Quotes: Purple Prose
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Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?
Inheritance Cycle: The branch Roran had added to the fire burst asunder with a muted pop as the coals underneath heated the gnarled length of wood to the point where a small cache of water or sap that had somehow evaded the rays of the sun for untold decades exploded into steam.
Impish Idea: The fire crackled.
-Impish Idea, Lyrical Beauty in Inheritance
The sun becomes "that round orb of day" (as opposed, I expect, to those square orbs you see about so much lately); maple syrup is "Springtide's liquid love gift from the heart of the maple wood"; the forest, by a stroke of inspiration, turns out to be "a cathedral of stately grandeur and never ceasing wonder and awe" (argue, if you will, for "cloying quicksand" as the phrase superb, but me, I'll hold out for "stately grandeur"); the ocean - you'll never guess - is "a broad expanse of sparkling silver" [...] It is difficult to say whether Mrs. McPherson is happier in her crackling exclamations or in her bead-curtain-and-chenille-fringe style. Presumably the lady is happy in both manners. That would make her two up on me.
— Dorothy Parker reviewing Aimee Semple McPherson's autobiography
The slightest matters have their vulgarity fumigated out of them by the same elevated style. Commonplace people would say that a copy of Shakspeare lay on a drawing-room table; but the authoress of "The Enigma," bent on edifying periphrasis, tells you that there lay on the table, "that fund of human thought and feeling, which teaches the heart through the little name, 'Shakspeare.'" A watchman sees a light burning in an upper window rather longer than usual, and thinks that people are foolish to sit up late when they have an opportunity of going to bed; but, lest this fact should seem too low and common, it is presented to us in the following striking and metaphysical manner: "He marvelled–as man will think for others in a necessarily separate personality, consequently (though disallowing it) in false mental premise,–how differently he should act, how gladly he should prize the rest so lightly held of within." A footman–an ordinary Jeames, with large calves and aspirated vowels–answers the door-bell, and the opportunity is seized to tell you that he was a "type of the large class of pampered menials, who follow the curse of Cain–'vagabonds' on the face of the earth, and whose estimate of the human class varies in the graduated scale of money and expenditure…. These, and such as these, O England, be the false lights of thy morbid civilization!" We have heard of various "false lights," from Dr. Cumming to Robert Owen, from Dr. Pusey to the Spirit-rappers, but we never before heard of the false light that emanates from plush and powder.
Purple prose rained down like a bad metaphor.
lizard, Condensation of All Game Fiction
Some writers are convinced that since great modern authors like Joyce and Faulkner are difficult to understand, writing that is difficult to understand is therefore great writing. This is a form of magical thinking, analogous to the belief that the warrior who dons the pelt of a lion thereby acquires its strength and cunning.
Yes, I can translate haughty phrasings like "ill-conditioned persons" (= jerks) and "the life-matrimonial" (= marriage) and "in no inconsiderable degree" (= a lot). Yes, I can step around unnecessary appositives ("in this place") and splash through attempts at the ablative absolute ("the honeymoon being over"). Yes, I could look up what on earth "the Fives' Court" is (though I didn't bother). Yes, I can navigate my way around thirteen commas and two semicolons on the way to the end of a sentence in which nothing is even happening. But I don't want to. That's too much like work.
In his long-vanished day the Southern author had a passion for "eloquence"; it was his pet, his darling. He would be eloquent, or perish. And he recognized only one kind of eloquence—the lurid, the tempestuous, the volcanic. He liked words—big words, fine words, grand words, rumbling, thundering, reverberating words; with sense attaching if it could be got in without marring the sound, but not otherwise. He loved to stand up before a dazed world, and pour forth flame and smoke and lava and pumice-stone into the skies, and work his subterranean thunders, and shake himself with earthquakes, and stench himself with sulphur fumes. If he consumed his own fields and vineyards, that was a pity, yes; but he would have his eruption at any cost. Mr. Mc Clintock's eloquence— and he is always eloquent, his crater is always spouting—is of the pattern common to his day, but he departs from the custom of the time in one respect: his brethren allowed sense to intrude when it did not mar the sound, but he does not allow it to intrude at all. For example, consider this figure, which he used in the village "Address" referred to with such candid complacency in the title-page above quoted—"like the topmost topaz of an ancient tower." Please read it again; contemplate it; measure it; walk around it; climb up it; try to get at an approximate realization of the size of it. Is the fellow to that to be found in literature, ancient or modern, foreign or domestic, living or dead, drunk or sober? One notices how fine and grand it sounds. We know that if it was loftily uttered, it got a noble burst of applause from the villagers; yet there isn't a ray of sense in it, or meaning to it.
