September 7, 2013
So. You Think You Can Punctuate? The 19th Century in One (Very Long) Sentence)
Cushing Biggs Hassell who says, in passing, among many other things:
"... of the young members who, having no spiritual life, cannot partake of spiritual food, and for the raising of money for pretended religious purposes—such as strawberry and ice-cream festivals, oyster suppers, concerts, burlesque hymns, comic songs, amateur theatricals, Sunday School excursions, and picnics, and banners, and emblems, Christmas trees, Easter cards, charity balls, and " church fairs" (with their rafflings or gamblings), rightly termed " abysses of horrors," mingling* sham trade with sham charity, obtaining money under false pretenses, teaching the selfish and thoughtless patrons how to be " benevolent without benevolence, charitable without charity, devout without devotion, how to give without giving and to be paid for ' doing good'..."
Got it? Now try the whole sentence on for size: Running On from Futility Closet
Cushing Biggs Hassell’s thousand-page History of the Church of God (1886) is notable for a single sentence — this one, on page 580, beginning “The nineteenth is the century …” It’s six pages long, with 3,153 words, 360 commas, 86 semicolons, and six footnotes. Many regard it as the longest legitimate sentence ever written in a book.
Weak minds would just give you the link to History of the church of God @ Google Books. But we are not that forgiving. We're giving you the whole enchilada. Take a deep, a very deep, breath.
"The nineteenth is the century of the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, in a long series of bloody and demoralizing European wars ; the dismemberment of the Turkish Empire by the Greek Revolution, and of the Spanish Empire by that of Mexico and South America; the repeated revolutions in France; the War of 1813 between England and the United States; the War between the United States and Mexico; the War between the Northern and Southern States of the American Union; the unification of Germany, and that of Italy; the numerous wars of England the most warlike, self-aggrandizing, wealthy and powerful nation of modern times), for the maintenance and increase of her empire and claims, -among which contest* should be particularized her wars in 1839-1842, to force the impious opium trade, and missions incidentally, upon China—in 1840, with her allies, to re-conquer Syria for the Turks from a rebellious vassal, just as England has repeatedly upheld the Turks in their frightful and wholesale massacres of "Christians" in the Turkish Empire and Asiatic provinces—in 1854-6, in connection with France and Sardinia, to defend Turkey from Russia—in 1857, to preserve her dominion in India from the Sepoy rebellion—in 1857-1860, to open China better to trade and missions—and in 1883, to take possession of Egypt, and foreclose, at the mouth of cannon and rifle, her mortgage on that abject and impoverished people, and to defend her shares in the Suez Canal and her shortest route to India; the course of England, during recent years, in forcing, by her fleets and treaties, the wretched liquor traffic upon India, Shun, Madagascar, Griqualand, etc., degrading the heathens far below their former ■condition, in order to increase her revenue; the apparent and temporary recognition, by the European nations, of a special and merciful and almighty Providence in staying the victorious career of Napoleon Bonaparte, followed by their speedy relapse into infidelity; the almost universal emancipation of slaves, and the very extensive liberation of civilized peoples from political oppression; the improvement of the manners of general society—less open indecency, intemperance, profanity and dueling; the milder character of legislation; the increase of charities and asylums for the afflicted and unfortunate; the great extension of popular education; the unprecedented progress of scientific discoveries and practical inventions, lightening physical labor, and multiplying the conveniences, comforts and luxuries of life; the discovery and mining of gold in California and Australia; the establishment of manufactures, and great increase of commerce, and excessive devotion to business and money-getting; the rapid increase of wealth, and pauperism, and demoralization, and, in most civilized countries, of recent crime; morbid sympathy for and condoning of wrong-doing; the general prevalence of quackery, puffery and dishonesty; unparalleled adulterations of foods, and drinks and medicines; the increased licentiousness of theatrical performances ; the great increase of gambling in old and new forms, including speculation in grain and cotton futures; the gradual but steady decay of the appreciation of the life-long sacredness of the marriage relation, the relaxation of the laws of divorce, and the alarming multiplication of divorces and of " consecutive polygamy " (the New England States of the Union occupying a miserable pre-eminence, and Protestant countries far surpassing Roman Catholic countries, in this corrupting disregard of the Divine law of marriage); the increasing frequency of feticide, in place of infanticide practiced by the Pagans; the recent increasing corruption of the daily press, in the large cities, and of the use of the telegraph, expatiating upon all the details of crime, and thus helping to make crime epidemic; the infidel tendency of a large body of periodical literature and of science falsely so called; the impurity and