aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Like nails on a blackboard

I'm reading The Elizabethan World Picture, by EMW Tillyard, a Cambridge don who published this back in the '40s. It's a nice read, except for ONE thing: there are too few commas.

It must have been a fad that went through Cambridge but never caught on anywhere else. The commas which are missing are those used in setting off items in a series. The result is that I first try to construe the series as a set of nouns modifying each other (another thing English is good at). It's annoying and distracting as hell.

The heavens themselves, the planets, and this centre
Observe degree priority and place
Insisture course proportion season form
Office and custom, in all line of order . . .*

He belongs to a world of violent crime and violent change, of sin blood and repentance, yet to a world loyal to a theological scheme.

*This is the way the author edits Shakespeare
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