"The remnants of a lacy filibeg clung to the twisted circlets of the Crimson crown, its garnets glinting dully, and the Punctilious Trousers bore unpleasant stains."
"The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 239 of Errantry: Strange Stories
"She gestured at the waiting cabriolets and winged caravans, parked alongside the bridled destriers and sleeping gorgosaurs that lined the long curving drive."
"The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 236 of Errantry: Strange Stories
""The Crimson Court has a legendary kitchen. Too long have you languished here among your toadstools and toxic chanterells, Saloona Morn! At great danger to myself, I have secured you an invitation so that you may sample the Paeolinas' nettlefish froth and their fine baked viands, also a cellar known throughout the Metarin Mountains for vintages as rare as they are temulent. Still you remain skeptical of my motivations.""
"The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 225 of Errantry: Strange Stories
""An ustulating spell directed at his paramour's bathing chamber. The squireen has been reduced to ash. The optimate's need to retain his affection has therefore diminished.""
"The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 223 of Errantry: Strange Stories
""The Queen was not aware of it either," replied Paytim. "Her brother poisoned her and seized control of the Crimson Messuage. He has impertinently invited me to attend his coronoation as Paeolina the Twenty-Ninth.""
"The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 221 of Errantry: Strange Stories
"When the dishes were cleared and the last of the locust jelly spooned from a shared bowl, Paytim poured two jiggers of amber whiskey. She removed a pair of red-hot pokers from the kitchen athanor, plunged one into each jigger, then dropped the spent pokers into the sink."
"The Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 216 of Errantry: Strange Stories
"Insensibility, melancholia, hebetude; ordinary mental tumult and more elaborate physical vexations (boils, a variety of thrip that caused the skin of an unfaithful lover to erupt in a spectacular rash, the color of violet mallows)—Saloona Morn cultivated these in her parterre in the shadow of Cobalt Mountain."
"Return of the Fire Witch" by Elizabeth Hand, p 209 of Errantry: Strange Stories
"His former colleagues were now living eidolons of youth, beauty, health, joy, desire flitting past him in the studio, lovely and remote as figures from a medieval allegory."
- "The Far Shore" by Elizabeth Hand, p 130 of Errantry: Strange Stories
"Today, I blame myself for my irenicism: I should never have allowed the issue of Les Temps modernes on the Arab–Israeli conflict to open with Rodinson's article, 'Israel, a Colonial Reality?', for I do not believe that this is, or has ever been, the case: in my films and in my writings, I have striven tirelessly to reveal the complex reality of Israel."
The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne, p 399-400 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition
"To get from Beijing to Pyongyang, one went either by rail or by air: the first entailed a forty-eight-hour journey with a stop of indeterminate length at the Sino-Korean border before travelling north at a snail's pace through the septentrional regions of North Korea since there had recently been a catastrophic explosion that had destroyed a railway station and two trains, resulting in countless victims."
The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne, p 315 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition
"I didn't feel qualified, but I accepted and we began to work, proceeding by a Socratic, maieutic method – which is something I'm rather good at."
The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, p 191 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition
"It was over Duelo a garrotazos that I had apagogically envisaged rolling the opening credits for my film Tsahal, about the Israeli army and the wars it was compelled to fight."
The Patagonian Hare by Claude Lanzmann, translated by Frank Wynne, p 31 of the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover edition
"Thus all they had to select from was tea, bread and sweet butter, porridge, ham and broiled mushrooms, rabbit pie, fricandeau of eggs, mayonnaise of prawns, and spiced beef."
Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger, p 121
"Instead he listens, just in case Tom gets tripped up in the briar patch of plesiosynchronous protocol arcana, whence only Randy can drag him out."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 406 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"Lord Woadmire is not related to the original line of Qwghlm, the Moore family (Anglicized from the Qwghlmian clan name Mnyhrrgh) which had been terminated in 1888 by a spectacularly improbable combination of schistosomiasis, suicide, long-festering Crimean war wounds, ball lightning, flawed cannon, falls from horses, improperly canned oysters, and rogue waves."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 255 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"Propped up against the stonework next to the building's entrance is a gaffer dressed in an antique variant of the Home Guard uniform, involving knickerbockers."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 253 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"As a result, the authorities of his country, the United States of America, have made him swear a mickle oath of secrecy, and keep supplying him with new uniforms of various services and ranks, and now have sent him to London."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 146 of the Avon Books paperback edition
I didn't know the military meaning of this, as in:
"The Marines charge the wastebaskets as if they were Nip pillboxes, and Lieutenant Ethridge seems mollified."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 189 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"Soon they are standing before the fort's entrance, which is flanked by carvings of a pair of guards cut into the foamy volcanic tuff: halberd-brandishing Spaniards in blousy pants and conquistador helmets."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 121 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"The United States part is, however, a safe bet, because every time he arrives at a curb, he either comes close to being run over by shooting-brake or he falters in his stride; diverts his train of thought onto a siding, much to the disturbance of its passengers and crew; and throws some large part of his mental calculation circuitry into the job of trying to reflect his surroundings through a large mirror. They drive on the left side of the street here."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, pp 143-144 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"Farther south, the mountains are swidden-scarred—the soil beneath is bright red and so these parts look like fresh lacerations."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 32 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"The speed and power of their growth is alarming, the forms they adopt as bizarre and varied as those of deep-sea organisms, and all of them, he supposes, are as dangerous to an airplane as punji stakes to a barefoot pedestrian."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 30 of the Avon Books paperback edition
""Yes! Russell and Whitehead. It's like this: when mathematicians began fooling around with things like the square root of negative one, and quaternions, then they were no longer dealing with things that you could translate into sticks and bottlecaps. And yet they were still getting sound results."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 18 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"For each stop—each timbre, or type of sound, that the organ could make (viz. blockflöte, trumpet, piccolo)—there was a separate row of pipes, arranged in a line from long to short."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 8 of the Avon Books paperback edition
"But when a hornet got into the house and swung across the ceiling in a broad Lissajous, droning almost inaudibly, he cried in pain at the noise."
