Thursday, July 31, 2008

The one that got away

I wish I could go back and re-edit one of the major papers from my M.A.

Just the other day I was thinking about 'real' words (no doubt because of some recent posts on LL) and I remembered a comment by a fine professor in the margin of my paper in which I investigated Virginia Woolf's commentary on ostracization and her use of Greek as a tool of inclusion intrusion and transcendence to the unobtainable.

Dr J-G wrote "I don't find enamoration in the dictionary" and suggested a word like enamourment instead.

And I just rolled over. I guess I wanted her to stamp her OK on the paper and send me on my way.

But enamoration was so much better! And in a paper that's all about daring to speak in ways that aren't expected or common and to say things that are not approved by existing systems I was supposed to say 'I don't want to pick a word that that meets your approval to indicate a state of rapture. I can't help but resist you.'

But I could have even used her argument against her. Enamoration is in the OED. And it falls under a headword with that gorgeous and the lovely Obs. rare tag. And it is defined simply as ecstacy of love. Oh I wish I had stuck with it. It was a paper that began with And as the first word of an interrogative sentence. I began with a presumptuous demand for an eely answer.

And yet I was unwilling to take either approach: to argue that the word was sanctioned by the OED; or (more romantically) stick with my word because I wanted to use it and it worked.

Plus those four nasals in enamourment are so klutzy.


  1. Hear, hear, for archaic and Obs. rare.

  2. For what it's worth, looks like they cleared my blog in less than 24 hours.

  3. Enamourment is an ugly word. Plus, it sounds more like a result than a state.

    But my position is that if you use productive affixes you have indeed used a "word".


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