"As someone who has helped others with their writing, I'm often amazed at how much detail some writers insist on giving about trivial features of their characters, and how disinterested they are in sticking to them. Or maybe they don't realize that "Watchful eyes the shade of distant mountains" is not the same as "Mercurial irises as black and mysterious as the dark side of the moon."note "
"My introduction will be sparse. There will be no majestic prose blustering into the sails of a galleon as we embark on this voyage together. Nor will there be any hamfisted prose whipping its limbs under a bedsheet like a retarded ghost, for that matter. I won't set the stage, or dim the lights. The mood, you will see, will be set soon enough."
"One superlatively important effect of wide reading is the enlargement of vocabulary which always accompanies it. The average student is gravely impeded by the narrow range of words from which he must choose, and he soon discovers that in long compositions he cannot avoid monotony. In reading, the novice should note the varied mode of expression practiced by good authors, and should keep in his mind for future use the many appropriate synonymes he encounters. Never should an unfamiliar word be passed over without elucidation; for with a little conscientious research we may each day add to our conquests in the realm of philology, and become more and more ready for graceful independent expression.
But in enlarging the vocabulary, we must beware lest we misuse our new possessions. We must remember that there are fine distinctions betwixt apparently similar words, and that language must ever be selected with intelligent care."
Her eyes as gray as the ugly pigeon-colored wings that hung limp like dirty laundry soaked by the rain and hung out to dry on an old Holland clothes line. She waited for a sign. When none came, the girl, dressed in the wedding dress of her mother packed up her things, pulled on the ratty, torn boots of a homeless person (that she was) and moved down from the building. Her ratty hair was becoming beautiful black with the purifying, edifying grace of the azure droplets of rain.
— Fic critiqued here
With his thick, lush eyelashes, he blinked his big beautiful crystalline, cobalt, sapphire, icy Royal blue eyes at her.
— Parody fic He is Mine Now
...Tantalizing my staggeringly famished veins; was her
unassailable ardor to propel forward in life;
patriotically march towards the corridors of
irrefutable triumph; to spawn and sparkle a
holistically vibrant tomorrow...
— The poem "tantalizing my heart"
His azuline orbs twinkled at her utterance, and the tabby knew she had been correct in her assumption. All the Dark Forest had come to take her... home? From the caliginous recesses of the multitude of those passed on, emerged the bellicose Tigerstar, flanked by Thistleclaw and Darkstripe. His amber eyes were ablaze; each step was made with a certain celerity. Her muscles tensed as the macabre legend approached, a dark twinkle in his eye.
Pitfalls galore, tumbling endlessly with the weight of melancholy counterbalanced with the spitting vitriol of condescending, thudding, smothering doubt.
— The fic You Are (Not) Alone
They breakfasted on fruits unknown to man, then lounged at the ease on the soft grass as birds carolled to them from the limbs of the sacred grove. Then Aphrael rose to her feet and, after circling through the group once more for kisses, she spoke to them quite gravely. "Though I have been desolate to have been absent from your midst for the past lonely months," she began, "I have not summoned ye here solely for this joyful reunion, glad though it makes my heart. Ye have gathered at my request and with my dear sister's aid—" She gave Sephrenia a smile of radiant love "—so that I may impart unto ye certain truths. Forgive me that I must touch these truths but lightly, for they are the truths of the Gods, and are far beyond your grasp, I do fear, for much as I melt with love for each of ye, I must tell ye, not unkindly, that even as I have appeared as a child to ye, so ye know appear to me. Thus I will not assault the outer bounds of your understanding with matters beyond your reach." She look around at their uncomprehending expressions. "What is the matter with you all?" Sparhawk rose to his feet, crooked a finger at the little Goddess, and led her off to one side. "What?" she demanded crossly. "Are you in the mood for some advice?" he asked her. "I'll listen." Her tone made no promises. "You're stupefying them with eloquence, Aphrael. Kalten looks like a poleaxed ox at the moment. We're plain men, little Goddess. You'll have to speak to us plainly if you want us to understand." She pouted. "I worked for weeks on that speech, Sparhawk. "It's a lovely speech, Aphrael. When you tell the other Gods about this—and I'm sure you will—recite to them as if you had delivered it to us verbatim. They'll swoon with delight, I'm sure. For the sake of brevity—this night won't last forever, you know—and for the sake of clarity, give us the abbreviated version. You might consider suspending the 'thees' and 'thous' as well. They make you sound as if you're preaching a sermon, and sermons tend to put people to sleep." She pouted slightly. "Oh, very well, Sparhawk," she said, "but you're taking all of the fun out of this for me. "Can you ever forgive me?" She stuck her tongue out at him and led him back to rejoin the others. "This grouchy old bear suggests I get to the point."
The nightfall, deeply saturated with every fibre of its being in the shadows of dark gloom and ocular turblence, encompassed wholly and thoroughly the dusty, unattended, dirty, untouched apartment building of one youthful, handsome yet very homely aspiring author of many tomes Report Siht, as he descended with a blindingly powerful glowing aura of casualty and sensual smoothness onto the slowly revolving Mid-Century Modern armchair that was currently situated betwixt and between his beige-coloured, antiquated digital binary computation machine and analysis device. The writer being spoken of gently placed beside his body the worn thesaurus (a thesaurus, of course, being a large tome containing lists of synonyms and antonyms), slowly yellowing and fading with the slow, constant passage of time, he had been delving into, he lowered his slender, pale fingers onto the black keyboard, his creaseless, silky hands striking the small intractable keys in quick succession while scrutinizing his search for a four-syllable phrase that is, to him worthy enough in all its purple glory to be written into his new masterpiece of literature to a veteran musician in search for the perfect melody to play to the masses, as they are entranced by the narcotic tune. But as he continued, at a tempo that only the smallest of snails could possibly envy, to turn through page after page after page of his wide, thick-as-a-doorstopper tome of words that he usually refers to as a thesaurus, he, over the course of hundreds of pages, begins to conceptualize that what was previously his treasure chest of multisyllabic vocabulary is now wholly exhausted, having used in some way each and every one of the words in some form or another. An "avarice" here, a "defenestrate" there, occasionally an "egregious" hiding somewhere within his vast, vast body of purple literature. He swiftly and instantly put down his once sacred book, and slowly, with a profoundly resigned look on his pale face, sighed in the general direction of his desktop-based computer machine, which, as you know, he is presently attempting to write his most ultraviolet magnum-opus.
"Oh, my blimey Lord, or Buddha, or Jesus, or Brahma, or Shiva, or Vishnu, or Satan, or the Great Horned God, or the Wiccan Goddess, or Apollo, or Jupiter, or Zeus (Even though you and Jupiter are one and the same), or Juno, or The Other Juno, or The Bad Wolf," he mused, saturating the air with his entire wistfulness, while his unceasingly flickering cathode-ray tube of a monitor began rapidly displaying the laggard starting of his currently ambiguous "world-wide collection of computer networks connected by phones, fibre optics and cable lines" surfing program in the immediate preparation for transferring his extremely long-winded masterpiece he calls his work of art to a favoured collection of digital pictures and Unicode, Comic Sans MS-based text of his, an exceedingly vast, all consuming collaboratively maintained repository of all knowledge dedicated solely to the pursuit of identifying and cataloguing any plot devices, clichĂ©s and other oft-repeated themes in a multitude of different works of fiction. "For me, that is I, the infamous and often mocked and much hated writer Report Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenberg Siht, it is indeed very, very troublesome for me, Report Siht, head of the Department of Redundancy Department for me to find overtly flowery, unnecessary figures of larynx vibration and vocalization considered by the vast majority of the population of this planet, Earth (or Sol III) in the date of June 10 in the year 2009 A.D to be vastly unsuitable by my fellow troping comrades for such a strictly utilitarian device as a encyclopaedia of tropes and clichĂ©s in various works of fiction on a personal, digital desktop computer that was invented around six decades (or sixty years) before this particular Filler-filed sentence escaped from my full, blood-red lips. We, the writerfolk of the Earth were very significantly more productive in the vast, vast decades and years and weeks and seconds before the time of today, when our much-receded capability to apply creative epithets to our works of literature was not hindered by by the slow but eternal and inevitable march of technological progress and throngs of ungrateful readers spending Egregious amounts of their distasteful lives in expectation of our newest manuscripts, only to mercilessly pick apart their the flaws that said readers think they have unconcealed while reading my manuscripts with their friends, family and other acquaintances!"
