Hi friends! I kind of wanted to talk today about a subject that’s a little controversial for some people, and that is purple prose. I’m sure we all love gorgeous passages, because I mean what other quotes are we supposed to mark in our notebooks while sobbing at one in the morning?
Well To Start With…What IS Purple Prose?
prose that is too elaborate or ornate.-Oxford Dictionary
Yet, the mere definition of “too elaborate” and “too ornate” is very subjective. My limits on what I’d consider to be purple prose is probably totally different from everyone else’s! I actually tend to adore books with prose that’s bordering on purple*! But for a lot of people, they simply can’t stand it.
*yeah, i’m shocked too. usually i have the attention span of a goldfish
“Only the ship is made of books, its sails thousands of overlapping pages, and the sea it floats upon is dark black ink.”-The Night Circus
Some Examples of Books With Beautiful Prose:
“There was a man who loved the moon, but whenever he tried to embrace her, she broke into a thousand pieces and left him drenched, with empty arms.”-Strange the dreamer
I haven’t read all of these but I’ve seen reviews and quotes! I think that for a lot of people, they believe that rich writing has a time and a place. There are some who would absolutely despise Blanca and Roja because the entire story is told like a dreamy fairy-tale, yet there are others who would love it for that quality alone.
“Every touch created colors she had never seen. Colors as soft as velvet and as sharp as sparks that turned into stars.”-Caraval
I want to use Caraval as an example for just a sec. I fell in love with how Garber painted portraits with words! But as I started reading more and more reviews, I quickly realized that not everyone felt the same way. The language is rich, sure, but also very nonsensical and overused. It didn’t bother me at all but it prevented so many people from being fully immersed in the story. Which brings me to my last point:
When Is Enough, Enough?
That’s something that I think only an individual can answer. Tell me down below how YOU feel about prose (purple or otherwise) and your favorite books with beautiful writing!