It’s tempting to dismiss Edgar Allan Poe: his theories were humbug, he did so much wrong, and what he did right, he made look easy. But we still read him. His images and lines often echo through my head.
Similar statements could be made about the melodramatic Dickens, the modifier-intoxicated H.P. Lovecraft. But Poe, Dickens and Lovecraft are not just read; they are loved. Many of their contemporaries who were (by every rule book) better writers, who did not regularly commit the most wretched of prose crimes — those upstanding literary citizens are gone, or at best embalmed in academic dissertations. Poe, Dickens and Lovecraft refuse to stay in the Hell their crimes against style deserve. They walk among us.
Moral: It’s more important to do some things right than to do nothing wrong.