Wednesday, 13 June 2012

MrsM, logophile

There was great excitement this week when the Very Charming Scottish Academic introduced me to a new word. It is not street dialect (we all know my weakness for that) or geek talk (I also acknowledge that character flaw), prosopography is from the outer edge of specialist academic vocabulary and it rolls off the tongue impressively. I was enchanted but very regretful that I would never be able to slip it into everyday conversation.

As I lingered over the definition in wikipedia and thought sadly of the wasted years when I might have been able impress my family I was struck by a heart-stopping revelation...

I
was
reading
a
prosopographical
novel.

Oh yes...

I give you "The Cazalet Chronicles" by Elizabeth Jane Howard, a study of an extended family in the period immediately before the declaration of war in 1939 and then observing change through the war years. It is enjoyable and undemanding reading, perfect for cold summer evenings huddled under my Donegal blanket. Now that I can present it as "analysing the changing roles in society of particular status groups and assessing social mobility through family origins" I think I might treat myself to the next book in the series.

12 comments:

  1. Excellent word! I've never heard it before. But I read those books years ago and enjoyed them. Treat yourself!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a hard one to roll ...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Impressive word! I have confidence there must be a way to apply cake baking and tasting to this type of study....

    ReplyDelete
  4. I dare you...go on...give yourself a challenge...see if you can 'slip' it into a conversation...

    Great word!

    ReplyDelete
  5. With or without the chance to impress acquaintances with such a very splendid word , I'd definitely read the rest of the Cazalet books . Very enjoyable !

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great word, I "collect" the odd words. Reak the Cazelet Chronicles and enjoyed all the books.

    ReplyDelete
  7. That sounds like just the book I need... I am going to order it from the library right now.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Liz in Missouri (USA)June 13, 2012

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. AnonymousJune 13, 2012

    Nice word! I'm just watching "The secret history of our streets" on BBC2 and am wondering if this is an example of prosopography too. Fascinating program!

    ReplyDelete
  10. The Very Charming Scottish Academic responds that 'A Secret History of Our Streets' may be "a new historiographical method -- cartographical prosopography!"

    ReplyDelete
  11. Now that's slipping it into a conversation, yes?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you! I love reading your comments and even though I don't always have time to reply I am really grateful to every one who joins in the conversation.