Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Five definitions of style

(1.) The extra in the writing.

(2.) The record of an author’s decisions—what to include, what to leave out, when to occupy a seat, when to move on.

(3.) “The way words use the writer.” (J. V. Cunningham’s joking inversion of a student’s inanely obvious definition.)

(4.) If form is what remains the same when everything else has been changed (Cunningham) then style is everything that can be changed.

(5.) If form is what satisfies expectations raised in the reader (Kenneth Burke) then style is what raises expectations.