Enquiry on the renewal of style


   No 1. The continuity of style is not compromised but assured by the perpetual renewal of style. There is a metaphysical reason for this, the explanation of which would make this response far too long.

   No 2. I do not "feel in the least bit sympathetic" (to use the same terms as your enquiry) to those writers who are "preoccupied by an originality of form". One's sole preoccupation should be for the impression or the idea being conveyed. One must look inward and force oneself to render with the greatest possible fidelity the interior model. Just one line added (to shine, or not to shine too much, to respond to a vain desire to amaze, or the childish wish to remain a "classic") is enough to compromise the success of the experience and the discovery of a law. It requires all one's strength to submit to reality, to succeed in giving the most apparently simple impression of the invisible world in the so different concrete world in which the inexpressible resolves itself in clear formulae.


This response to the enquiry "Sommes-nous en présence d'un renouvellement du style?" was published in La Renaissance, politique, littéraire, artistique 22 July 1922 and reprinted in Essais et articles.

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