I read this article with interest. Like most people, I have an interest in the private behavior of famous people. I try to limit my knowledge of celebrity gossip to what can be gleaned from the covers on the rack at the checkout of the grocery store, for the most part. But wrap up the same sentiments in a story about famous writers, and hold out on the prurient details until I’m halfway in, and you’ve got me.

Still, this sentence offended my sense of decorum*:

The book remained unfinished; within weeks of leaving Berryman threw himself from Minneapolis’s Washington Avenue bridge, his body splitting like a melon upon impact with the ground.

Do we really need to know that his body “split like a melon” when it hit? Look how much stronger that sentence would be without the lurid cliche:

“The book remained unfinished: within weeks of leaving Berryman threw himself from Minneapolis’s Washington Avenue bridge.”

Brevity being the soul of wit and all that, the prosecution rests, cocktail in hand. My work here is done.

*Just calling it a “sense of decorum” probably betrays that this blog is written by a student of the eighteenth century.

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