What a lovely thing, a perfectly healthy sentence summing up what it feels like when you read one. The poetry of that following comment on sentences ‘written while the world went round, while grass grew and water ran’ echoes the rhythm and rhyme of ‘when Adam delved and Eve span’.

And a fine way to filter your own writing – by asking if a sentence is ‘perfectly healthy’.   Hmm, more work to do.

‘A perfectly healthy sentence is extremely rare.  Sometimes I read one which was written while the world went round, while grass grew and water ran.’   10 January 1841

 

Source: Henry David Thoreau, The Journal 1837-1861, Damion Searls (ed.), preface by John R. Stilgoe (New York: New York Review Books, 2009), p. 14

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