RARA-AVIS: Re: Jim D's definition of Thriller

From: jacquesdebierue (jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 06 Feb 2009

  • Next message: jacquesdebierue: "RARA-AVIS: Re: Definition of Thriller"

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Sullivan" <DJ-Anonyme@...> wrote:

    > 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.



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