Proofing, Reading, Discovering

Jonah Lehrer in the chapter “Gertrude Stein: The Structure of Language” in Proust Was a Neuroscientist

What Stein discovered was a writing style that celebrated its grammatical mistakes. In her most radical prose, she manages to make us conscious of all the linguistic work that is normally done unconsciously. We notice the way verbs instantly get conjugated (even irregular verbs), the way nouns naturally become plural, and the way we amend articles to fit their subjects. Stein always said that the only way to read her writing was to proofread it, to pay acute attention to all the rules she violates. Her errors trace the syntactical structures we can’t see, as our “inside becomes outside.” Stein showed us what we put into language by leaving it out.

what awe put into a we

And so for day 523

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