corrupting influence of much of modern art; the fact that the nations of Europe spend, on an average, four and a half times more for war than for education—that England spends about twenty dollars per year for every man, woman and child, for spirituous liquors, and that the United States spends about seventeen dollars annually per capita for the same purpose, while spending for each inhabitant only about one dollar annually for religion and about two dollars for education ;* the great increase of insanity and idiocy ; the disruption of the Roman Catholic communion (the Old Catholics, in Europe, seceding in 1870)—the Episcopalian (the Reformed branch, in the United States, going off in 1873)—the Presbyterian (the Cumberland or Arminian Presbyterians, in the western and southwestern States of the Union, withdrawing from their Calvinistic brethren in 1810; the Free Church, in Scotland, from the Established Church, in 1843; the New School, in the United States, separating from the Old School in 1837, but re-uniting in 1860; and the Southern separating from the Northern in 1861)—the Baptist (the Old School, in the United States, separating from the New School in 1828-43 ; and the New School separating into Northern and Southern in 1845; the Strict Baptists, in England, separating from the Particular Baptists in 1835)—the Methodist (dividing into about a dozen sects; and, in the United States, separating into Northern and Southern in 1844)—and the Society of Friends (some Quakers, in Ireland, becoming heterodox in 1813; and the Hicksite, in the United States, withdrawing from the old Orthodox Quakers in 1827); a very extensive decay of their ancient faith among Jews, Brahmins, Buddhists, Mohammedans and Protestants (the latter almost universally abandoning their original Calvinism for Catholic Arminianism, and many going off even into Pelagianism and Universalism); the decayed and deadened condition of Greek Catholicism ; the rigorous revival and blasphemous culmination of Koman Catholicism (Ultramontauism), regaining a significance and influence such as it had not had for centuries (the deadly wound being healed), in the re-establishment of Jesuitism and the Inquisition (1814)—the murder of hundred female and nearly two thousand male Protestants in Southern France (1815)—the re-invigoration of the Propaganda Society (1817)—the founding of the Lyons Propagation Society (1822) and of numerous Colleges and Theological Seminaries—the renewed ardor of a large number of old Catholic Societies—the purchase, by the "Society for the Holy Childhood of Jesus," of about 400,000 Chinese orphan children, at about three cents apiece, in order to bring up and *' baptize " them in the Catholic communion, and the purchase of numerous pretended conversions from the lower classes of Protestants in Europe —the gathering in of thousands from the Episcopalians in England, and the very rapid increase of their numbers, in the United States, from immigration—the sending out of three thousand priests on foreign mission work, disseminating, among the heathens, the most corrupting Jesuitical casuistry and idolatry in the name of Christianity, and, at times, especially in remote islands, the most shameless French licentiousness, worse than that previously practiced by the heathens themselves— the affirmation, by Pope Pius IX., in 1854, of the sinlessness (Immaculate conception) of the Virgin Mary, "the Mother of Got!, and the Queen of Heaven" (thus still more than ever justifying and encouraging the increasing Roman Catholic Mariolatry, or idolatrous worship of Mary, to whom are addressed numerous prayers, beseeching her to persuade or command her son Jesus to grant the petitions of the suppliants)—the issuance by the same pope, in 1864, of the " Syllabus of Errors," claiming still the " Church's" poirer to use temporal force, and denouncing non-Catholic schools and the separation of Church and State—the declaration of the Vatican Council, July 18th, 1870. in the midst of a terrific tempest of black clouds and incessant lightning flash and thunder peal, of the Infallibility Of The Pope (thus making him God on earth, the last Supreme Judge of the human race in all questions of faith and Moral*, from whose decision no one can deviate without loss of salratio*—see 3 These, ii. 8, 4), followed, in speedy Divine retribution, the very next day, July 19th. 1870, by the declaration of war against Germany by Napoleon III., the political supporter of the papacy, which contest in two months destroyed the Empire of France and the temporal power of the pope—and the Encyclical Letter of Pope Leo XIII., Nov. 1st, 1885, " De Civitatum Gubernatione Christiana" (Concerning the Christian Government of States), enjoining upon all Catholics to devote all their energies to influence and control the politics of the world, and to remodel all States and Constitutions upon Catholic principles (and thus carry the world back to the midnight of the Dark Ages, and to the essentially political, as well as to the essentially formal, legal, ceremonial and conditional, religion of Pagan Rome, and to unspiritualize and corrupt Christ's professing kingdom by making it a kingdom of this world); the appearance of fresh proof that God has a people even in Roman Catholicism, or Mystical Babylon (out of whose fellowship He calls them to come, Revelation xviii. 