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Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Bad style

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 30 March 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1923
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

John Gross, who died recently, was said to be the best read person in England. Certainly, no person I ever met knew more about English literature—and many other things besides—than he. But his vast knowledge, the fruit of prodigious reading and prodigious memory, was not that of a pedant; everything he knew, he knew because he delighted in knowledge for its own sake. He had the gift of conveying that delight to others.

He was, among other things, the finest anthologist of his age. His The New Oxford Book of English Prose is an indispensable source for those who would write well, in whatever style they would like to write. Gross knew that …

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