Thursday, March 10, 2005

A Slice of Sertillanges

In need of some quick reading the other day, I picked up a book off a nearby shelf entitled "The Intellectual Life," by A.D. Sertillanges. Feeling the intrepid reader despite its formidable title (fools rush in . . . ), I opened it toward the back to a rather compelling discourse about the necessity of stopping one's research--the endless gathering of just one more piece of information-- in order to set to the task of writing and presenting one's thoughts to the public. Writing forces one to think precisely and take some risk in putting it before the minds of others, he says. (His words are eloquent--though mine are not--and he has much to say about style, in that section: Avoid artifice. Let words be tied to the writer's deeper intent.) Unfortunately, I don't have the book in front of me now, or else I would quote from it. If you find a copy, it might be worth a read . . .


Blogger palinurus said...

You know, I've been writing a piece on this very subject for the last decade. Just kidding.

I don't know about "artifice" (I'm not exactly sure what he means; if he means the intentional sophistry (as opposed to plain old simple sloppy logic) that is so prevalent, then I agree), but the point about tying words to a deeper intent is an excellent one; it is interesting to concentrate on that, both as a reader and as a writer.

3/11/2005 02:03:00 PM  

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