Elogio del punto e virgola

When I was a teenager, newly fixated on becoming a writer, I came across a piece of advice from Kurt Vonnegut that affected me like an ice cube down the back of my shirt.
Do not use semicolons,” he said. “They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”...

I blame my grammatical fall on an unlikely corrupter: William James. For the past year or two I’ve had on my nightstand a fat Library of America collection of his writing, and it took me a while to realize that one of the things I was loving about it — one of the things that made me feel as if I was sitting beside a particularly intelligent, humane and excitable friend on a long trip in a horse-drawn carriage — was his use of semicolons. James’s paragraphs, as lucid and unpretentious as can be, are divided and subdivided, as intricately structured as the anatomical diagrams he includes in “Psychology: Briefer Course.” Semicolons, along with exclamation points and dashes and whole sackfuls of commas, are, for him, vital tools in keeping what he called the “stream of thought” from appearing to the reader as a wild torrent. opinionator.

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