Fun with Literature

I’ve moved my blogging activities to a literature/satire site that I’m running with a colleague from my time at Oxford; it’s called ClickityLit. Our focus is fun internet stuff like quizzes and listicles, but for folks who like books. We’ve got quizzes about the Brontës and silly songs about Tolstoy; if that sounds like your thing, you should check it out!  It’s tons of fun. The genre is satire and the tone is irreverent, so if that’s not to your tastes, probably best to skip it. Here’s a glimpse so you can get an idea of what we do:


1. The Heart Wants What it Wants

For the classic death-enthusiast, there’s no poet like Emily Dickinson. She owned death poetry like Coleridge owned coke*:

The Heart asks Pleasure — first —
And then — Excuse from Pain —
And then — those little Anodynes
That deaden suffering —

And then — to go to sleep —
And then — if it should be
The will of its Inquisitor
The privilege to die —

*OK, it was opium, but coke sounded better, so eat my assonance.

Speaking of Coleridge….

2. One for the Masochists

If your morbid sense of despair and futility tends to take the form of thinking enviously about the people who get to die whilst dwelling on the horror of your own continued existence, then these lines from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner are for you:

The many men, so beautiful!
And they all dead did lie:
And a thousand thousand slimy things
Lived on; and so did I.

I looked upon the rotting sea,
And drew my eyes away;
I looked upon the rotting deck,
And there the dead men lay.


Before Dollars, There Were Cows

The root of the word pecuniary—meaning “pertaining to money”—is the Latin word pecus, which means cattleIn Latin, the forms pecunia and pecuniarus also exist; pecunia came to mean “money,” but it initially meant “riches in cattle.”

A similar development may have happened with Old English feoh (where the ‘h’ is pronounced like the ‘ch’ in the Scottish work loch), which is one of the possible origins of our modern English word fee.

Etymology! Isn’t it fun?