“We lived and laughed and loved and left.” – James Joyce, Finnegans Wake
This is an example of polysyndeton, a sentence style that employs many conjunctions. From the Greek, “bound together.”
Hemingway used polysyndeton and repetition, breaking the rules of composition to give a sense of “experience as it was experienced, using simple denotative language purged of stylistic decoration,” according to David Lodge, in The Art of Fiction.
In the fall the war was always there, but we did not go to it any more. It was cold in the fall in Milan and the dark came very early. Then the electric lights came on, and it was pleasant along the streets looking in the windows. There was much game hanging outside the shops, and the snow powdered in the fur of the foxes and the wind blew their tails. The deer hung stiff and heavy and empty, and small birds blew in the wind and the wind turned their feathers. It was a cold fall and the wind came down from the mountains. – Ernest Hemingway, In Another Country
Asyndeton is the writing style that omits conjunctions. From the Greek, “unconnected.”
I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods.
– Anne Sexton, “Her Kind”
This post is a style note to myself, a bookmark to save and think about.
I took these photos in the woods the other day. On the first especially, I was experimental with the iPhoto Adjust settings, sliding them around until my eye was pleased.
Yesterday was rainy, cool and dark-for-daytime. I was driving around on errands and past the ocean with gray swells and whitecaps, thinking about loneliness, as restless with irritability as the sea was with the storm. But the evening was only damp with mist, oddly warm, settled.
Today is a green and gold day with a rain-clean sky. The morning sun slants through the high yellow leaves and the shrubby understory that clings longest to life. On porches, there are pumpkins and chrysanthemums. Scarecrows and corn shocks are tied to lampposts. We hang a straw witch from our porch light every year.
I am going outside to clean up and cut back the flower beds.
Here is one more quote from a writer who likes to use polysyndeton:
It is easy to see the beginnings of things, and harder to see the ends. I can remember now, with a clarity that makes the nerves in the back of my neck constrict, when New York began for me, but I cannot lay my finger upon the moment it ended, can never cut through the ambiguities and second starts and broken resolves to the exact place on the page where the heroine is no longer as optimistic as she once was. – Joan Didion, Goodbye to All That
And one more unconnected, asyndetic quote:
He was a bag of bones, a floppy doll, a broken stick, a maniac.
– Jack Kerouac, On the Road