The relegation of the grandest and most artistic plates, for want of any logical position in the new display hierarchy, to the dankest reaches of the shelves, constituted an apparent breach of the extensively, if somewhat inconsistently, revised philosophy. Yet the still-innocent clerks of this noveau reich persisted, unwittingly, and with conspicuously lax forethought, to determinedly undermine the basis for their congenital success and reputation. One might spare the occasional pardon, whether on a whim or by dubious slip in policy, from exile for the pristine countenance of an early Joyce or weathered Chaucer whose publisher had had the presence of mind to endow his products with pseudo-modern binding and suitably aesthetic proportion.

That rather lengthy and pretentious excerpt was part of our style imitation exercise. I modeled it on an excerpt from Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Even typing it, I can feel the fuzzy, roundabout logic making a bid for permanent residence crippling future papers. Bleagh! Gibbon’s word order is almost as convoluted as Horace’s! He has that sketchy 18th C. punctuation, to boot; commas need not separate noun phrases from the predicate.

I have another imitation to do for tonight, and am toying with the idea of doing Nikki Giovanni, since I just got her new book. That could prove difficult.

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