Compare two snippets of prose. First: “Secluded by the shade of gauze and lace, the warm light of the lamp fell in a circle over the crimson velvet of the tablecloth, and … lit up the three china cups” (p. 62). Second: “The felt drapery embroidered with gold fell over a sheer curtain, filtering the light absorbed by the deep tone of the furniture's brocade, the opaque wood of the piano” (p. 63). Which is the opening of a modernist novel, and which comes from an advertisement for a nineteenth-century luxury goods store? In fact, the second is the advert, and the first is the novel, but it is hard to tell between them because the novel (like the advert) revels in the objects that it is describing, highlighting their interplay of textures in a vaguely mysterious interior space. And the advert...

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