Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sue Lawson and sentences

I was talking to Sue Lawson in the office about this, that and the other, in the office, as you do in an editorial chat. It is always a delight when Sue comes down to visit the Gertrude Street office. We were talking about The Crucible and then drifted over to sentences and Stanley Fish's How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One, which I finished reading a week ago or so. (I am a fan.) There was a snap moment between Miller's play and the nasty sense of being the sole owner of truth and a sentence Fish quotes from Increase Mather's (what a name!) A Brief History of War with the Indians in New-England (1676). Mather asserts:

"That the Heathen People amongst whom we live, and whose Land the Lord God of our Fathers has given to us for a rightful Possession, have at sundry time been plotting mischievous devices against that part of the English Israel which is seated in these goings down of the Sun, no man that is an inhabitant of any considerable standing can be ignorant."

What a superb sentence for justifying out and out theft! Those Puritans were a scary bunch, which Miller's play does such a good job of putting on stage.

PS Be prepared for Sue's next book!

1 comment:

Sue Lawson said...

Now THAT is one helluva sentence!
We certainly cover a myriad of topics in editorial meetings! Always a complete pleasure and always thought provoking. Thank you.