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Re: Looking for examples of well-written modules

by Cody Pendant (Prior)
on Aug 27, 2004 at 00:16 UTC ( #386211=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Looking for examples of well-written modules

I wouldn't normally do this, but I really have to point out that you mis-spelled the names of both Ernest Hemingway and Jane Austen.

If indeed that's who you meant, because Austen wasn't known for her writing being florid or meandering, quite the opposite. For her time she was practically telegraphic.

Here's the opening to Pride and Prejudice:

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

And here's a sentence from right at the start of Sense and Sensibility:

The old gentleman died: his will was read, and like almost every other will, gave as much disappointment as pleasure.

A much better choice of meandering novelist would be Henry James, who descends so often into sub-clauses and sub-sub-clauses that you long in vain for some curly brackets to break the thing up into nice blocks:

She had got up with these last words; she stood there before him with that particular suggestion in her aspect to which even the long habit of their life together had not closed his sense, kept sharp, year after year, by the collation of types and signs, the comparison of fine object with fine object, of one degree of finish, of one form of the exquisite with another--the appearance of some slight, slim draped "antique" of Vatican or Capitoline halls, late and refined, rare as a note and immortal as a link, set in motion by the miraculous infusion of a modern impulse and yet, for all the sudden freedom of folds and footsteps forsaken after centuries by their pedestal, keeping still the quality, the perfect felicity, of the statue; the blurred, absent eyes, the smoothed, elegant, nameless head, the impersonal flit of a creature lost in an alien age and passing as an image in worn relief round and round a precious vase.

Now that's meandering...

Guess what my degree was in?

=~y~b-v~a-z~s; print
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Re^2: Looking for examples of well-written modules
by bradcathey (Prior) on Aug 27, 2004 at 02:10 UTC

    Cody Pendant, how can you forget George Eliot and her comment about marriage (Middlemarch—considered by many as the greatest novel in the English language),

    "Marriage, which has been the bourne of so many narratives, is still a great beginning, as it was to Adam and Eve, who kept their honeymoon in Eden, but had their first little one among the thorns and thistles of the wilderness. It is still the beginning of the home epic—the gradual conquest or irremediable loss of that complete union which makes the advancing years a climax, and age the harvest of sweet memories in common."

    (Even music majors can read ;^)

    As to the OP, what makes great code?? Style, speed, brevity, cleverness, *or...*usefulness, practicality, applicability? George Eliot, Henry James, and others mentioned here, were some of the greatest technicians to ever take up the pen, but they also had tremendous insight into human nature, religion, the social condition, history, etc., and were able to communicate it persuasively.

    I love great code as much as the next monk (some of the answers I've gotten here at the Monastery have made me just smile and shake my head in amazement), but my clients never see it my code. They just want an intuitive interface that makes sense, gets the job done, and doesn't break the bank. Yes, well-written code helps to that end, but as in most disciplines there is always a balance of craft and artistry, of genius and pathos.

    We all strive to write the best code, but we also need to serve our users. Let's not let one get too far ahead of the other. I can never get it right, is it form follows function or function....

    Update: After I wrote this I got to thinking that there are times in both my design work and my coding that I do things for the sake of doing it right, even though the customer will never notice—like taking the time to kern the letters of a headline or tighten up the scope of some variables in a script. I guess we do some things simply because it's the right thing. I've heard it said that character is what you do when nobody's looking.

    "Don't ever take a fence down until you know the reason it was put up." G. K. Chesterton
Re^2: Looking for examples of well-written modules
by rdm (Hermit) on Aug 27, 2004 at 02:36 UTC

    It has to be said.

    If you want a truely meandering style no-one beats Edward Bulwer-Lytton, with his now infamous quote from Paul Clifford:
    "It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

    Now, as to the quality of that work...that is another matter.

    -Reality might not get out of Beta today. (O.Timas, "Bot")
      I think my quote from James still stands head and shoulders above those two examples.

      We're talking 932 characters, 165 words. George Eliot was positively monosyllabic in comparison.

      This is actually on-topic, because I used Lingua::EN::Sentence to parse the whole Gutenberg Edition of James' "The Golden Bowl" to find the longest sentence.

      I would happily re-write it in mock-Perl syntax, but after many readings, I still don't actually know where the clauses begin and end, let along what it actually means...

      =~y~b-v~a-z~s; print
Re^2: (OT) Looking for Lost Time
by pernod (Chaplain) on Aug 27, 2004 at 10:30 UTC
    Ah, but can we talk of modern literature without mentioning Marcel Proust? From the opening paragraph of Du côté de chez Swann.
    Je me demandais quelle heure il pouvait être; j'entendais le sifflement des trains qui, plus ou moins éloigné, comme le chant d'un oiseau dans une forêt, relevant les distances, me décrivait l'étendue de la campagne déserte où le voyageur se hâte vers la station prochaine; et le petit chemin qu'il suit va être gravé dans son souvenir par l'excitation qu'il doit à des lieux nouveaux, à des actes inaccoutumés, à la causerie récente et aux adieux sous la lampe étrangère qui le suivent encore dans le silence de la nuit, à la douceur prochaine du retour.
    The same passage in english from the english translation on gutenberg.
    I would ask myself what o'clock it could be; I could hear the whistling of trains, which, now nearer and now farther off, punctuating the distance like the note of a bird in a forest, shewed me in perspective the deserted countryside through which a traveller would be hurrying towards the nearest station: the path that he followed being fixed for ever in his memory by the general excitement due to being in a strange place, to doing unusual things, to the last words of conversation, to farewells exchanged beneath an unfamiliar lamp which echoed still in his ears amid the silence of the night; and to the delightful prospect of being once again at home.
    Now that's what i call meandering :)

    Mischief. Mayhem. Soap.

      I was about to bring up Marcel Proust myself, but you already did and with a good bilanguage quote, good job :)


Re^2: Looking for examples of well-written modules
by Anonymous Monk on Aug 27, 2004 at 14:47 UTC
    If you are looking for long sentences check Durrenmatt. He wrote a novel in 9 sentences. Each chapter is a sentence. Looks like a modules without functions. So maybe all discussion comes to how many functions (sentences) you have in a module (chapter), and how many interesting ideas (idioms) you have in a sentence. Objects maybe related to plots or characters (actors). Just my 2 cents
Re^2: Looking for examples of well-written modules
by qq (Hermit) on Aug 27, 2004 at 15:21 UTC
    The English Novel - pre 1912

    A fool and his fortune are soon married.

        -- J. Chassler

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