On some technical elements of style in literature -- The morality of the profession of letters -- Books which have influenced me -- A note on realism -- My first book: 'Treasure Island' -- The genesis of 'the master of Ballantrae' -- Preface to 'the master of Ballantrae'
m, with what passage it shall please you to select--the Seven Ages from the same play, or even such a stave of nobility as Othello's farewell to war; and still you will be able to perceive, if you have an ear for that class of music, a certain superior degree of organisation in the prose; a compacter fitting of the parts; a balance in the swing and the return as of a throbbing pendulum. We must not, in things temporal, take from those who have little, the little that they have; the merits of prose are inferior, but they are not the same; it is a little kingdom, but an independent.
3. Rhythm of the Phrase.--Some way back, I used a word which still awaits an application. Each phrase, I said, was to be comely; but what is a comely phrase? In all ideal and material points, literature, being a representative art, must look for analogies to painting and the like; but in what is technical and executive, being a temporal art, it must seek for them in music. Each phrase of each sentence, like an air or a recita
The first few chapters are fantastically verbose, and whilst they do contain some very wise words and insights on the art of writing, I think they rather help the reader to appreciate good writing in others, rather than improve their own. The chapter on how Treasure Island came to be written is a far more enjoyable and interesting read.