What We Owe Christopher Hitchens.

Defend the Modern World

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I’ve recieved the accusation before that I am inspired by the literary style of the late Anglo-American journalist Christopher Hitchens. It’s possible to take this both as a great compliment and a sly insult. People (often Americans) can mean it as a way of saying ‘you write very well’. Others (often English) use it less kindly to mean ‘you aren’t original’, or ‘you’re a copycat’.

Either way, they are close to the mark but a little off. The greatest prose stylist in modern English letters is Martin Amis, Christopher Hitchens’ best friend. Whenever I’m looking to sharpen up my own style, I read a random book review written by Amis to remind myself of what perfection on a page looks like. I imagine Hitchens himself was greatly inspired by his lesser known friend and may have been subject to the occasional stylistic over-ruling by him.

But Amis will never be a big…

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