Jen Knox defends ‘romantic’ semicolon; 25 ‘terrific novels’ for J-students

Jen Knox, a fiction writer and author of the memoir Musical Chairs, recently issued a nice defense of the semicolon on her blog:

Kurt Vonnegut is famous for saying the following: “Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”

Great quote, but total bullshit.  The semicolon is beautiful, the epitome of a soft pause that gives cadence to an otherwise abrupt shift in ongoing thought.  The semicolon is delicate and necessary and, if not overused, the most romantic of punctuation marks.

And OnlineCollege.org has posted “25 Terrific Novels for Journalism Students.” They define “novel” rather broadly: Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism epic Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is number one on the list. Other literary journalism classics listed include In Cold Blood, All the President’s Men, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

But the actual novels look great, so what the heck. The list includes The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, Scoop by Evelyn Waugh, New Grub Street by George Gissing, Miss Lonelyhearts by Nathanael West, and Floater by Calvin Trillin.

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7 Comments

Filed under fiction, journalism, punctuation

7 responses to “Jen Knox defends ‘romantic’ semicolon; 25 ‘terrific novels’ for J-students

  1. I love Vonnegut, but bravo to Jen. I agree with her. But it’s not just romantic; it’s a sex symbol.

  2. theexile

    Semicolons are wonderful things. I think I’m in love with semicolons.

  3. Olga Khotiashova

    “If a plant cannot live according to its nature, it dies; and so a man.”
    Henry D. Thoreau
    Can one express the idea better without that little semicolon?