a motto according to which


I wrote the following sentence and found my own wording of the part in parentheses awkward and am wondering whether it is understood. At the same time I did not find a way of wording it in a more correct/properly English way. Please help.

"The logic by which I judge books is determined by one pattern: I search in prose what poetry is supposed to do (a motto according to which [the author in question] indeed committed himself to writing)."
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Um, no, not understood. For one, 'search' requires 'for': 'I search in prose for what poetry is supposed to do.'

    I don't know quite how to rephrase the parenthesized bit. One might live according to a motto - but I don't think an author writes according to a motto. Possibly 'in line with' a motto. Or the author 'lives up to' the motto? Frankly, a motto is a bit too trivial a thing to commit oneself to. Aha - try 'maxim', that's a stronger word, and you can commit yourself to a maxim.

    I still think committing yourself to writing according to a maxim is hopelessly over-complicated, though.


    Senior Member
    If entangledbank is on the right track, you might write "I seek the poetry in prose" or "I seek for poetry in prose". Both phrases imply that the prose has the same effect as poetry on the reader. The second one, to me, has a greater implication that the person might be writing the prose. The first one is more passive; the poetry is found in existing prose.
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