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Old 08-30-2013, 02:14 AM   #31
AlexBell
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Originally Posted by pidgeon92 View Post
I believe Umberto Eco did the same in 1980's The Name of the Rose. I haven't read it myself, but my husband tells me it is so. I doubt Eco was the first to employ this practice.
No he didn't! At least, not in the ebook which I have in front of me right now:

"A rich abbey," he said. "The abbot likes a great display on public occasions."

I haven't read the print version for years, but I'm sure I would have noticed any lack of quotation marks.
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:54 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Joykins View Post
- I've read some books that used dashes instead of punctuation - she says - I never really understood why an author would do that. Perhaps they feel ordinary punctuation is beneath them? I personally find it distracting. -
Depends I guess where you come from, as I said above I only knew dashes for dialogues until I started reading in English and saw quotation marks (distracting for me). Anyway, doesn't matter, does it.

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No he didn't! At least, not in the ebook which I have in front of me right now:

"A rich abbey," he said. "The abbot likes a great display on public occasions."

I haven't read the print version for years, but I'm sure I would have noticed any lack of quotation marks.
My non English edition of this book surely has dashes. Maybe it also depends on publisher and what the reading world is used to in a particular corner of the Earth?
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Old 08-30-2013, 04:45 AM   #33
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I've never seen a novel, print or e-book, where dialogue wasn't marked with quotation marks or hyphens (the later being rare and confusing to me). I'd not bother reading a book like this, either.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:19 AM   #34
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Leaving out quotation marks, or other punctuation, can work if done well but there's a big difference between whether a writer can do something and whether they should do something. The difficulty is that it's much harder to do it well.

Literary fiction is a genre where technique and style matter. The problem I have, especially with some of the more experimental stylings such as the avoidance of quotation marks is that unless done extremely well it tends to jump out at me; like the author is shoving their cleverness in my face while shouting about how wonderful they are. A good writer uses techniques so you pay attention to their effect and only later realize the technique, a less good one draws attention to the technique rather than the effect.

I'm not a fan. Too often it comes across as pretentious and pompous, more about the writer than the work.
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Old 08-30-2013, 08:42 AM   #35
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I hated it as well. If this is another thing that's called "art", I don't get it at all.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:17 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chi Cygni View Post
Depends I guess where you come from, as I said above I only knew dashes for dialogues until I started reading in English and saw quotation marks (distracting for me). Anyway, doesn't matter, does it.
I expect it does, because I bought Cold Mountain and noticed it had dashes or something instead of quotes and I just got exhausted at the thought of reading it that way and therefore have never read it.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:23 AM   #37
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Are people always so quick to assign pretentiousness to practices that don't align with their own personal preferences? I guess since I've always considered writing an art form, I don't quite understand the resentment directed toward someone who chooses to display an "artistic" penchant in a work no one has to read if they don't want to. Is there a fear that your favorite author(s) might "catch" this affliction or something?

I understand not liking something. That's perfectly normal. I just don't get the immediate leap to pretentiousness (by some). *shrugs*

And even if there is pretentiousness involved, I don't think I can use that to take points away from something I enjoyed reading -- that was well written. I guess didn't know humbleness was such a sought-after character trait in writers/writing.
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Old 08-30-2013, 09:49 AM   #38
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Punctuation in Eco

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Originally Posted by Istvan diVega View Post
As far as I can remember, both of my two copies contain a full complement of quotation marks.
My English edition uses quotation marks in the standard way for dialogue. Anyone have an Italian edition? Maybe something different their that was standardized for English translation?
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:20 AM   #39
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It doesn't bother me, I'm more interested in substance than style. Until someone pointed it out I'm not sure I noticed the lack of quotation marks in Cormac McCarthy's books. I also don't flip out if the paragraphs are indented or not indented and I manage fine reading sloppily formatted or OCR'd books that others here complain bitterly about.
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:49 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Are people always so quick to assign pretentiousness to practices that don't align with their own personal preferences? I guess since I've always considered writing an art form, I don't quite understand the resentment directed toward someone who chooses to display an "artistic" penchant in a work no one has to read if they don't want to. Is there a fear that your favorite author(s) might "catch" this affliction or something?

