Pascal on composition

The last thing one discovers in composing a work is what to put first.

—Blaise Pascal

(Hat tip to Mary Catelli.)


  1. Very true. That’s how I always wrote papers — the intro paragraph comes after all the writing.

    (Of course, as Kipling reminds us, there are nine-and-sixty ways of constructing tribal lays, and every single one of them is right!

    • Of course, I don’t always do the things I post, particularly when the post is quoting someone else. For instance, my post last night was written almost exactly as it stands (with a few corrections); except that I started with the Orwell quotation, and added the Twain and Dalrymple later, when it became clear that I needed them to explain my case. In fact, I had planned to post the Orwell by itself as a ‘Quotha’, but felt the need to explain why I thought it was still important.

  2. Stephen K says

    I find that writing the introduction last makes it easier to look like I know what I’m doing.

Speak Your Mind