Friday, October 2, 2009

On Figures

"On Figures Quintilian, though he may pay disproportionate attention to them, still is perfectly aware of the danger of the actually and constantly committed fault of separating off some quite ordinary fashion of speech, ticketing it with a long Greek name, and thenceforward regarding the ticket as something real, the attaching of which to similar phrases is an illuminative and profitable exercise of the critical faculty." (18)


"When a man writes even a good oration, much more than that far higher thing a good piece of prose (which may be an oration, if need serves, or anything else), he does not say to himself, 'Now I shall throw in some hyperbaton; now we will exhibit a little anadiplosis; this is the occasion, surely, for a passage of zeugma.' He writes as the spirit moves him, and as the way of art." (33-34)

— George Saintsbury, A History of English Criticism (1911)