Wednesday, April 22, 2015

many of the secrets of 'style' could ... be shown to be matters of tone

--- I.A. Richards, in Practical Criticism: A study of literary judgment (1930), p. 207, on Thomas Gray's "Elegy in a Country Churchyard"

Quote in context:

Gray, however, without overstressing any point, composes a long address, perfectly accommodating his familiar feelings towards the subject and his awareness of the inevitable triteness of the only possible reflections, to the discriminating attention of his audience. And this is the source of his triumph, which we may misunderstand if we treat it simply as a question of 'style'. Indeed, many of the secrets of 'style' could, I believe, be shown to be matters of tone, of the perfect recognition of the writer's relation to the reader in view of what is being said and their joint feelings about it.