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To which Marcantonio, at 4:52 p.m., posts in rejoinder: "Hemingway did not break completely with the past. His prose is stripped, unornamented and spare, but it's legible and there's a recognizable narrative. Its architectural equivalent is this: [Here Marcantonio inserts a photograph of Erik Gunnar Asplund's Stockholm public library, in a pre-modernist style largely stripped of ornament.]"

"Stein," he continues, "comes much closer to pure modernism -- not totally, as she uses recognizable words; however, her sentences really capture a modernist spirit. For example, in Tender Buttons we read: 'A kind in glass and a cousin, a spectacle and nothing strange in a single hurt color and an arrangement in a system to pointing. All this and not ordinary, not unordered in not resembling. The difference is spreading.'

"That," Marcantonio adds, "is essentially meaningless, only conveying the vaguest of sentiments. And it's intended to be meaningless. And I would argue that this type of stuff has absolutely not made writing better. If anything, it's used as a stick to defend illiteracy. The architectural equivalent is this: [Here Marcantonio inserts a photo of founding modernist Le Corbusier's chapel at Ronchamp, France, which looks like a rhinoceros], only Stein's work is superficially prettier and less threatening."

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