13 Jul 2012
You have obviously not read Elements of Style literatim, because if you did you would know that the authors very clearly, and at multiple points, note that it is not meant to be taken as law, but as a guide. White, who's sparse style is incredibly influential still, makes clear that the book is based on the principle of you have to know the rules first in order to break them (Hunter S. Thompson wrote out the entireity of the Great Gatsby before he developed his highly distinctive prose). The style recommended is not meant to be universally adopted, it is a foundation on which people can then move on from and build up their own personality; White says that the style is the man, and it should reflect the writer - hardly the creed of someone who wants to box literature into a limiting construction. But despite the clarity this is stated with, people still criticise it for advocating a genericising of writing, which is patently not the case if these same people would actually bother to read it literatim.