Novelist John Banville in The Guardian: "Civilisation's greatest single invention is the sentence." [The rest of Banville's short statement is here.] While I don't subscribe to the young Wittgenstein's "picture theory" of language, in which every proposition is a picture of reality, as a writer, I have the strong sense that every sentence is a line thrown out into the world in order to retreive something of the real.Sometimes you catch something, sometimes you don't. But that doesn't quite catch it either; the sentence -- as opposed to the fragment, which is always self-referenmtial -- the sentence tries and fails. It is the pattern of those trials and errors that give us what access we have to the real.
Note: Cross-posted to Sharp Sand.