How is it that so many of your favorite English prose stylists wrote in other languages? Your number one pick is a translation! Is it the translator or Arenas you nominate? And Edgar Allen Poe, the sing-song man! The reason Poe is so popular in France (or was, anyway) was because they didn't have to read him in English. I don't doubt that Palace of the White Skunks had some great sentences, but I'm talking about consistent excellence throughout a work, not a few flashes in the dark.
Haha, no worries, man. You can append a (10) for attitude. I set out to fill KJ's rec request, but whenever I spot a chance for prose style rankings, OH SHIZ IT'S ON!
Rankings are absurd, but I love them, if only for their tendency to tease out gems like these: Great prose, in my opinion, evokes sensations through the sounds of the words, their subtle plays on meaning and connotation, and of course through their arrangement. Joyce, to me, is like listening to complete music; DFW is like listening to just a very loud, very impressive drum solo.
Also, this talk of consistency intrigues me. I can't quite picture it yet -- do you mean all these non-Joyces are like, failing at a grammatical level too often to be great? I find this doubly intriguing as Portrait is by design so inconsistent. Or at least shifting. (I remember it was your user name that actually alerted me to the exact point in the book that really made me sit up and take notice, prose-wise).
*throws smoke bomb*
** poof **
* vanishes *
Edited by noob in 89 - 3/30/12 at 2:05am