Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I finished The Bones of Avalon.  I don't usually go for historical novels, but I love Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins series.  So I was waiting for the next one to come, and instead out came The Bones of Avalon.  I did enjoy it.  It had many of the same themes as the Merrily Watkins series: mysticism, murder, church politics.  It takes place in Elizabethan times, but Rickman only slightly antiqued his language.  In his afterword he thanks various linguists for their advice which he ended up mostly not taking since, "a strict adherence to Elizabethan written structures and terminology would only have made it sound stilted in ways it never would have been at the time."  Fair enough.  He has a great talent for taking masses of material and making it into a riveting story

Speaking of stilted language, I was thinking about the pronoun thou, which is no longer used by most speakers of English, but which used to be the informal form of you--the form you'd use for family, close friends, or people you were insulting.  Nowadays we mostly hear it used in prayers and hymns, so that it has formal, exalted associations.   That's why The Philadelphia Story had this scene between Macaulay Connor (Jimmy Stewart) and a Quaker Librarian

Librarian: What is thee wish?
Macaulay Connor: I'm looking for some local b - what'd you say?
Librarian: What is thee wish?
Macaulay Connor: Um, local biography or history.
Librarian: If thee will consult with my colleague in there.
Macaulay Connor: Mm-hm. Dost thou have a washroom?
[the librarian points]
Macaulay Connor: Thank thee

It's hilarious to use a holy, exalted word in the same sentence with washroom--at least from the Judeo-Christian viewpoint.

In other news, we had pizza for lunch in the office today.

I think this must be a magic mushroom pizza.

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