4), in the existence of true spiritual religion among a few Catholics of South Germany, leading them to feel the worthlessness of empty pomp and ceremony, the sinfulness and helplessness of man, his absolute dependence on the mercy of God, and need of an inward union with Christ through repentance and faith, provoking far more bitter hatred and persecution than even-infidelity provokes from the bigoted followers of the pope—and in the existence of similar humble spirituality, looking beyond all creatures to God, and lovingly serving and spontaneously and cheerfully praising Him in the midst of life-long privations and sufferings, among some of the aged, poor and ignorant Catholics of Ireland, grievously oppressed by their English lords;* the remarkable outpouring of the Divine Spirit, in the first years of the century, upon England and the United States, and large in-gatherings into the Protestant communions; the vast increase of the profession, in recent years, without the evident possession, of Christianity (more members having been added to the "churches" in this century, chiefly since 1850, than their entire number of members at its beginning), especially the deceiving and gathering in of large numbers of the young, particularly young females, by Sunday Schools, and by preaching loose doctrine or no doctrine, and by other myriad human means and machinery (often conducted by so-called "evangelists" at a stipulated price of from $25 to $300 per week), protracted and distracted meetings, perversions of Scripture, fabulous stories, anxious seats, mourners' benches, affecting tunes, sobs, sighs, groans, convulsions, human resolutions, handshaking, etc., etc., etc.; the secularization or worldly assimilation of the professing " church;" the substitution of money-based societies for the church of God, and of human learning and human boards for the Spirit of God ; the old characteristically and essentially Jesuitical principle of systematically indoctrinating the minds of the young with false* religion, sifting nearly the whole juvenile population through the " Sabbath School," substituting the feeble and humanly-devised influence of the " Sabbath School" teacher for the potent and scripturally-enjoined influence of the home and the church, and resulting, in a large proportion of instances, according to the most recent and extensive and reliable investigations, in filling the youthful mind with irreverent religionism and hatred of the Bible and the church ;t the establishing or getting control of seminaries, colleges and universities for the same proselyting purposes, (Protestants, in this as in numerous other matters, merely copying the old Catholic methods); the vile character of much of the fiction found in " Sabbath School" libraries ; theatrical preaching, greeted with laughter and applause ; the great increase of hireling " shepherds," who, instead of feeding the flock, feed themselves upon the flock, caring not for the sheep(whom they hasten to leave at any time for a larger price elsewhere), and lording it over the flock for filthy lucre's sake (Ezek. xxiv ; John x; Acts xx. 33-85; 1 Peter v. 2, 3); the multiplication of almost all species of worldly amusements in connection with the so-called " churches," for the entertainment and retention of the young members who, having no spiritual life, cannot partake of spiritual food, and for the raising of money for pretended religious purposes—such as strawberry and ice-cream festivals, oyster suppers, concerts, burlesque hymns, comic songs, amateur theatricals, Sunday School excursions, and picnics, and banners, and emblems, Christmas trees, Easter cards, charity balls, and " church fairs" (with their rafflings or gambling), rightly termed " abysses of horrors," mingling* sham trade with sham charity, obtaining money under false pretenses, teaching the selfish and thoughtless patrons how to be " benevolent without benevolence, charitable without charity, devout without devotion, how to give without giving and to be paid for ' doing good,' "—thus attempting to serve God and mammon, and turning what is claimed to be God's house of prayer into a house of merchandise and a den of thieves, and loudly calling for the Master's scourge to cleanse the temple of its. defilements (Jews, Catholics and Protestants, all practicing these abominations); the increasing tendency, as in the latter part of the Dark Ages, under the teachings of the Pope of Rome, to reduce all the commandments, to one, Give Gold, as though this were the one thing needful, and every thing else were of no value, for the salvation of the soul ;* the almost universal tendency of people to try to pull the mote out of other people's eyes, and not to think of the beam in their own eyes—to busy themselves chiefly with the means and ways of morally improving others, without beginning with their own moral improvement, resulting in extravagances and abortions; the exhuming and deciphering of the ancient monumental records of Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia, all tending to illustrate and! confirm, in the most wonderful manner, the exact truthfulness of the Old Testament Scriptures, at a time when such a confirmation seems most needed by an unbelieving world; many new translations of the Scriptures; into the languages of both civilized and uncivilized peoples; the union of the Lutheran and the Reformed " Churches," in Prussia, at the command of the king, into the " Evangelical Church," and the revival of " Old Lutheranism " there ; the Tractarian or Anglo-Catholic movement in the "Church of England," resulting in Ritualism, Romanism and