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The most amazing sentence I have ever read.

Granted, stream of consciousness style was to create some pretty
impressive sentences 70 years later. But that style often involved what
were essentially multiple sentences put together in a string. Gogol’s
sentence here, taken from his short story “The Overcoat,” is a single
sentence working within all the grammatical rules to create an amazing
structure built of — in this translation — 283 words.

But moving beyond the linguistics a bit, the sentence presents brief and
foreshortened glimpses into people’s lives. What humans do, even if we
could go on forever trying to describe it, is only a fragment of a larger
reality. It is as if our human existence is become lost in a sea of
dependent clauses.

Omnivident. And magnificent.

I only wish I could read Russian. Because I would very much like to
follow Gogol’s own rhythmic flow in this.

 

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