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U Iowa Prof. Brooks Landon Ph.D. University of Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). p. 229 Bottom.

        Now that I’ve made several strong claims about sentence length, let me offer a few examples to support those claims. Ask anyone who has read much Hemingway whether his sentences are characteristically long or characteristically short, and the odds are they’ll choose short. Indeed, Hemingway has become something of the poster child for short sentences, but consider this sentence from Death in the Afternoon:

Once I remember Gertrude Stein talking of bullfights spoke of her admiration for Joselito and showed me some pictures of him in the ring and of herself and Alice Toklas sitting in the first row of the wooden barreras at the bull ring at Valencia with Joselito and his brother Gallo below, and I had just come from the Near East, where the Greeks broke the legs of their baggage and transport animals and drove and shoved them off the quay into the shallow water when they abandoned the city of Smyrna, and I remember saying that I did not like the bullfights because of the poor horses.

For any of you who were counting, that’s 108 words.

I first glossed the bolded phrase as one where Hemingway omitted the complementizer that:

Once I remember [that] Gertrude Stein talking of bullfights spoke of her admiration

But this gloss feels wrong, because then the bolded phrase is an Adverbial Clause of Time, but it can't depend on the following two independent clauses as they both start with "and" (that I colored in grey).

  • How is "Gertrude Stein, talking about bullfights, spoke of her admiration . . ." any less grammatical than "Gertrude Stein spoke of her admiration . . ."? Is the grammatical problem about the "talking about bullfights" or is it about the part beginning with "spoke"? – user14111 Dec 28 '18 at 8:11
  • @user14111 "the part beginning with "spoke"?" I don't think it's accurate to quote "Gertrude Stein, talking about bullfights, spoke of her admiration . . .", as you did? This is subordinated to "Once I remember". – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Dec 28 '18 at 8:35
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To my mind, the sentence misses at a few punctuation marks to make it grammatical, or at least easier to parse. When you interpret "once" as referring to "spoke" (i.e. "I remember how Gertrude Stein, ..., once spoke her admiration ..."), the syntax starts to make sense.

The conjunctions "and" in "and I had just come ..." and "and I remember saying ..." are then used for "normal" parataxis. The structure of the first half of the sentence can then be parsed as follows:

Once, I remember, Gertrude Stein, talking of bullfights,

  • spoke of her admiration for Joselito and
  • showed me some pictures
    • of him in the ring and
    • of herself and Alice Toklas sitting in the first row of the wooden barreras at the bull ring at Valencia with Joselito and his brother Gallo below,

and (...).

The result is a run-on sentence that may have been intended as a imitation of real speech, where people don't consistently keep track of the syntax of the sentences they speak and just string clauses together with "and".

  • But Hemingway didn't use "how", which you placed in quotes in your first para.? – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Dec 29 '18 at 0:14
  • @Greek-Area51Proposal AFAIK, "I remember how X once did Y" would be the expected formulation. However, the parsing I proposed in the quote block makes sense of the sentence without "how". – IkWeetHetOokNiet Dec 29 '18 at 9:28

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