Skepticism; the formation of the Broad-Church (hi addition to the High-Church and the Low-Church) party, in the " Church of England "—" so broad that you cannot see across it," says Mr. John Gadsby, of London—" the Church of England," says Mr. A. V. G. Allen, of Cambridge, Mass., " thus remaining open to all the tides of thought and spiritual life which have swept over the nation, and thus able to retain in its folds those whom no other form of organized Christianity could tolerate ;" the appearance, in 1880, of the rationalistic " Essays and Reviews," written by seven Oxford Episcopalian teachers, and, in 1862, of " Bishop" Colenso's " Investigations of the Pentateuch and Joshua," assailing the authenticity and credibility of those Scriptures with the antiquated or surrendered arguments long current in Germany, and the acquittal of the charge of heresy, both of the Essayists and of Colenso, by the Privy Council, the highest ecclesiastical court in England ; the disestablishment of the Episcopal " Church " in Ireland in 1869, with its prospective disestablishment in England also, before the lapse of many years; the reunion, in 1846, of Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, New School Baptists Methodists, Moravians, and other Trinitarian Protestants, of all countries, in an " Evangelical Alliance " (significantly apostrophized by Krummacher, in his address of welcome, " 0 heart-stirring mirage!"), on a doctrinal basis of Nine Articles, the chief object avowed being to oppose the progress of the papacy and of more than half-popish Puseyism ; the union of nearly all Protestants in other Societies, Associations, Diets, Councils, Committees and Conferences; the organization and operation of large numbers of Bible, Tract, Missionary, Abstinence and Relief Societies, and of the so called " Salvation Army," with its eccentricities, profanities and delusions ; the gathering of about two million communicants into the Protestant " churches " from heathen lands; the continued home and foreign missionary zeal of the Moravians, which began in 1732,—" accomplishing," it is said, " the most extraordinary results with the fewest means," trusting in the providence of God, choosing the poor and humble fields (not of India and China, but) of Greenland, Labrador, the West Indies, South Africa and Australia, and heroically doing rough work which others would not touch; the obliteration of almost all distinctions between the various Protestant " churches;" the cloaking of the shallowest unbelief under the popular assertions that there should be no doctrine, no creed, no church, but perfect liberty in all these matters; the notion that self-styled sincerity, no matter what one believes, any religion or no religion, is all that is necessary for salvation; the doubt, suppression or denial, by the most of Protestants, of many of the vital truths of Christianity ; a diminished sense of sin, and a fainter conviction of the indispensability of the atoning blood of the Son of God and of the regenerating power of the Spirit of God; the Pharisaic principle of transforming religion from a saving inward reality into a vain-glorious outward show ; the general contempt and abuse of revealed religion ; a disbelief in the special providence of God extending to all the events of human life ; a disbelief in the literal, verbal, plenary inspiration of the Scriptures—this species of infidelity permeating, more or less, nearly all the Protestant " churches," unblushingly avowed by their most recent and authoritative writers, and in reality degrading the Scriptures to the level of all other books, containing a mixture of mistakes and errors, which it is left for the reader to discriminate, accepting what he pleases, and rejecting what he pleases ; the stigmatizing of those who adhere to the old unpopular doctrinal truths proclaimed by the prophets and by Christ and his Apostles, as being " a hundred years behind the times,'" and as applying the principles of the cold understanding to the language of emotion and imagination, and too literally deducing doctrines from bold types and metaphors, while at the same time the objectors admit that the old system of doctrine is made out fairly and logically enough, but too rigidly, from the language of the Scriptures; the steadfast and immovable adherence of "a very small remnant according to the election of grace" to original apostolic principles and practices (Isaiah i. 9; Rom. xi. 5), in the face of continual blasts of tin-popularity, ridicule, slander, contempt and persecution (Matthew v. 10-12; Rom. iii. 8; Acts xxviii. 28)—only those who have eyes to see being able to discern the unworldly and spiritual motives of these despised and calumniated servants of the Most High God; the rise (or revival) of Universalism, Unitarianism, Naturalism, Anti-Supeniaturalism, spiritualism, doctrinalism, Superficial ism, Moralism, Philosophism, Transcendentalism, Paganism, Pantheism, Humanitarianism, Liberalism, Neologism, Campbellism, Irvingism, Darbyism, Puseyism, Mormonism, Millerism, Winebrennerianism, Two-Seedism, Psychopannychism, Non-Resurrectionism, Annihilationism, Universal Restorationism, Pseudo-Spiritualism, Utilitarianism, Rationalism, Pelagianism, Scientism, Agnosticism, Omniscienceism, Presumptuousism, Stoicism, Materialism, Evolutionism, Fatalism, Atheism, Optimism, Pessimism, Socialism, Communism, Libertinism, Red Republicanism, Internationalism, Nihilism, Destructionism, DynaTiiitism, Atrocicism and Anarchism."
