I found this description of the stark Cretan landscape startlingly original, using good prose as a metaphor and incidentally giving a taut definition of what makes for fine writing. I gladly add this to the WritingRedux series of Key Penmanship Indicators (KPIs). I particularly loved the combination of severity and sweetness and that sweeping closing clause.

For earlier examples, see quotations by Anthony Burgess, the 16th century Filippo Pigafetta, Henry Williamson, Harold Bloom, Molly Peacock, and Adam Nicolson’s kind reactions to WritingRedux.

‘To my mind, this Cretan countryside resembled good prose, carefully ordered, sober, free from superfluous ornament, powerful and restrained. It expressed all that was necessary with the greatest economy. It had no flippancy, nor artifice about it. It said what it had to say with a manly austerity. But between the severe lines one could discern an unexpected sensitiveness and tenderness; in the sheltered hollows the lemon and orange trees perfumed the air, and from the vastness of the sea emanated an inexhaustible poetry.’

Source: Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek, trans. Carl Wildman, Faber & Faber, p. 34

Photo credits: Stefan Kunze at unsplash.com and Schwoaz at pixabay.com

Quotation from Nikos Kazantzakis - Zorba the Greek


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