Crises of the Sentence
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From the publisher
There are few forms in which so much authority has been invested with so little reflection as the sentence. Though a fundamental unit of discourse, it has rarely been an explicit object of inquiry, often taking a back seat to concepts such as the word, trope, line, or stanza. To understand what is at stake in thinking--or not thinking--about the sentence, Jan Mieszkowski looks at the difficulties confronting nineteenth- and twentieth-century authors when they tried to explain what a sentence is and what it can do. From Romantic debates about the power of the stand-alone sentence, to the realist obsession with precision and revision, to modernist experiments with ungovernable forms, Mieszkowski explores the hidden allegiances behind our ever-changing stylistic ideals. By showing how an investment in superior writing has always been an ethical and a political as well as an aesthetic commitment, Crises of the Sentence offers a new perspective on our love-hate relationship with this fundamental compositional category.