Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Slang and Poetry

Middlemarch really is full of fantastic epigrams. This one comes from the eleventh chapter:

"Are you beginning to dislike slang, then?" said Rosamond, with mild gravity.

"Only the wrong sort. All choice of words is slang. It marks a class."

"This is correct English: that is not slang."

"I beg your pardon: correct English is the slang of prigs who write history and essays. And the strongest slang of all is the slang of poets"

"You will say anything, Fred, to gain your point."

"Well, tell me whether it is slang or poetry to call an ox a leg-plaiter."

"Of course you can call it poetry if you like."

"Aha, Miss Rosy, you don't know Homer from slang. I shall invent a new game; I shall write bits of slang and poetry on slips, and give them to you to separate."

"Dear me, how amusing it is to hear young people talk!" said Mrs Vincy, with cheerful admiration.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Punctuation and a Lack of Red

From Chapter 8 in Middlemarch, concerning Casaubon:

'He has got no good red blood in his body,' said Sir James.

'No. Somebody put a drop under a magnifying glass, and it was all semi-colons and parentheses,' said Mrs Cadwallader.