The art of the run-on sentence, Part Deux

While it is true that 19th-century novelists can’t really compete with their 17th- and 18th-century forebears in this respect, just occasionally you hit a passage that reminds you that even as late as 150 years after it reached its pinnacle, the art of the run-on sentence wasn’t entirely dead.

This is the opening sentence of Catherine Cuthbertson’s Rosabella, which in the novel’s original format ran for over a page:

It was in such a night as treason might conceive formed for its sanguinary projects, that many deluded individuals of a maritime province in Ireland stole from their straw-roofed cabins, and in the gloom of impenetrable darkness descended with cautious steps the craggy rocks to the seashore; there to meet the subtle agents of sedition, who had, with all the wiles of interested management, too successfully sown the noxious seeds of disaffection in the bosoms of the credulous, the ignorant, the idle, and the bigoted; leading them hoodwinked not only from their allegiance to the existing government, but into the commission of crimes hostile to their eternal welfare.”

A mere 108 words, I’m afraid; hardly up to the monstrous efforts of the late 17th century; but it made me smile.

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2 Responses to “The art of the run-on sentence, Part Deux”

  1. Unusual by modern standards, certainly, but I find it quite appealing…

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