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Mark Greif

Making Trouble: What Is So Difficult about Butler

General complaints about the difficulty of a text seem to me to fall into three categories. The first is a complaint about syntax: the structures of most sentences in the text are presumed to be either (needlessly) elaborate or ill-formed. The second and third complaints are both about diction, but are about slightly different issues. Complaint #2 is about “jargon”—neologisms, loan words from languages other than English, and verbifications or nominalizations—transformations of one part of speech into another. The idea here is, I suppose, that the reader is required to master (or at least to absorb) a new vocabulary before Read more