What the Dickens?! : Distinctly Dickensian Words and How to Use Them
I’m not ashamed to say it–I’m an unabashed logophile. I’ve had a love affair with words since I learned to read, and it has never waned. I own well over twenty dictionaries of various kinds and sizes and other books about word and phrase origins. Imagine my excitement when I saw this book. Dickens was one of the 19th century’s greatest wordsmiths, and this examination of his use of words does not disappoint. Broken into five sections such as “Words for Making Merry” and “Words for Bleak Days and Bad Company,” each page has an interesting word, extensive definition, pronunciation, example of its use from Dickens’s works, and a nice write-up with more information. Some of the words and phrases were quite common in the Victorian era but are no longer used. Some are words Dickens made up, such as “Weggery,” which is typical of the behavior of Silas Wegg, a character in Our Mutual Friend, or “Wiglomeration,” the legal bureaucracy, referring to the wigs they wore. Some are just plain fun-sounding words like “spoffish” and “podsnappery.” The research is stellar and the writing terrific. Anyone interested in words or the English language will love this book.