descriptive articles

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Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "descriptive articles" means in the following sentences:

'...The evil of the time is the multiplication of ephemerides. Hence a demand for essays, descriptive articles, fragments of criticism, out of all proportion to the supply of even tolerable work. The men who have an aptitude for turning out this kind of thing in vast quantities are enlisted by every new periodical, with the result that their productions are ultimately watered down into worthlessness....'

- George Gissing, New Grub Street, Chapter 3

Jasper Milvain, the protagonist of the novel which was published in 1891 in the United Kingdom, was taking a walk with Alfred Yule, who was an established literary critic. Alfred was saying to Jasper that the evil of the time was the multiplication of ephemerides, including essays, descriptive articles, fragments of criticism.

In this part, I could not understand what "descriptive articles" indicates.
Does it mean newspaper articles, that are explanatory rather than argumentative?
What kind of writing does the underlined expression specifically refer to?

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
 
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  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    This is talking about publications such as magazines. Magazines have articles in the same way that newspapers do. Descriptive articles are articles which describe things.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Glasguensis,

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    Then the descriptive articles here are articles in (literary) magazines which describe things, rather than asserting some opinion.
    Probably Alfred is saying that descriptive articles are short-lived compared to argumentative ones...?

    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)
     

    Starless74

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Probably Alfred is saying that descriptive articles are short-lived compared to argumentative ones...?
    Not necessarily. He is simply observing that the demand for that particular type of articles had increased with the multiplication of ephemerides.
    According to the full passage, the problem is with quantity in the first place, then with dilution to worthlessness as a consequence.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Starless74,

    Thank you very much for the additional explanation!
    Then the problem lies in the excessive quantity, rather than the type of writing itself.
    I truly appreciate your help. :)
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    He is saying that the demand for such articles (and the other types of writing he lists) far exceeds the number of high quality articles available. Periodicals are as a result full of articles which in his opinion are of low quality
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Glasguensis,

    Thank you very much for the explanation!
    There are so many low-quality articles, so the articles are diluted to be worthless.
    I sincerely appreciate your help. :)
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    You still haven’t quite grasped it: there are so many magazines that they are obliged to publish low-quality articles.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Glasguensis,

    Thank you very much for the additional explanation.
    So is it right to understand that "ephemerides" means magazines, not the articles?
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Starless74,

    Thank you very much for the additional explanation.
    I'm much obliged to you. :)
     
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