--- In email@example.com, "Mark Sullivan" <DJ-Anonyme@...>
> Jim, leaving aside the specific words noir, hardboiled and thriller,
do you really not recognize any evolution of meaning for any word? Do you really believe that ever word in the English language is used in the exact same way it was when first uttered? Isn't that one of the struggles (often well worth it) of reading, studying or teaching older literature? I'm not talking "should be used," which you obviously believe, but "is used"?
Indeed, one of the big problems in reading the old stuff (medieval and
Renaissance texts, in my case) is that even when the writer uses words
that we continue to use or whose roots are obvious, the meaning can be
quite different, not to mention the connotations it may have had. In a
sense, you need to translate it. Five hundred years from now, somebody
may look at a Westlake novel and not get the meaning as easily as we
do. For sure, they won't get a lot of the jokes, the dialogue will
sound quaint and strange, whatever "roles" characters play in society
may be unclear to the reader, etc.
If you try to read, say, Bocaccio, without knowing a fair bit of what
life was like, who did what with and to whom and how, you may miss a
lot of what's there.
End of offtopicity, or perhaps it is on topic.
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 06 Feb 2009 EST