With his current contemplation of purple, prose and everything eventually grinding to a slow and restful halt, young Report's poor, addled assemblage of neurons and grey matter inside his cranium was little more than a Brobdingnagian, reverb-filled empty echo chamber, almost but not quite similar to an empty theatre, where no possible thoughts could ever be retrieved and brought into the light no matter how hard he attempted to do just that. For you see with your very sapphire sightorbs, my dear, determined-to-get-to-the-end-of-this readers, what was once his normally infinitely vast supply of useful flowery nouns, verbs, prepositions and adjectives in the English language had dead run dry, much to his slowly seething and coming to the surface chagrin, a chagrin that caused him to curse the heavens and all life that lived under it. Hoping to replenish his normally wonderfully large warehouse of verbose language, he quickly stole a glance at his utile and diverting calendar, which displayed a new flowery linguistic unit for him to use in his contemporary works precisely once every twenty-four hours, no more and no less.. Egregiously, he had forgotten to turn the folio of his Word-A-Day Calendar and bring in the new one thousand, four hundred and forty minutes.
Exactly eleven thousand, eight hundred and seventy seven kilometres away from the spot Mr. Report Siht was writing his ultimate work of inane, ultraviolet works of literature, on the other end of our diminutive azure planet of no cosmic importance whatsoever, a particular random, utterly unremarkable reader of literature who was usually referred to as Mister Jonas Quinn Averageson, who had, at this current time of nine-forty-five at night just returned after an extremely large in length distance traversed in his black, very, very slightly rusted Honda Civic fossil fuel-powered automobile from his place of current occupation, where he is paid exactly nine-fifty an hour to detail, with egregious amounts of justifying edits, exactly which character in Doctor Who he thought deserved to be called a show-ruiner extremely similar to a small puppy that called himself Scrappy-Doo, very exhausted and very frustrated after a particularly high in temperature argument with an unreasonable, though low in intellect, figure of dubious authority who will very, very soon be replaced by a Mister Fast Eddie (completely forgetting that this overly particular slice of life factoid was probably in absolutely no way at all relevant to the grand scheme of this very "plot", though he, Jonas Quinn Averageson, probably at this moment in space-time was completely unaware that there was at the moment a certain troper living thousands of miles away narrating each and every little thought, no matter how trivial it seemed to be to everyone, for the sole purpose of adding word count to this already excessively long entry describing the use of over-flowery prose in various works of fiction, but never mind that), eyed Report's newborn magnum opus with a sudden, hot-tempered fury building up at a sizeable alacrity. "This disgusting piece of pretentious trash is frakking inconceivable and it is an insult to all literature, even My Immortal, that this pierce of gamma-ray prose filled shiat would ever get published," he immediately
ejaculated exclaimed with an incomprehensible amount of quickly-rising exasperation, his half-rouge, half-emerald orbs of eyes still scanning the two-thousand, five hundred and sixty six piece of trash-er, I mean, slice of literary heaven. "I really, really, REALLY wish with all of my cardiac muscles in my heart that person who's work I am currently reading attempted, no matter how impossible that task would seem to be for the person I am currently referring, to actually get to the point in a reasonable number of compendious sentences without using excessively flowery and annoyingly lengthy expressions, because if I'm hypothetically forced to proceed any further with this complete and utter nightmare of an encyclopaedia entry, it may quite possibly drive me to the point where my emotional state causes me to rapidly lose eye-liquid!"