Admit it. You just scrolled to the bottom, didn't you?
Posted by Vanderleun at September 7, 2013 9:11 AM
I DID scroll to the bottom. But I also thought perhaps I should copy and paste it into another document, to see if I could re-punctuate it for my own reading pleasure and comprehension. Then I talked myself out of it.
I confess. I scrolled down, too. And almost wore out the wheeel on my mouse.
I know I am also guilty (occasionally) of using commas very freely.
But gee whiz, y'all, this guy has to be admired. After all, it is not easy to eccentric in this day and age.
Ayup, that's one very long sentence.
Now, who wants to diagram it?
Anyone? Mr. Opsasnik? Anyone? Anyone?
[/Ferris Bueller's Day Off]
Yes, I'm not ashamed to say I scrolled. Once the eyes start glazing over, down I go.
For all the litany of complaints, it seems that even in the nineteenth century, mankind was mankind.
Puseyism, ... Two-Seedism, Psychopannychism...
I agree! Damn it, but I do hate puseyists, Two-seedists, and those miserable good for nothing Psychopannychists. They just piss me off to no end.
(especially the Two-seedists)
Other than the foregoing, he has no opinion about it.
I adore long complex sentences and have been quietly proud of some of my own. All gone now, alas; it is apparent I am but a teetering baby unable even to comprehend the marathon works of her betters. Drat you, Gerard, for this enlightenment!
Tell you what, it was a dark and stormy night when this motherfucker sat down to deliver his thoughts.
Nineteenth century style and all, though (and the egregious level of typographical error aside,) he pretty much nailed it, didn't he?
Okay, I'm bowdlerbastardifying this, but hell's bells....let us digress:
My lieges, and madames, to expostulate obstreperously
What majesty should be, what duty is, nay, the obligation of obligesses obladee or obladah, oblige me, for a hey nonny nonny nanosecond, while I palaver the point in excessive blatherful verbiscosity.
What day is day, night night, it rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry, and time is time, which keeps on ticking ticking ticking, into the future,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time; which I previously mentioned in great length heretofore, and therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief. You, Gerard, are mad.
But if I hadn't scrolled to the bottom, I wouldn't have found this near the bottom:
They had IT guys back then? And they had a religion?
Dear Mr. Vanderleun: In an effort to raise the tone of this discussion, which has gotten much too facetious, I have emailed this sentence to Jon Favreau Look for the level of The One's speeches to follow soon.
Yes, I scrolled...and laughed when I read Gregory Koster's comments. I had the same thought, and will be looking forward to another 17 minute speech at the next q&a, only this time it will be only one sentence. Now to go back and try to read this...darn you Gerard.
Scrolled down, then back up and kind of sort of read it. I started to think it started in the nineteenth and ended up in the twenty first.
I would have finished scrolling all the way to the bottom but the wheel on my mouse overheated.
Lots of typos as you got further on. I liked "Koman Catholicism" and "Ultramontauism". I was also fond of "the Mother of Got!" and "poirer" for power. :)
On the whole, it's a very shrewd review of the 19th century, although I would dispute a good many individual points in it.
The typos arise from Google Book Scanning translating into misconstrued characters not from the book itself.
Uh ... no [strike]comma[/strike] comment. Heck, I've done entire blog posts in twenty-five words or less. Much to the gratitude of whoever blundered across my site on their way to soup recipes I imagine.
if you squint you can see the intended formatting.
That's one criticism my writing gets, and its a somewhat valid point. My style is somewhat old, I'm the anti-Elmore Leonard. I tend to have complex, nested sentences with multiple concepts pulled together into a single idea stated in a single sentence. These days that's a bit challenging for some folks to read, particularly younger ones.
You been reading any John Owen lately? My wife can tell when I'm doing so because even my spoken sentences get longer.
One of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' books is constructed with a single sentence for each chapter. I don't remember which one and I have given away my collection.
Yeah John Owen was the king of gigantic sentences, all those puritans were. Takes some reading but boy can they pack a lot in a small space. Every time I read those guys I feel like an idiot, such a poor education compared to what they got.
I can't brain enough for that in 1 day
"Be lucid, but spare me the details" ~ Joseph Conrad