Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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October 30, 2011
favorite new word of the month?

quite possibly:


attributed to Rabelais

by Jean-Charles Monferran, herein

[Monferran fails to identify where in Gargantua and Pantagruel this word appears.

TiR's (ever pointless) research identifies its location as Book IV, chapter 15, which features an increasingly over the top, comic description of what might be called a punchup at a wedding:
But what harm had poor I done? cried Trudon, hiding his left eye with his kerchief, and showing his tabor cracked on one side; they were not satisfied with thus poaching, black and bluing, and morrambouzevezengouzequoquemorgasacbaquevezinemaffreliding my poor eyes, but they have also broke my harmless drum.

We are unsurprised to find that Bakhtin made some wonderfully perceptive observations about the passage:
This unbridled scene grows in impact: each actor gives an exaggerated description of his injury in incredibly long and complex orations. Rabelais chose the words they use not without calculation: they illustrate by various sounds the nature of the injury. The length and variety of the syllables render the number and the violence of the blows. When spoken, they cripple the organs of speech, like tongue twisters. Their very length and difficulty of pronunciation grow constantly with every participant in the game . . .

The word describing the degree of injuries
[here rendered as "maimanglescotchblemishdisfigurepunch"] also continues growing, it now contains more syllables, and the syllables present a greater variety.

See his Rabelais and His World, chapter 3.]