Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Polysyndeton

 It turned cold here, and windy, and I decided to stay inside and not work. I watched television and I saw a terrible movie with Tommy Lee Jones in it. He was in "No Country for Old Men" and others which I have enjoyed and this one which I did not. While reading about the old lefty I learned he owns the rights to a book by Cormac McCarthy's entitled "Blood Meridian" and I had never heard of that one. And so I looked it up. And it turns out that "Cormac" is not his given name and he uses the polysyndeton style of writing and I am using it and I find it annoying and tiresome. And so I will try to stop. And I might succeed. 

And before I do I have to admit I found that style funny in a Monty Python movie, to wit:

"And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, 'O Lord, bless this thy hand grenade, that with it thou mayst blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.' And the Lord did grin. And the people did feast upon the lambs, and sloths, and carp, and anchovies, and orangutans, and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats, and large chalupas."

But much beyond that it is a stylistic dead end, sayeth the guy who has sold no books as compared to Mr. McCarthy who has sold many. Some have suggested that "Blood Meridian" is impossible to film, and after reading about it I am thankful - it sounds hideous. And Gore-y.

8 comments:

Mumpsimus said...

The ancients were also fond of asyndeton, the opposite of polysyndeton:

Seven cities claim to be the root of Homer:
Cyme, Smyrna, Chios, Colophon, Pylos, Argos, Athens.
--Greek Anthology 16.297 (tr. W.R. Paton)

(I cribbed that from the blog Laudator Temporis Acti, which has a serious thing about asyndeton.)

Sixty Grit said...

I was just reading about Homer and thinking that I need to reread The Odyssey. I like Homer Simpson, too. D'oh!

Thanks for the link - that is some serious reading right there. Has CL seen it?

Also, my oldest brother liked The Fugs. I didn't.

chickelit said...

Ah, Sixty, the Greeks! I must teach you. You must read them in the original. πολυσυνδέτον, πολυσυνδέτον.

So closely yoked it's no joke.

Some Seppo said...

I found McCarthy's style of writing dialog without quotation marks difficult and cryptic and unnecessary and egotistical and gimmicky.

ampersand said...

Polysyndeton wants a cracker, not a biscuit, nor a cookie or a saltine, nor hardtack or bun or rusk, nor saltine or redneck.

Did I do that right?

Sixty Grit said...

Close enough to make me laugh - thanks!

I use dog biscuits to train my dog. The word "biscuit" is the magic word that gets her to pay attention. Some people use the word "cookie". Never thought of using "hardtack", that would be more of a frontier sort of dog - which makes me wonder, what kind of dogs did frontiersmen have? But the real wonder is that some people name their dogs "Biscuit". If my dog was named Biscuit that would be very confusing for all involved.

ampersand said...

what kind of dogs did frontiersmen have?
Why a Border Collie naturally.

MamaM said...

Bull dogs? or maybe depending on weather, or how far north the line went, a Bitch'n'Freeze?

Now I'm all knotted up with commas use. They were never my strong suit to begin with. The more I focus on them, the worse it gets.

Biscuit has that lovely buzzy "iskit" sound that catches animal ears.