lunedì 18 dicembre 2017


Some things Simenon said about personal choices for his style

Ce que Simenon disait à propos de ses choix personnels quant à son style 
Quello che Simenon diceva a proposito delle sue scelte personali sul suo stile

Some criticize Simenon as a writer, but I don’t recall anyone criticizing the particular way he wrote his sentences. What follows are some interesting statements by the writer expressing specific principles fundamental to his writing style. 
On keeping things simple: 
Simenon biographer Fenton Bresler directly quotes the 75-year-old novelist this way: I have since the age of eighteen tried to have a style as simple as possible. 
On using few words: 
Biographer Patrick Marnham indicates Simenon employed a vocabulary of [only] 2,000 words, but Giulio Nascimbeni’s direct question Is it true you have not used more than 2,000 words?” triggered this colorful response reducing the total drastically: That’s too many […] I did not reach that figure. Besides, Racine only used 800.” And another time Simenon pointed out the great number of useless words people write is insane and stressed how adjectives and all [such] hyperbole weakens sentences instead of strengthening them. 
On using straightforward words: 
Simenon actually chose a less than straightforward word to describe another important component in his writing style: mots-matière. A suitable translation for this term might be ‘unambiguous words. According to the writer, such words are the equivalents of pure colors and have the same meaning for everyone.” Expressed in yet another way, these words have the same resonance in everybody’s head.” Indeed, in a boasting way, Simenon asserted, I try to give my words the same weight that Cezanne gave to an apple. That’s why I nearly always use concrete words. Some examples he offered were chair” and “seat and “table.” In contrast, he cited “love” (be it noun or verb) as a multiple meaning word he used very little.” Despite once claiming I hate numbers,” Simenon further clarified his thinking this way: I once read a statistic that revealed over half the people in France used no more than a total of 600 words. So what was the good of my using abstract words? 
On restricting adjectives and adverbs: 
Although the writer hated correcting his works—“The worst punishment, the dirtiest job […] is to go back over my novelshe was extremely successful in cutting away adjectives, adverbs, and all words that are only there for effect.” 
On avoiding run-on sentences: 
The avoidance of useless adjectives, adverbs, etc., and finally and above all, really run-on sentences, beautiful sentences spouting out just like pretentious poetry characterized his style. Because he disliked every sentence that is there only for the sentence, he advised, “Whenever you have a beautiful sentence, one should cut it out. Moreover, he stressed that word order is important to him and rhythm matters more to me than the beautiful sentence.” Finally, he explained his predilection for the typewriter, as opposed to a pencil or pen, because “it does not lend itself to the really flowing sentences I do not like.” 

David P Simmons 

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