The List

6 months ago

The list, Gass tells us, is a basic literary gambit: "It occurs constantly, and only occasionally draws attention to itself." It is an essentially democratic mode, levelling its elements however disparate to a single plane or stratum, and laconically implying some absent linking verb: buy, invite, remember. Pursued at length, however, such modesty flips or flowers into syntactic extravagance – "The list is the fundamental rhetorical form for creating a sense of abundance, overflow, excess." In sum, lists tend to get out of hand.

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