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domingo, janeiro 16, 2005

Alicerçando Palavras # 34 - Theodor W. Adorno

Theodor W. Adorno

The writer is in a permanent predicament when it comes to punctuation marks; if one were fully aware while writing, one would sense the impossibility of ever using a mark of punctuation correctly and would give up writing altogether. For the requirements of the rules of punctuation and those of the subjective need for logic and expression are not compatible: in punctuation marks the check the writer draws on language is refused payment. The writer cannot trust in the rules which are often rigid and crude; nor can he ignore them without indulging in a kind of eccentricity and doing harm to their nature by calling attention to what is inconspicuous – and inconspicuousness is what punctuation lives by. But if, on the other hand, he is serious, he may not sacrifice any part of his aim to a universal, for no writer today can completely identify with anything universal; he does so only at the price of affecting the archaic. The conflict must be endured each time, and one needs either a lot of strength or a lot of stupidity not to lose heart. At best one can advise that punctuation marks be handled the way musicians handle forbidden chord progressions and incorrect voice leading. With every act of punctuation, like every musical cadence, one can tell whether there is an intention or whether it is pure sloppiness.

Theodor W. Adorno, Notes to Literature, Volume 1.ed. Rolf Tiedemann and trans. Shierry Weber Nicholson. Columbia University Press. 1958. pp. 96-7