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

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Today's Forgotten English:

One of the five -- in leap years, six -- complementary days added at the end of the month Fructidor of the Republican Calendar; in plural, the festivities held during these days. ... Adopted from French sansculotte, from sans without, and culotte, knee-breeches. ... In the French Revolution, a republican of the poorer classes in Paris; hence generally, an extreme republican or revolutionary.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1914

First Day of Fructidor
The twelfth, and last, thirty-day month of the French Revolutionary calendar, which ran through September 16. Fructidore literally meant "fruit month," from the Latin fructus (fruit). The five remaining secular holidays, or "surplus days," of this short-lived calendar were devoted to Genius, Labor, Actions, Rewards, and Opinions, respectively. Albert Barrére's A Dictionary of Slang, Jargon, and Cant (1897) included the entry fructidoriser: "to suppress one's political adversaries by violent means, such as transportation wholesale; an allusion to the [French Revolution] 18th Fructidor, or 4th September, 1797."

I keep picturing Robin Williams in rainbow suspenders saying, "Fructidor? Is that you???" But I'm something of an oddball.

While I'm in literary mode, here are some links you may enjoy:

I Go to AWP, by Kay Ryan -- "Tomorrow morning at the AWP bookfair a young writer will be able to meet everybody, editors, publishers, all in one place. They’ll all be sitting there behind their piles of books and journals. The hopeful young writer could have conversations, exchange email addresses, hand them manuscripts. Next month if he sent an editor some work he could start his email with, 'I'm following up on our conversation at last month’s AWP bookfair....' It kind of makes me sick to think about. On the other hand, maybe there will be free keychains." Snarky fun, but also interesting if you've been to, say, a writer's panel at Dragon*Con.

Birnbaum v. Camille Paglia -- "I felt this was a cultural necessity to do something. I have done all those attacks on post-structuralism in Arion and junk-bond corporations and corporate raiders in the early '90s, now I want to go directly to the general readers and also to young people and also, as I say in the introduction, I am going to adjuncts and the people who are out there teaching and being condescended to by the theorists, who think they are doing important work. I'm still fighting Derrida at this point. And also the embattled teachers who are always writing to me saying how they are silenced in their departments when they just want to do literature and art. There has been a tremendous flight from the grad schools of people who wanted to devote their lives to teaching literature and were driven out when they were forced to read post-structuralism." Heady stuff, not for the weak-of-heart, but then that's Camille Paglia for you. If you're not a poetry geek (which, I admit, I'm not) it doesn't get interesting until midway in ... and even then it's only interesting if you like Camille Paglia.

-The Gneech
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