April 5, 2013

Elegance & Euphuism = E: Blogging from A to Z

Welcome to another day of the Blogging from A to Z challenge. 

An E literary device challenged me a bit. I didn't want to go with elegy, so I found a more interesting one. One that was a learning experience for me.

1: an elegant Elizabethan literary style marked by excessive use of balance, antithesis, and alliteration and by frequent use of similes drawn from mythology and nature
2: artificial elegance of language 

Named from Euphues (1579) the prose romance by John Lyly. According to Wikipedia: It (Euphues) consists of a preciously ornate and sophisticated style, employing in deliberate excess a wide range of literary devices such as antitheses, alliterations, repetitions and rhetorical questions. Classical learning and remote knowledge of all kinds are displayed.

"Is it not far better to abhor sins by the remembrance of others' faults, 
than by repentance of thine own follies?"

I can't say this strongly enough. This. Is. Not. My. Style. 

My book club read The Elegance of the Hedgehog this past year. Although an interesting read with an intriguing main character, at times the prose felt condescending. Translated from French,too often the author (or possibly, the translator) seemed to be poking fun at those who couldn't fully understand a heightened use of language.

I'm a grammar geek and word nerd, but that doesn't mean I want to read Shakespeare or a Shakespeare wanna-be. Tell me a good story with proper grammar and you will make me happy. Most readers are not impressed with "big words" but worse... you never want to leave a reader feeling lost or insulted.

To me, poetry is where the best of all language should reside. When you have so few words to convey meaning, use the ones that have the most impact. 

Are you impressed with elegance in literature? Or, what might be a better question, do you enjoy using your Kindle look-up-a-word feature? *smiles*

Please hop over and check out other Es here.


Dani said...

YES! I second this post! I hate when people se big words as well. I want a great story, not to feel like an idiot cause I need a dictionary to know what the heck I'm reading.
Dani @ Entertaining Interests

Kate said...

Ha ha! Yes, I do love my kindle dictionary!! I love when an author can sneak in a new word that I haven't heard before and make me want to learn to use it myself. But I agree that I don't like to be looked down upon.

Barbara White Daille said...

That was a learning experience for me this morning, too. Thanks.

I'm impressed with elegance in writing and like it best when used sparingly, sprinkled through to enhance flavor.

As I'm at the computer often, I'm addicted to online dictionaries!

E is for Evidence Found in A to Z
The Daille-y News

Jake and Terri said...

I like some elegance in the proper places. There are times it feels forced and doesn't work.

Good luck with blogging a to z!

Michelle Wallace said...

I'm familiar with Euphemism, but never heard of Euphuism?
Elegance is a word that reminds me of "another place... another time... another era..."
Just like the word chivalry.

bookworm said...

I have the Kindle app on my phone and found the word look up feature by accident. I was thrilled. I would have loved it when I was in grade school. I haven't used it yet but maybe it is because I tend to read YA literature.

Jo Michaels said...

I think big words have their place. But an overabundance of them leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth and feeling like I want to strangle the writer :) *innocent face* Great use of the letter E. WRITE ON!