Saturday, April 24, 2010

A noble synonym for fool

I am currently finishing work on a new translation of Gustave Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas. The book will be published by Oneworld Classics in October, and you can preorder your copy here.

It was only after his death that Flaubert's 'dictionary' - a compendium of lazy, received opinions that contributed, in his mind, to the bêtise of the French bourgeoisie - was discovered among his papers. Ploughing my way through this funny, sometimes maddening document has not been without its dangers; for as Flaubert himself discovered, to keep company with sloppy thinking is to be infected by it, to come face to face with one's own propensity for thinking and speaking in clichés. Like his novel, Bouvard and Pécuchet, the project of the Dictionary was unfinishable: for there are always new thought-turds to add to the midden heap of received opinions. And as we watch our media grappling with another general election, and grit our teeth at the platitudes that pass for political discourse, we could very well sit down and begin our own, 21st Century compendium...


Blogger Zamboozee said...

Pertaining, v. A direct observation on something relevant that is relating to current matters that is similar to what is actually occurring at the time, often being suitable to use in reference to something else completely different; a descriptive word often used with “to”, usually for a very good reason.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Zamboozee said...

Lexicographer, n. A mere literary drudge, a harmless individual; a person of some little sense trying to make better sense of words too plain to admit clear definition; a gifted literary scholar looking for meaning who is adept in the art of practical dissimulation around grammatical insecurities.

6:36 AM  
Blogger Zamboozee said...

we should all just as well sit down and begin our own, 21st Century compendium - yes we can! Because we could.

4:44 PM  

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