The Philosophy of Style

Read by Gary Gilberd

(4.1 stars; 28 reviews)

“The Philosophy of Style,” explored a growing trend of formalist approaches to writing. Highly focused on the proper placement and ordering of the parts of an English sentence, [Spencer] created a guide for effective composition. Spencer’s aim was to free prose writing from as much "friction and inertia" as possible, so that the reader would not be slowed by strenuous deliberations concerning the proper context and meaning of a sentence. [Wikipedia] (1 hr 26 min)


A bit too simplistic

(2.5 stars)

Despite som interesting insights, Spencer’s ideas here are very simplistic. Paradoxically, his positivist approach to style is rather subjective and impressionistic. The final paragraph comes too late in the game. He addresses style as a unique category, but fails to acknowledge the existence of several styleS. There is no generic, super-discursive rules that apply to all writing. His understanding of style is one-sided, restricted and elitist. The “effects” he claims are the best ones don’t take into consideration every single genre, but just what “feels” better. This is a rhethoric of “feeling”.