In the Archaic Period prose is thought a bald and inelegant form of writing, suitable to business, history, technical writing, and such dull, matter-of-fact affairs. Artistic writing, for legends, stories, and things meant to be read for enjoyment, is done in verse. The writing of poetry is a common pastime for gentlefolk.

By the Classical Period study of rhetoric and dialectic (see scholastics) has revealed the existence of refined technique in prose, and prose fiction (in the form of the novel), has been invented by Aspasia and widely imitated.

In the Decadent Period prose writing is considered as sublime an art as versification, and several affected styles and strict forms are recognised. Ordinary, plain-speech, prose has fallen in regard, except among archaists and antiquaries who still admire the grace and clarity of the ‘golden age of prose’.

Copyright © 1991 by Brett Evill. All rights reserved.