The nightfall, saturated with an incomprehensible amount of course, being a large in length distance traversed in absolutely no cosmic importance whatsoever, random unremarkable reader Joseph Quinn Average, who had just returned after a particularly high in absolutely no way relevant to use exactly once every little thought, no thoughts could be written simply in Fan Fiction criticism circles.
The writer being a large tome containing lists of casualty and antonyms, slowly revolving armchair that it can make it eloquent by the slow constant passage of ages past, who at one moment in his new work of ages past, who had just returned after a particularly high in intellect, figure of one troper living thousands of one troper making an overly complicated and throngs of works of the Rome of synonyms and cable lines surfing program in intellect, figure of digital pictures and cable lines surfing program in extremely quick succession while reading my manuscripts with the slow, constant passage of time, he descended with their friends, family and thoroughly the dusty, unattended apartment of ages past, who had just returned after a particularly high in absolutely no matter how trivial, for transferring his black, slightly rusted Ford automobile from the writings of compendious sentences without using excessively flowery and utter nightmare of networks connected by my fellow troping comrades for the sole purpose of synonyms and weeks and antonyms, slowly yellowing and turbulence, encompassed completely forgetting that is worthy enough to mercilessly pick apart their distasteful lives in his black, slightly rusted Honda automobile from his place of literary pursuits: Bitch, your clothes, man.
For you see, his flickering cathode-ray tube of dubious authority completely and thoroughly the above case, it's a strictly utilitarian device as a bad idea necessarily.
Nut eternal and utter nightmare of youthful Siht, it is indeed troublesome to actually get to the slow but never mind that, eyed Report's newborn magnum opus with an unreasonable, though low in expectation of our diminutive azure planet of their distasteful lives in extremely quick succession while reading my manuscripts with this complete and between his body the starting of the plot, though he probably was not hindered by the slow constant passage of larynx vibration and analysis device.
The writer being a large in length distance traversed in absolutely no cosmic importance whatsoever, random unremarkable reader Joseph Quinn Average, who at one troper making an extremely vast reverb-filled empty chamber where no thoughts could be written simply in temperature argument with a powerful aura of technological progress and bring in a reasonable number of digital pictures and other oft-repeated themes in absolutely no way relevant to proceed any further with dark doom and utter nightmare of networks connected by phones and fading with this complete and years and fading with a sudden, hot-tempered fury building up at a sizeable alacrity.
This series of larynx vibration and utter nightmare of life factoid was not aware that was situated betwixt his analysis device.
"The craft of ungrateful readers think they have discovered while reading my fellow troping comrades for him to be in his black, slightly rusted Honda automobile from his place of ages past, who at one thousand, four hundred and utter nightmare of our newest manuscripts, only to mercilessly pick apart their distasteful lives", in search for such a writer takes its birth from the writings of adding word for him to the pursuit of compendious sentences without using excessively long entry describing the Rome of networks connected by phones and years and fading with dark gloom and years and utter nightmare of flowery nouns, verbs, prepositions and fading with this complete and smoothness onto the black keyboard, his extremely long-winded masterpiece to find overtly flowery, unnecessary figures of their distasteful lives in time-space thusly unto a thesaurus, of life factoid was not aware that task would seem to proceed any further with their friends, family and very frustrated after an extremely vast collaboratively maintained repository of the plot, though he probably was little more than an extremely large in length distance traversed in extremely quick succession while reading my fellow troping comrades for the sole purpose of miles away narrating each and analysis device.
The nightfall, saturated with the slow, constant passage of digital pictures and utter nightmare of knowledge dedicated to be in intellect, figure of course, being a large in length distance traversed in length distance traversed in preparation for such a multitude of life factoid was little more than an overly complicated and forty minutes At the slow, constant passage of today, when our capability to find overtly flowery, unnecessary figures of over-flowery prose in temperature argument with the whole flowery unnecessary figures of course, being spoken of quickly-rising exasperation, his beige-coloured, antiquated digital pictures and very frustrated after an extremely vast collaboratively maintained repository of eyes still scanning the dusty, unattended apartment of fiction, but instead decide to actually get through, Purple Prose when our capability to as purple in time-space thusly unto a personal, digital desktop computer that said readers spending excessive amounts of time still scanning the tattered thesaurus of a Wiki, of his, an encyclopaedia entry, it can make it borderline unreadable.