I understand not liking something. That's perfectly normal. I just don't get the immediate leap to pretentiousness (by some). *shrugs*

And even if there is pretentiousness involved, I don't think I can use that to take points away from something I enjoyed reading -- that was well written. I guess didn't know humbleness was such a sought-after character trait in writers/writing.
As the most recent user of the term I feel that perhaps I should explain further.

Personally, I didn't say it is pretentious, but that when done badly it often looks pretentious. It's the failure mode of clever. In my experience, apparent pretension is a very common side-effect when someone tries to use any avant-garde, post-modern, or experimental technique and doesn't pull it off. The other option (again, speaking only when it's done poorly) is that it makes the writer look either lazy or incompetent; but that's more common in self-published than commercially published books.

When it works, it works and I have no problem with it. I generally avoid it because quite often people's reach exceeds their grasp. My general rule is the earlier I notice a writer is using a non-standard technique, the less likely I am to finish the book. It's not a knock on any specific technique, but the simple fact that once I'm paying more attention to how they're doing it than what they're doing, the author has lost me.

It doesn't look pretentious when it works.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:13 AM   #41
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I just read Louise Erdrich's The Round House. Pretty good book. But no quotation marks were used to denote dialogue. As far as I can determine, Cormac McCarthy started doing this and now lots of literary authors are mimicking the trend.

To me, there is no stylistic reason to omit quotation marks, except to self-consciously announce an author's intention that This Is A Literary Work. I find it utterly pretentious. Your thoughts....
Charlie Huston does this (and I think he wrote books without before Cormac, but I'd have to go look.)

Annoyed the bezeebers out of me. I don't mind when authors do things to kind of "test" things or be original, but there was no earthly idea to not use quotes. Sure it's a style thing, but it slowed my reading down. The author also has a lot of cursing. Sure, it was probably realistic, but curse words are actually just a bunch of extra words. So between that and the quotes, I think it cut my reading speed in half and upped my annoyance by double.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:13 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Are people always so quick to assign pretentiousness to practices that don't align with their own personal preferences? I guess since I've always considered writing an art form, I don't quite understand the resentment directed toward someone who chooses to display an "artistic" penchant in a work no one has to read if they don't want to. Is there a fear that your favorite author(s) might "catch" this affliction or something?

I understand not liking something. That's perfectly normal. I just don't get the immediate leap to pretentiousness (by some). *shrugs*

And even if there is pretentiousness involved, I don't think I can use that to take points away from something I enjoyed reading -- that was well written. I guess didn't know humbleness was such a sought-after character trait in writers/writing.
Pretty much yes. It's especially silly to accuse Cormac Mccarthy of being a pretentious postmodernist as he has very simple and clearwriting style. As for quotation marks

Quote:
McCarthy doesn’t use ‘em. In his Oprah interview, he says MacKinlay Kantor was the first writer he read who left them out. McCarthy stresses that this way of writing dialogue requires particular deliberation. Speaking of writers who have imitated him, he says, “You really have to be aware that there are no quotation marks, and write in such a way as to guide people as to who’s speaking.” Otherwise, confusion reigns.
http://www.openculture.com/2013/08/c...ion-rules.html

He excludes quotation marks because it forces him to be more clear when he writes.

The Road is the only Mccarthy book i've read. I didn't have a problem with the lack of quotation marks. Considering how the characters talked and the writing style, quotation marks were unnecessary.

Last edited by spellbanisher; 08-30-2013 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:14 AM   #43
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@Lemurion:

So "good is good" then? We can agree on that, at least.

I guess I'm just more likely to conversely assume that "bad is bad" (or "not my cup of tea") ... rather than assuming anything else--like pretentiousness--might be in play.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:44 AM   #44
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Quote:
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@Lemurion:

So "good is good" then? We can agree on that, at least.

I guess I'm just more likely to conversely assume that "bad is bad" (or "not my cup of tea") ... rather than assuming anything else--like pretentiousness--might be in play.
Yes, good is good.

Unfortunately, I think you're still missing my point. I'm not saying it is pretentious, I'm saying that when it's done badly it frequently looks that way; and the number of people using the word seem to bear that out.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:55 AM   #45
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Rules of Civility by Amor Towles uses dashes instead of quotation marks. Although the book is a good read, I was irritated throughout. Probably I read it more slowly than otherwise would have been necessary. Whether or not it was a pretentious choice does not matter to me: I would not knowingly choose another such book. The Round House is on my TBR list, but, thankfully, I own the audio version.
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