Monday, January 07, 2008

Two Looks at Two Books and Toulouse-Lautrec

poster for Eldorado, Aristide Bruant dans son Cabaret,
Henri Toulouse-Lautrec,
late 1890s.

1. The Disheveled Dictionary. A Curious Caper Through Our Sumptuous Lexicon. Karen Elizabeth Gordon. Mariner Books edition, 2003.

The pages provide appropriate meanings for select words, followed by examplars of delicious bonbon mots.

To wit:

a fine point of etiquette; precise observance of formalities; nicety, propriety.

We paid obeisance to the most fatuous punctilio, then betook ourselves to a raunchy roadhouse for faux pas, pig feet, fox trots, and frosted mugs of Guinness stout.

Gordon is the author of several other lexicons, of which the contents, I have no doubt, match the splendid, soi-disant sybarism of the titles. Among them The New Well-Tempered Sentence: A Punctuation Handbook for the Innocent, the Eager, and the Doomed; The Deluxe Transitive Vampire:The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed; Torn Wings and Faux Pas: A Flashbook of Style, A Beastly Guide Through the Writer's Labyrinth; Intimate Apparel: A Dictionary of the Senses, Out of the Loud Hound of Darkness: A Dictionarrative, and The Ravenous Muse.

2. The Vulgar Tongue. Buckish Slang and Pickpocket Eloquence. Francis Grose ( edited by Alastair Williams) Summerdale Publishers Ltd., 2004.

A valuable resource for those writing period fiction -- since the original by Grose, the first recognized dictionary of English slang, saw print in 1785.

Though like Amazon, the rankings change hourly, Sandra reported yesterday in comments that Weirdly: A Collection of Strange Stories (Tales) ranked # 8 in Anthologies in the P & E Reader Poll.

And Santa left me a red pouch of magnetic rocks and a gilded letter "B" of painted wood.


SzélsőFa said...

congratulations on the 8th place! even if it changes upwards :)

Bernita said...

Thank you, Szelsofa. The rank is much more likely to plummet downward!

Julie said...

I must change these glasses. I shall spend the rest of the afternoon chortling over the Deluxe Transvestite Vampire.

StarvingWriteNow said...

"The Vulgar Tongue".

Sounds like a historical murder mystery. Or maybe steamy erotica.

Maybe both. :)

raine said...

The Ultimate Handbook of Grammar for the Innocent, the Eager and the Doomed;

Okay, that just gave me a grin that'll last me for the rest of the day, lol!
(and congrats on the Amazon ranking--squeee!) :)

Bernita said...

Julie, with Gordon's luciously eccentric take on things, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find mention of one.

Does contain mysterious words, Starving.

Bernita said...

Not Amazon, Raine - just the Preds and Eds poll.

Amazon rank is not something I bother to check, though I imagine the book rests firmly somewhere in the hundred thousands.

Jaye Wells said...

Good news about the anthology!

You know I want that Deluxe Transitive Vampire book.

Vesper said...

Where do you find these great books, Bernita? :-)

Church Lady said...

Congratulations!! I didn't know it was on P&E--I will go vote!!

Josephine Damian said...

Bernita, thanks for turning me on to these books. They will also make great gifts for my writers group's 2oo8 X-Mas party- grab bag.

Bernita said...

Jaye, I think you would enjoy it!

Gifts from the Infants, Vesper.

Thank you, Chris.I didn't either until Sandra alerted me.

Josephine, the Vulgar Tongue is a practical tome, but The Disheveled Dictionary is a hoot!

BernardL said...

Let me know if your joints feel better after handling the magnetic rocks, Bernita. :)

raine said...

Not Amazon, Raine - just the Preds and Eds poll.

(on my way there, lol...)

Sam said...

Oooh - great dictionaries!!! Love the Vulgar Tongue - got to get me one of those! And congrats on the Pred and Ed poll - it's much fun!!

Bernita said...

I don't put any faith in that sort of "cure," Bernard.

Interesting lists,Raine.

Sam,from the introduction.
Quote: The Vulgar Tongue...presents us with a fascinating window on the lives of ordinary people at the end of the eighteenth century. Taking us from inns to houses of pleasure, from the races to the cock-fighting pit, Francis Grose captures a bawdy culture alive with its own rich language.

The Anti-Wife said...

Congrats on the placement in P&E. The books sound very interesting. Off to investigate!

Bernita said...

AW, here's another from The DD...
to make decorative additions to; to spiff up; as an intransitive verb, titivate means to gussy oneself up.
"The pied-a-terre she keep sin Rome includes a gigolo to press her pants, palpate her remote control, and titivate her terrazzo."

spyscribbler said...

Well-deserved with Weirdly! Congratulations!

ORION said...

Did someone say Touloose?
My mistake...

Bernita said...

Fame faint and fleeting, Natasha.

L'original, Pat.

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