Similarly, it’s hard not to love this book, which employs a diverse cast of characters ranging from C.S. Lewis and Emily Dickinson to Lily Munster and the Great Pumpkin to reveal the historical, hilarious, and even holy origins of the words we use, even though many of us have forgotten what they mean. Join Professor Esolen on this fun yet educational romp through 98 of your soon to be favorite words.
•Learn how and why (to say nothing of when and where) to properly use the word“drunken.” (Hint: not to relay the fact that…“The bridegroom’s mother has drunken awhole bottle of champagne, and is now drawing flowers on the floor with her lipstick.”)
•Appreciate why you don’t want Lily Munster to dust your furniture…at least not in theKing’s English.
•And seethe, along with Esolen and other lovers of beauty in language and liturgy, whenyou see how a mighty angel of God is reduced to the status of a mere messenger boythrough bad word choices.
Again and again, you’ll find yourself agreeing with Esolen, who, channeling his inner Boris Badunov (Bullwinkle the Moose’s nemesis, for the philistines and milennials among you), reminds us that “ Eees good to know grammar. Eees delight, to play with style. Eees, no?”
Yes, it is! And it also edifying to see just how rooted our language is in the Christian faith, as rooted as once was our culture.
Esolen’s delightful tour of the English language and its roots gives us a window into our shared heritage that sadly we’ve largely forgotten. We won’t tell you what the word referenced in the first sentence above is… but don’t be it. Buy this book. You’ll be glad you did.
Professor Anthony Esolen holds a Doctorate in Renaissance English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Professor of English at Providence College, located in Providence, Rhode Island. He is the translator of the celebrated three-volume Modern Library edition of Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a Senior Editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and his articles appear regularly in First Things, Catholic World Report, Magnificat, This Rock, and Latin Mass.