This is my first bona fide snow day since a blizzard hit Chicago in 1978. (Or maybe it was ’79.) Reporters don’t get snow days; neither do the self-employed. But today was my day to teach at Goucher, and the campus is closed because of some pretty wretched conditions.
Still, I’m at home, working, and I found this sentence in one of the greatest books ever written:
“A pleasant smile broke quietly over his lips.”
Is it just me, or is this godawful? Could it have been consciously godawful? I will note that the masterpiece that contains this work was written 80-plus years ago. Have times changed?
My head hurts. I think I need to put the literature down and go watch some Project Runway reruns. Comments on how literature changes. Or doesn’t. And how everything depends on context. I have no doubt that I would draw a vicious red line through this in a student’s paper, but how can I critique one of our greatest writers?