An opinion piece by Jane Gardam in today’s NY Times is pretty badly written, in my view (one paragraph begins “A single glove. The glove of a king. A 14th-century king. Chaucer’s king”), but that (sadly) is not particularly surprising. What astonished me was the following sentence, about Richard II’s glove:
The scrap of glove (How odd to wear gloves in your coffin. One wonders if everyone did.) was pushed into the cigarette box and has lain beneath the pavement round St. Martin in the Fields for all these years.
One can cram all sorts of things into parentheses, and I often do (as witness the first one above), but this immediately struck me as being beyond the pale; it consists of two extraneous sentences tossed in, and both the initial capital and the final period seem… not even wrong, I believe the phrase goes. (I myself, if I were to keep the wording, would punctuate it “The scrap of glove—how odd to wear gloves in your coffin; one wonders if everyone did—was pushed into the cigarette box.”) But, as always, I suspect myself of fuddy-duddyism and/or parochialism, so I ask the Varied Reader: does this sort of parenthesis seem acceptable to you? And are you aware of other published examples? It’s not the sort of thing you can easily google for.