Wednesday, January 21, 2009

heavy books

Some loot was charted home last Saturday from C’s goodbye party. I scored a beetle earring, a length of Maasai copper, and a one-volume Columbia Encyclopedia (I like to take an encyclopedia to bed with me) and a 1940s Webster’s Encyclopedic Dictionary, A Library of Essential Knowledge, which includes a Pictorial Cyclopedia of Nature, samples above and below, and special section on “war words and phrases,” Ack-ack to Zero hour. I just happened to open to this definition of merlin: “a courageous species of hawk about the size of a blackbird.” Anthropomorphism raises its ugly head. The Webster’s is foxed as all hell, but I think I may have some uses for it.

5 comments:

knithound brooklyn said...

so the Birds of Prey and the Wildflowers would likely be my favorite parts of that book.

amarilla said...

I'm wondering what it is about anthropmorphism that raises your hackles so much. Is it the presumption of it, the fact that before people have taken the time to study a critter we've already thrown our values onto it? Is it better if we do this to inanimate objects so the line's not so easily blurred? Does it annoy you to hear the passive aggressive salt shaker or the impatient clock discussed?

BTW, today the random word generating elves have given me "fainged." BTWBTW I'm sorry your friend moved.

M.Thew said...

K: There are also Butterflies and Moths, American Conifers, Flowering Trees and Shrubs, as well as several other full-page color delights.

A:“Courageous” is a fine epithet, but in the same tome we have it’s opposite, the (Eurasian) kestrel, which is described as a “mean or base hawk.” Such thinking used to lead to indiscriminate slaughter of raptors, shooterboys not knowing their hawks from their handsaws.

amarilla said...

Thanks so much for the additional detail, very helpful.

apt pupil said...

SO glad to know who has that earring and stuff.