Ramblings & ephemera

A fine example of bad writing: repeated details

From Keith Phipps’s “Treasure Of The Black Falcon, by John Coleman Burroughs” (The Onion AV Club: 25 March 2010):

Burroughs’ circuitous prose, which reads as if he absorbed the paid-by-the-word style of his dad’s early work, doesn’t help. Opening the book at random, I found this passage:

The air was warm, humid, sultry. Everywhere the dank, wet smell of rotting vegetation in the jungle by the river was so strong that it could almost be tasted. Except they knew that wild life was all about them and they could see the countless birds overhead, there was no sound. No breeze rustled the palm leaves, the fronds, or the tops of the giant conifers.

It’s humid, get it? And there’s no wind touching every type of vegetation Burroughs can think of. Not the palm leaves. Not the fronds. The giant conifers? No, not them either.

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