March 04, 2008
Stylin' it up!
Style can stand alone. I think that, in most instances, it is dependent on other facts, namely style functioning as a modifier. For instance, a modern style of clothing, a cynical style of thought, a confident style of speech-giving—style modifies each subject. In Nemerov’s poem, much confusion results from the suggestion of writing a novel based on style alone and nothing else. It is not logical to think that style can exist independent of something to modify. Who could write a novel with no subject? Doesn’t that defy the whole book-writing convention…you know, the whole introduction, narrative, climax, ending structure? If a book was written only “in style,” how would the reader make sense of it? What would compel the reader to read the whole thing? As it turns out, Flaubert’s desire to actually write such a novel is never consummated. This could be to say that Nemerov disagrees with the possibility of completing such a task, but in all actuality, it doesn’t matter. Nemerov presents Flaubert’s aspiration as, first and foremost, an ideal when he compares “sustaining [a novel] upon the style alone/ Like the Holy Ghost cruising above/ The abyss” (ll. 3-5). He presents style as having power to conquer equal to that of the Divine. Whereas Flaubert never accomplishes this complex feat, I believe that such an ideal, as unheard of as it may be, can be accomplished. Whereas style can define a context, style can, in fact, also exist in a solitary form.
I came to this conclusion by thinking of my own personal style. No—not my sense of fashion, for as we discussed in my English 371 class, fashion is constantly changing whereas style is constant. What struck me as rather interesting is the fact that a certain type of style can’t really be objectively defined. If someone were to ask me, ‘what is your personal style,’ sure, I could rattle off some of my likes and dislikes, a couple of adjectives that I thought were fitting, but the fact is, style is intangible and undeniably subjective. It is incapable of being accurately depicted by words. Style is so abstract a concept that I might even venture to say that is more of a feeling than a definable concept. Only a combination of many influences can truly embody the feeling of personal style.
Last summer, as I was trying to come with a design scheme for my room in Ann Arbor, I decided that whatever I chose, I wanted it to evoke most accurately my own personal sense of style. This is what I came up with:
On the left, you can see six different framed collages. The individual pictures themselves would not even come close to defining my personal style, but from afar, seeing the collages as a whole, I think that they do a pretty accurate job of describing me as a person, my likes and dislikes, my passion for life, etc. On the right is a snapshot I took of a piece of my bulletin board. Even the organization of the pictures hints at my personal style. If those same pictures were given to someone else to arrange, I am willing to bet that no one would arrange them in exactly the same way. These two examples represent the authenticity of style exclusive to each individual.
It is true, yes, that style traditionally acts as a modifier of something else. However, style is powerful enough to stand alone. As my collages demonstrate, there is much to learn about someone or something through the style in which it is created.
Posted by thulyk at March 4, 2008 06:13 PM
Yes; I certainly (have cause to) see style as a system, style as systems of sometimes intersecting framing.
And (just about) any mode/form/"style"/act of framing modifies; allows/supports particular systems of interpretation/meaning.
"Style" itself is a framing notin that can support a number of meanings; the "style" of characterization, the forming of/choosing of those details that will define the created identify, the stylized identity. The protocol of the choices --all of which exclude possibilities outside the frame active in a given set of circumstances. Now what is possible inside the framing system may be unlimited, but it is bounded unlimitedness --infinite possibilities within the protocols of the framing system.
Style as design?
What must be sustained in order to match the frame selected as the writing proceeds; the path (style) that is demanded based upon each step taen, each line written, each plot element occurs, each character trait emerges, etc.
Ye! --"I wanted it to evoke most accurately my own personal sense of style"
--of course; the reflection of that personal sense, that personal take --Flaubert's touches that, no matter what, limit what Flaubert produces to Flaubert's sense of whatever; never can Flaubert produce that which does not in some way on some scale reflect his sense, his take, framing that does not permit an independent greatness so only a limited, a confined greatness occurs --no matter how magnificent the style of the limitation.
Posted by: thyliasm at March 10, 2008 12:26 PMLogin to leave a comment. Create a new account.