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[ Also see Art Authorship Books Criticism Eloquence Language Literature Obscurity Oratory Originality Poetry Rhetoric Speech Taste Thought Writing ]

Plutarch would rather we should applaud his judgment than commend his knowledge, and would rather leave us with an appetite to read more than glutted with that we have already read.
      - Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

A good writer does not write as people write, but as he writes.
      - Charles de Montesquieu (Charles-Louis de Secondat)

A pure style in writing results from the rejection of everything superfluous.
      - Madame Suzanne Curchod Necker

The old prose writers wrote as if they were speaking to an audience; while, among us, prose is invariably written for the eye alone.
      - Reinhold Niebuhr

The way to elegancy of style is to employ your pen upon every errand; and the more trivial and dry it is, the more brains must be allowed for sauce.
      - Francis Osborne (Osborn)

The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.
      - Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (pt. II)

Those who make antitheses by forcing the sense are like men who make false windows for the sake of symmetry. Their rule is not to speak justly, but to make accurate figures.
      - Blaise Pascal

When we meet with a natural style, we are surprised and delighted, for we expected to find an author, and we have found a man.
      - Blaise Pascal

For style beyond the genius never dares.
  [Fr., Che stilo oltra l'ingegno non si stende.]
      - Francesco Petrarch, Morte di Laura
         (sonnet 68)

Not poetry, but prose run mad.
      - Alexander Pope

Such labored nothings, in so strange a style, amaze the unlearned and make the learned smile.
      - Alexander Pope

Such labour'd nothings, in so strange a style.
  Amaze th' learn'd, and make the learned smile.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay of Criticism
         (pt. II, l. 126)

Expression is the dress of thought, and still
  Appears more decent as more suitable;
    A vile conceit in pompous words express'd,
      Is like a clown in regal purple dress'd.
      - Alexander Pope, Essay on Criticism
         (l. 318)

When Croft's "Life of Dr. Young" was spoken of as a good imitation of Dr. Johnson's style, "No, no," said he, "it is not a good imitation of Johnson; it has all his pomp without his force; it has all the nodosities of the oak, without its strength; it has all the contortions of the sibyl, without the inspiration."
      - Matthew Prior, Life of Burke

Style in painting is the same as in writing,--a power over materials, whether words or colors, by which conceptions or sentiments are conveyed.
      - Sir Joshua Reynolds

It is far more difficult to be simple than to be complicated; far more difficult to sacrifice skill and cease exertion in the proper place, than to expend both indiscriminately.
      - John Ruskin

If you would be pungent, be brief, for it is with words as with sunbeams the more they are condensed, the deeper they burn.
      - John Godfrey Saxe

Style is the physiognomy of the mind. It is more infallible than that of the body. To imitate the style of another is said to be wearing a mask. However beautiful it may be, it is through its lifelessness insipid and intolerable, so that even the most ugly living face is more engaging.
      - Arthur Schopenhauer

Oh, never will I trust to speeches penned! . * * * taffeta phrases, silken terms precise, three-piled hyperboles.
      - William Shakespeare

Harmony of period and melody of style have greater weight than is generally imagined in the judgment we pass upon writing and writers. As a proof of this, let us reflect what texts of scripture, what lines in poetry, or what periods we most remember and quote, either in verse or prose, and we shall find them to be only musical ones.
      - William Shenstone

I hate a style, as I do a garden, that is wholly flat and regular,--that slides like an eel, and never rises to what one can call an inequality.
      - William Shenstone

Long sentences in a short composition are like large rooms in a little house.
      - William Shenstone

Persons are oftentimes misled in regard to their choice of dress by attending to the beauty of colors, rather than selecting such colors as may increase their own beauty.
      - William Shenstone

Style, after all, rather than thought, is the immortal thing in literature.
      - Alexander Smith

Style is a magic wand, and turns everything to gold that it touches.
      - Logan Pearsall Smith

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