Saturday, February 28, 2015

Perspicuity

Joseph Epstein refers to a blog he often reads — one unfamiliar to me — and the first post I read includes this:
On this date, Feb. 28, in 1790, William Cowper writes to his cousin, John Johnson, an aspiring poet:
“Only remember, that in writing, perspicuity is always more than half the battle: the want of it is the ruin of more than half the poetry that is published. A meaning that does not stare you in the face is as bad as no meaning, because nobody will take the pains to poke for it.”
Except graduate students. Perspicuity is a fine word and a fine quality in writing. ....