Yesterday, the Quote of the Day on my homepage was from Stephen King. No source was cited, but I suspect the sentence came from On Writing. Here's what SK says: "The road to hell is paved with adverbs." So what I'd like to know is, when did adverbs become evil?
I grew up reading a lot of 19th century writers: Poe, James, Melville, Hawthorne, Dickens. These guys used adverbs. Poe use a lot of adverbs. Some sentences in stories like "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" have four or five per sentence. James used them by the bundle. Were adverbs more benign in the 19th century? Or were they even then working their insidious evil and destroying the prose of the so-called "masters"?
I'm not questioning King. I'm just wondering. I thought maybe Hemingway was an adverb-free guy, but even stories like "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" and "The End of Something" use adverbs. So where and when did it begin? Who declared that adverbs were the spawn of Satan. Anybody know?