Sunday, April 14, 2013


Horror of the Cliché

Henry James (1843-1916), "Gustave Flaubert," in Essays in London and Elsewhere (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1893), pp. 121-150 (at 146):
The horror, in particular, that haunted all his years was the horror of the cliché, the stereotyped, the thing usually said and the way it was usually said, the current phrase that passed muster. Nothing, in his view, passed muster but freshness, that which came into the world, with all the honors, for the occasion. To use the ready-made was as disgraceful as for a self-respecting cook to buy a tinned soup or a sauce in a bottle.

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