Excerpt from the classic article, “In Defense Of Purple Prose.”

Yep, Hemmingway can go fuck himself.  Same with all the other proponents of “Literary Fiction.”  I’m quite proud to write “Low-Brow Escapist Fiction.”  ‘Cause, ya know… people sometimes actually wanna read stuff that’s fun and interesting.

Please see the full article here… http://www.nytimes.com/1985/12/15/books/in-defense-of-purple-prose.html?pagewanted=all

Excerpts from “In Defense Of Purple Prose,” by Paul West

“Certain producers of plain prose have conned the reading public into believing that only in prose plain, humdrum or flat can you articulate the mind of inarticulate ordinary Joe. Even to begin to do that you need to be more articulate than Joe, or you might as well tape-record him and leave it at that. This minimalist vogue depends on the premise that only an almost invisible style can be sincere, honest, moving, sensitive and so forth, whereas prose that draws attention to itself by being revved up, ample, intense, incandescent or flamboyant turns its back on something almost holy – the human bond with ordinariness. I doubt if much unmitigated ordinariness can exist.”

“So long as originality and lexical precision prevail, the sentient writer has a right to immerse himself or herself in phenomena and come up with as personal a version as can be. A writer who can’t do purple is missing a trick. A writer who does purple all the time ought to have more tricks.”

“There is language that plunges in, not too proud to steal a noise from Mother Nature, and there is language that prides itself on the distance it keeps from nature. Then there is purple, which, from quite a distance, plunges back into phenomena all over again, only to emerge with a bigger verbal ostentation.”

“And it is not a matter of inventing something out of nothing, for that cannot be done; everything is derivative, so there is no getting away from what might be thought the bases of life, of art. The farfetched always takes you home again, never mind how strained its combinations, how almost unthinkable its novelties. The color we have never seen, the smell we have never smelled, the mind we have never known, can only be made from the colors, the smells, the minds, we already know.”

“All this may sound like the latest variant of the old Classical-versus-Romantic quarrel, and maybe it is; but, even more, it is the quarrel between those who know what literature is allowed to be and those who want to let it evolve… life is infinitely more complex and magical than we will ever know unless we stop trying to pin down feeling in pat little formulas or sentences so understated as to be vacant, their only defense the lamebrain cop-out that, because they say so little, they imply volumes.”

I have no patience or sympathy for these arm-chair critics and ivory-tower academics who cast judgment on genre fiction writers.  They have grown too concerned with the “science” of writing, as opposed to the artform it is supposed to be.  And what is art, but a stylized form of communication between the creator and those who experience it? 

There’s a reason so many genre writers are famous and beloved in modern times opposed to those who would pen a novel in the same manner a physicist would plot out an equation.  With rocketing sales in e-books (http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/story/2012-01-09/ebooks-sales-surge/52458672/1), supporters of this hollow writing style are going to have to accept the fact that the majority of people read for entertainment.  Give me aliens and explosions, hidden teasures and giant monsters, cyborg detectives and martian princesses.  And give them all to me with feeling!



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