoid a jumble of misrelated thoughts and sentences, may nevertheless sin by falling into obscurity, which, indeed, is sometimes a wilful error and arises from a desire to cover poverty of thought by a semblance of profundity. The meaning of "obscurity" is, of course, in the first instance "darkness," but in speaking of literature it is used of a darkness which arises from unintelligibility, not from depth of expression, but from cloudiness and fogginess of idea.

Of the errors of style which are the consequences of bad taste, it is difficult to speak except in an entirely empirical spirit, because of the absence of any absolute standard of beauty by which artistic products can be judged. That kind of writing which in its own age is extravagantly cultivated and admired may, in the next age, be as violently repudiated; this does not preclude the possibility of its recovering critical if not popular favour. Perhaps the most remarkable instance of this is the revolution made against the cold and stately Ciceronian prose of the middle of the 16th century by the so-called Euphuists. This occurred almost simultaneously in several nations, but has been traced to its sources in the Spanish of Guevara and in his English imitators, North and Pettie, whom Lyly in his turn followed with his celebrated Euphues. Along with these may not unfairly be mentioned Montaigne in France and Castiglione in Italy, for, although these men were not proficients in Guevara's artificial manner, his estilo alto, still, by their easiness and brightness, their use of vivid imagery and their graceful illumination, they marked the universal revulsion against the Ciceronian stiffness. Each of these new manners of writing fell almost immediately into desuetude, and the precise and classic mode of writing in another form came into vogue (Addison, Bossuet, Vico, Johnson). But what was best in the ornamental writers of the 16th century is now once more fully appreciated, if not indeed admired to excess. A facility in bringing up before the memory incessant analogous metaphors is the property, not merely of certain men, but of certain ages; it flourished in the age of Marino and is welcomed again in that of Meredith. A vivid, concrete style, full of colour and images, is not to be condemned because it is not an abstract style, scholastic and systematic. It is to be judged on its own merits and by its own laws. It may be good or bad; it is not bad merely because it is metaphorical and ornate. The amazing errors which lie strewn along the shore of criticism bear evidence to the lack of sympathy which has not perceived this axiom and has wrecked the credit of dogmatists. To De Quincey, a convinced Ciceronian, the style of Keats " belonged essentially to the vilest collections of waxwork filagree or gilt gingerbread "; but to read such a judgment is to encourage a question whether all discussion of style is not futile. Yet that particular species of affectation which encourages untruth, affectation, parade for the mere purpose of producing an effect, must be wrong, even though Cicero be guilty of it.

The use of the word " style," in the sense of the present remarks, is not entirely modern. For example, the early English critic Puttenham says that " style is a constant and continual phrase or tenour of speaking and writing " (1585). But it was in France and in the great age of Louis XIV. that the art of writing began to be carefully studied and ingeniously described. Mme de Sévigné, herself mistress of a manner exquisitely disposed to reflect her vivacious, tender and eloquent character, is particularly fond of using the word " style " in its modern sense, as the expression of a complete and rich personality. She says, in a phrase which might stand alone as a text on the subject, " Ne quittez jamais le naturel, votre tour s'y est formé, et cela compose un style parfait." Her contemporary, Boileau, contributed much to the study, and spoke with just pride of " mon style, ami de la lumière." The expression to form one's style, à se faire un style, appears, perhaps for the first time, in the works of the abbé d'Olivet (1682–1768), who was addicted to rhetorical speculation. Two great supporters of the pure art of writing, Swift and Voltaire, contributed much to the study of style in the 18th century. The former declared that " proper words in proper places make the true definition of a style "; the latter, more particularly, that " le style rend singulières les choses les plus communs, fortifie les plus faibles, donne de la grandeur aux plus simples." Voltaire speaks of " le mélange des styles " as a great fault of the age in which he lived; it has come to be looked upon as a principal merit of that in which we live.

The problem of how to obtain a style has frequently been treated in works of more or less ephemeral character. In France the treatises of M. Albalat have received a certain amount of official recognition, and may be mentioned here as containing a good deal cf sound advice mixed with much that is jejune and pedagogic. If M. Albalat distributes a poison, the antidote is supplied by the wit of M. Remy de Gourmont; the one should not be imbibed without the other.

See Walter Pater, An Essay on Style (London, 1889); Walter Raleigh, Style (London, 1897); Antoine Albalat, L'Art d'écrire enseigné en vingt leçons (Paris, 1898), and De la Formation du style par l'assimilation des auteurs (Paris, 1901); Remy de Goureront, Le Problème du style (Paris, 1902). Also Coyer-Linguet, Le Genie de la langue française (Paris, 1846), and " Loyson-Bridet " (i.e. Marcel Schwob), Moeurs des diurnales (Paris, 1902), a satire on the principal errors to which modern writers in all languages are liable.  (E. G.) 

STYLOBATE (Gr. στῦλος, a column, and βάσις, a base), the architectural term given to the upper step of the Greek temple on which the columns rest, and generally applied to the three steps.

STYRIA (German, Steiermark or Steyermark), a duchy and crownland of Austria, bounded E. by Hungary and Croatia, S. by Carniola, W. by Carinthia and Salzburg, and N. by Upper and Lower Austria. It has an area of 8670 sq. m. Almost all the district is mountainous, and is distinguished by the beauty of its scenery and by its mineral wealth. Geographically it is divided into northern or Upper Styria, and southern or Lower Styria, and is traversed by various ramifications of the eastern Alps. To the north of the Enns are ramifications of the Salzkammergut and Enns Alps, which include the Dachstein (19830 ft.), and the Grimming (7713 ft.), and the groups of the Todtes Gebirge (6890 ft.) and of the Pyrgas with the Grosser Pyrgas (7360 f t.) . The last two groups are separated by the Pyhrn Pass (3100 ft.), traversed by a road constructed in the Roman period. Then comes the Buchstein group with the Grosser Buchstein (7294 ft.). This group forms the northern flank of the celebrated Gesause, a defile 12 m. long, between Admont and Hieflau, through which the Enns forces its course, forming a series of rapids. The southern flank is formed by the massif of the Reichensteiner Gebirge, which culminates in the Hochthor (7780 ft.) and belongs to the north Styrian Alps, also called Eisenerzer Alps. This group extends east of the Enns, and contains the Erzberg (5000 ft.) celebrated for its iron ores. Other groups of the north Styrian Alps are the Kochschwab, with the highest peak the Hochschwab (7482 ft.) and the Hochveitsch with the Hohe Veitsch (6501 ft.). Then come the Lower Austrian Alps with the groups of the Voralpe (5800ft.), of the Schneealpe (6245 ft.), and the Raxalpe, with the Heukuppe (6950 ft.). AH