Published in: on September 1, 2012 at 9:25 am  Comments (2)  


MR. WILLIAM CAXTON, the first English printer, wrote in the preface to his English retelling of the Aeneid that he had written the tale to be understood, not to flaunt his vocabulary. The spelling and punctuation have been modernized, but the words are otherwise as Caxton wrote them.

And that common English that is spoken in one shire varieth from another. Insomuch that in my days happened that certain merchants were in a ship in Thames for to have sailed over the sea into Zealand, and for lack of wind, they tarried at Foreland, and went to land for to refresh them. And one of them named Sheffield, a mercer, came into an house and asked for meat; and specially he asked after eggs. And the goodwife answered that she could speak no French. And the merchant was angry, for he also could speak no French, but would have had eggs, and she understood him not.

And then at last another said that he would have eyren. Then the goodwife said that she understood him well.

Lo, what should a man in these days now write—“eggs” or “eyren”? Certainly it is hard to please every man because of diversity and change of language. For in these days every man that is in any reputation in his country will utter his communication and matters in such manners and terms that few men shall understand them. And some honest and great clerks have been with me, and desired me to write the most curious terms that I could find.

And thus between plain rude and curious, I stand abashed. But in my judgment, the common terms that be daily used be lighter to be understood than the old and ancient English.

Published in: on August 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  


Published in: on August 23, 2012 at 9:31 pm  Comments (2)  


Published in: on August 20, 2012 at 11:32 am  Comments (1)  


THE FORM OF literature commonly called “spam” is rich with unintended poetry, and we make no apology for quoting some of the more colorful expressions that, regrettably, we must exclude from the normal run of comments.

After I read and think of after, I think this is the best today I see articles although no gorgeous language, but expression of incisively and vividly, make me with an endless aftertaste. Thank the authors share, I will continue to focus on.

Focus on, dear reader, and perhaps Dr. Boli will focus with you for a while.

Ha ha, luck is too great, actually let I met such a good article, heart is very happy, I seriously read this article and article really feel is good, the article central thought gripping content, write very exciting.

There is nothing more gratifying to an author than to know that his readers have seriously read his articles, and that his writing has made their hearts very happy.

The writing is really too good, can use the classic two words describe this article, the article structure very logical line, I am happy to meet such a good article. I hope the author continue to issue other better articles ah.

Ah, indeed! Which words, by the way, are the classic two words? Any number of pairs of words have occurred to Dr. Boli, but he does not believe he has hit on the specific pair his correspondent had in mind.

I am very happy, because this is the article I’ve met today! The article content and people are closely related, very impressive, convincing very strong ah, I will continue to focus on such articles, expect better articles.

So many of our correspondents sighing “ah!” in obvious delight! It is nearly enough to turn one’s head.

What a good article ah, the story is very moving, even I the person of stone eldest brother also cannot help but nose under the tears, and I was going to tell others, let them know that once had a such a touching story. I really like the author’s writing technique.

Dr. Boli is sure this was meant to be flattering, although he cannot help imagining the “person of stone” as intoning “Don Giovanni!” in a deep and penetrating bass. Still, there are times when one must simply nose under one’s tears and go on.

Whenever I have what not happy or want, I always see your articles, will let me end down, your article is just like one of my close friends, when I have trouble or things, always can let me find the solution.

Dr. Boli would like it known that he disclaims all responsibility for letting anyone’s end down.

At the network’s I wandered. By chance after your web site, read your post. Very fruitful, thank you for sharing. On the Internet, it is hard to find useful information. Thank you.

At first Dr. Boli thought he might be reading a retranslated version of a poem by Robert Frost, but he lost the thread of the symbolism about halfway through.

Wow, this blog good ah, the layout is very good, very logical. I think there will be a lot of readers like reading. Very often update, and I will also continue to will pay more attention to, are looking forward to the next issue of the blog oh.

Not only an “ah,” but an “oh” as well! If our correspondent will not refuse a little advice on punctuation, adding two commas would make the second sentence clearer: “I think there will be a lot of readers, like, reading.”

The real life rich possession in the quiet. The life of a quiet life, disorientation, forget self, only muddle their fancy led by the nose.

This is a wonderful thing, such as life, and perhaps today’s brutal brutal tomorrow, but the day after tomorrow there will always be the sun.

Here we have two correspondents attempting profundity. We hope they did not hurt themselves.

We are not perfect, but we have to accept imperfect. Learn to love yourself, spoil yourself, to make their own independent.

In the immortal words of Groucho Marx, “I think you’ve got something there, and I’ll wait outside till you clean it up.”

Published in: on August 19, 2012 at 12:10 pm  Comments (4)  




The book may be found on Google Books or Project Gutenberg.

Published in: on August 16, 2012 at 9:29 pm  Comments (5)  


Published in: on August 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm  Comments (1)  


SINCE WE HAVE been speaking of academic literary criticism lately, it may be useful to include this brief glossary for the sake of those who do not spend their days behind the gates of the university English department.

Bourgeois. Having to do with what the critic assumes are the thoughts and beliefs of people who are ignorant of or reject current fashions in literary criticism. It should be noted by linguistic conservationists that academic literary criticism is the very last refuge of this term in the English-speaking world.

Criticism. The art of separating the bourgeois from the transgressive.

Gendered. Making a conventional distinction between male and female. A novel or other text that overturns bourgeois assumptions about gender is transgressive and therefore good. One way of challenging the gendered nature of bourgeois society is to write a female character with thoughts of her own, since academic literary critics believe that no one but academic literary critics has discovered that women have thoughts.

Masculinity. A collective term for all the stupid stuff guys do.

Simplistic. Failing to find what is transgressive in a text. If one critic finds a text to be simply bourgeois, another may reject that criticism as simplistic. This generally leads to blows.

Text. Anything with words in it: a novel, poem, grocery list, bar tab, patent-medicine broadside, etc. For the purpose of literary criticism, all texts are more or less equal, and the duty of the critic is to determine whether the text is bourgeois or transgressive.

Transgressive. Not bourgeois. That which is transgressive defies, in some subtle way, what the critic perceives as the ordinary mores or assumptions of the era in which it was written. To say that a text is transgressive is the highest compliment a critic can pay to it. Most texts, with sufficient critical labor, can be found to be transgressive, since no one with enough brains to form letters with a pen actually harbors the thoughts that academic literary critics assign to the bourgeois.

Published in: on August 5, 2012 at 10:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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Title page of the Tauchnitz edition, published the same year as the first London edition.

THE ANSWER TO yesterday’s literary puzzle: East Lynne, by Mrs. Henry Wood, one of the most popular novels of the nineteenth century.

The book is very easy to find on line, though ambitious graduate students will be disappointed to learn that neither the word “bourgeois” nor the word “masculinity” may be found anywhere in the novel.

Project Gutenberg ebook.

A good scanned copy of the Tauchnitz edition:

Volume 1.

Volume 2.

Volume 3.

Published in: on August 3, 2012 at 12:43 pm  Comments (4)  


Published in: on August 3, 2012 at 1:50 am  Comments (1)