John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

  • Mood:

Happy Birthday, mortonfox and tye_g_wolfee!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

Obstinacy; inflexibility; determination of mind; stubbornness. The word, though it has been tried in different forms [such as opiniatrety], is not yet received, nor is it wanted.
--Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of English Language, 1755

Birthday of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), lexicographer, critic, and poet. Contrary to popular assumption, the opinionated Dr. Johnson was not a prolific reader, preferring conversation to books. Although he believed that people who devoted themselves to reading had a better chance of knowing more, he qualified this by saying that he himself had read little since his teenage years, adding that perpetual reading and study were "as bad as slavery in the mine, or labour at the oar." Once asked whether he had read a certain book cover to cover, Johnson is quoted by his biographer James Boswell in The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) as replying scornfully, "No, Sir. Do you read books through?" In the same volume, he voiced his preference for direct experience over the secondhand variety: "The progress which the understanding makes through a book has more pain than pleasure in it."

Thanks to Black Adder, I can't think of Samuel Johnson without thinking of Robbie Coltraine. But, for that matter, I can't think of Boswell without thinking of Auntie Mame. Go fig.

-The Gneech
  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened