Sunday Book-Thought 121

Writing, when properly managed, (as you may be sure I think mine is) is but a different name for conversation: As no one, who knows what he is about in good company, would venture to talk all; – so not author, who understands the just boundaries of decorum and good breeding, would presume to think all: The truest respect which you can pay to the reader’s understanding, is to halve this matter amicably, and leave him something to imagine, in his turn, as well as yourself.
For my own part, I am eternally paying him compliments of this kind, and do all that lies in my power to keep his imagination as busy as my own.
Laurence Sterne, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman, ed. by Melvyn New and Joan New (London: Penguin Books, 1997), p. 88.

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