(William H. Gass, "And", Habitations of the Word (1985),
|Lists are finally for those who love language, the vowel-swollen cheek, the lilting, dancing tongue, because lists are filled full of words, and roving bands of 'and.' Think of the many American masters of this conjunction: Faulkner Hemingway, Stein, Melville:. . .
|Perhaps 'AND' should be sewn on the flag. Life itself can only be compiled and thereby captured on a list, if it can be laid out anywhere at all, especially if you are a nominalist.
List making is a form of collection, of course, conservative in that sense, and dictionaries are the noblest list of all; but lists are ubiquitous in literature. It is not merely Walt Whitman who is made of them. They are as frequent a rhetorical element as 'and' is a grammatical one. We could scarcely write much without either.
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Last Updated: March 2, 2005