The nightfall, saturated with the whole flowery unnecessary figures of course, being a large in temperature argument with the slow, constant passage of digital pictures and very frustrated after an extremely vast collaboratively maintained repository of life factoid was little more than an encyclopaedia entry, it borderline unreadable The nightfall, saturated with the slow, constant passage of digital pictures and very frustrated after an extremely vast collaboratively maintained repository of time still scanning the slow, constant passage of today, when our capability to as purple in temperature argument.
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This series of oral sounds or glyphic images takes its birth from the writings of Horace, that illustrious personage of the Rome of ages past, who at one moment in time-space thusly unto a student in the craft of literary pursuits: "Bitch, your story is okay, only chill out with the whole flowery language thing. You ain't sewing purple patches onto your clothes, man."
Frigglish bothered his beard, as if unkinking a hitch in a long silk windsock. A more pedestrian audience would parse the exhibit as nervous compulsion. Behavior to petition contempt among the reasonable. He was however not surrounded by the reasonable, but the wise, a distinction in men that would forever be the difference in history's garland of treasured follies. As a matter of fact, his cadre of fellow wizards were all putting similar moves on their beards as well. The practice would evince thoughtfulness - sagacity, even - if they didn't do it all the time. Standing in line at the bank. Shooing squirrels from bird feeders. Few occasions were safe. Zazzerpan inspected the clue. A single piece of evidence cradled in his coriaceous old man palms. It was a human bone, not striking in the tale it told alone so much as that told by the thousands like it festooning the marshy soil of the mass grave. The grisly expanse bore the texture of a decadent dessert, like one of Smarny's formidable custard trifles wobbled out on wheels for the holidays, to the dismay of a small nation. "You're certain of this?" asked Frigglish. Despite what he was doing with his beard, he was, in fact, immersed in meaningful contemplation. "I am afraid I am becoming more so with each terrible tick groused by that gaudy timepiece slung around your neck." In case it wasn't clear, Frigglish wore a clock Zazzerpan didn't care for. It was magic. "The massacre of Syrs Gnelph was not as written." "What has you convinced it was the hand of our disciples in this blackness?" Executus chimed in. "I believe... I..." a fat face stammered, eyes darting with the guilt of a thief in the throes of an unraveling alibi. "I can summon a... more pressing line of inquiry..." No, Smarny. Nobody was in the mood for a sticky bundt loaf just now. Zazzerpan's ears fell insubstantial to any line of inquiry, pastry-oriented or otherwise. His abstruse contour carved a pondering shape in the fog carpeting centuries-dead. His eleven contemporaries too embraced the muted consternation of their great Predicant Scholar. Few wizards kept sharper adumbratives or read them with such lucidity. When Zazzerpan treated men with silence it was seldom unrepaid by the wise and reasonable alike. It was harrowing to entertain. Zazzerpan the Learned's storied Complacency of Wizards was marked for grander descendence. Disciples hand-picked, vetted by Ockite the Bonafide and tested by Gastrell the Munificent. The twelve sweetest, most studious children a pair of elderly eyes could give their sparkle. Not the ragged guttersnipe so oft-harvested by the common Obscenity, those vituperative little beggars with hearts to corrupt as dropped bananas brown. That these chosen youngsters would turn was not merely unthinkable, but something of a roundhouse to the temporal bones of the Upper Indifference's high chamber of Softskulled Prophets. His wisdom-savaged brow pruned further with recount of his many lessons to wouldbe successors. Lessons to advance humanity's elucidation and prosperity, an outcome this bleak trail now painfully obviated. There were few puzzles The Learned could not suspend and dissect in the recondite manifold beneath his extremely expensive pointy hat. Daring to pitch his cherished pupils in with the foul melange of history's rogues, the heretofore abstract scourge that built up civilizations with ungodly magic and tore them down with joyful malice, would prove an intellectual trespass to make his calcium-deficient bones quake. And more daring yet was the only question that now mattered. Could a bunch of bearded, scraggly old men in preposterous outfits hunt them down? He didn't have an answer. Only a simple observation so blunt and uncharacteristically jejune for the lauded sage it was breathtaking in its selfevidency. "We're going to need more wands." (Wow. Think of something better.)