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John Palcewski's Journal

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Harmony of Interests

“This looks like a young professor who has not yet become disillusioned with academia,” I said.
“Yes. My early years at Harvard. This was the period in my career where making unexpected connections between disparate topics was part of my strategy to keep students involved. Or at least awake. In this instance I’d started with the economic theories of Henry Carey in the nineteenth century, then leaped forward to a contemporary study by Manfred Weidhorn entitled 'A Harmony of Interests, Explorations in the Mind of Winston Churchill.' I always expected my earnest note scribblers to be surprised to learn that Sir Winston won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.”
I raised my eyebrow. “You’ve GOT to be kidding!”
Harold laughed . “You’re a truly funny man, James.”
“Thank you.”
“I’ve always admired that distinguished chap's wit. For instance, in a galley proof of one of his books a proofreader admonished Winston for ending a sentence with a preposition. His riposte? ‘This is the sort of impertinence up with which I will not put.’”
“These days it’s not considered an error,” I said, “since usage rules.”
“Exactly. A variation of Goebbel’s insight that a lie repeated often enough becomes accepted as fact.”
“Connections, lad.”
I looked again at the image. “I like this. May I have it?”
Harold didn’t hesitate. He gently lifted the print from its little black corner holders.
“It’s yours,” my friend said.

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I've said it before, but I love Harold. I'd like to have his role in the film version.

and a truth said twice becomes a lie, said crishnamurty,
i appreciate this writing, seemed to me ,autobiografical.

No writer alive would fail to be elated to have his fictional character taken to be real. Thanks!

The preposition rule was a relatively recent innovation (or imposition, perhaps) of the C18th... personally I'm tempted to see the persistance of those end prepostions as a triumph of function over form.

Now that's an innovative way of looking at it. I note also the use of the word "which" over "that" in restrictive clauses is common these days, "even in edited prose," saith The American Heritage Book of English Usage (1996). It adds, "If you fail to follow the rule in this point, you have plenty of company."

Again usage. Or another triumph of function?

I don't know. If you look back in history you see a large loosening of the noose when it comes to such things as sentence fragments. I don't think this is a triumph of function over form, but just a relaxation in academia.

More likely the intrinsic nature of language, which is that it continually changes.

That's the other way of looking at it. ;]

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