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, p 7 of the Avon paperback edition
"With only a few days to listen to the recordings, make notes, digest files from Time correspondents, read morgue clippings, and skim through several books, I was soon sprawled on the floor at home, surrounded by drifts of undifferentiated paper, and near tears in a catatonic swivet."
- "Structure" by John McPhee, p 46 of the January 14, 2013 issue of the New Yorker
I'd never heard this as a verb, I don't think! As in:
"Maureen emerged from behind the counter in her short black dress and frilly apron, and Shirley corpsed into her coffee."
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, p 351
"It was all very confusing, and she continued to enjoy Easter eggs and decorating the Christmas tree, and found the books that Parminder pressed upon her children, explaining the lives of the gurus and the tenets of Khalsa, extremely difficult to read."
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, p 301
""And what about you?" Simon roared at his wife, who was still frozen beside the computer, her eyes wide behind her glasses, her hand clamped like a yashmak over her mouth."
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, p 283
"He carves horses and he paints a whole group on their points of hips, the throatlatches, on the tails, and so forth."
- "One of the Great Drawbacks" by Diane Williams, in Vicky Swanky Is a Beauty (p 75)
"Lawrence Lessig, the whilom Special Master in the Justice Department's antitrust suit against Microsoft, complained that he had installed Internet Explorer on his computer, and in so doing, lost all of his bookmarks--his personal list of signposts that he used to navigate through the maze of the Internet."
- "In the Beginning was the Command Line" by Neal Stephenson
"As if the spectres with which he paid for his passage to England, the soucouyants with which he revenged his uncle and family, all those bloodthirsty ghosts of his narrative have come alive in this city."
The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, p 191
"By now Amir has become used to the overbearing smells of London houses, especially around the kitchen: the odours, he feels, are stronger and more basic — burnt meat, boiled vegetables — than in respectable houses in his village, which are open to the cleansing air, purified by agarbattis."
The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, p 105
"Little good it did him though, this facing of a new future, the diligence with which he, in his youth, worked as a munshi before the death of his father called him back to the land, and the way in which he set himself to learn the customs and language of the Firangs."
The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, pp 25-26
"I had always admired Hamid Bhai's ability to guess where the cut kite would alight, just as I admired his capacity to hold his breath for so long during our games of kabbadi."
The Thing about Thugs by Tabish Khair, p 24
"Sign language has its own syntax patterns, dialects and accents (American Southerners are known for "blurry" signing), and even usage experts, who teach native signers to use the language with concinnity."
"Little Strangers" by Nathan Heller, p 89 of the November 19, 2012 issue of the New Yorker
"From his command post in the doorway of the Great Hall, Mister Pouncey pondered lists of secretaries and seal-keepers, council clerks and sergeants-at-arms. Was the Clerk of Petty Bag senior to a gentleman groom? he wondered. How important was the Keeper of the Hanaper, or the Chafe Wax?"
John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 214
"Beyond it lay overgrown beds and plants John had never set eyes on before: tall resinous fronds, prickly shrubs, long grey-green leaves hot to the tongue. Nestling among them he found the root whose scent drifted among the trees like a ghost, sweet and tarry. He knelt and pressed it to his nose.
' That was called silphium.' His mother stood behind him. 'It grew in Saturnus's first garden.'"
John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 88
"John and his mother swished through carpets of vetches and fescues or pushed their way through the bushes, splashing through springs that broke through the turf and flowed through the grass in secret cascades."
John Saturnall's Feast by Lawrence Norfolk, p 42
"The Canavans—they had for decades and centuries brought to the Ox elements that were by turn complicated and simple: occult nous and racy semen."
"Ox Mountain Death Song" by Kevin Barry, in the October 29 & November 5, 2012 issue of the New Yorker, p 106
"Unsurprisingly, the audiences got longer and more ragged, with a growing number of her loving subjects going away regretting that they had not performed well and feeling, too, that the monarch had somehow bowled them a googly."
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, p 41 of the FSG hardcover edition
"He took the books up to the Queen's floor and, having been told to make himself as scarce as possible, when the duke came by hid behind a boulle cabinet."
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, p 16 of the FSG hardcover edition
The "a person of a keen, irritable temper" definition of this one is new to me. As in (re: Cecil Beaton):
"'No, of course not. You'd be too young. He always used to be round here, snapping away. And a bit of a tartar. Stand here, stand there. Snap, snap. And there's a book about him now?"
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett, p 7 of the FSG hardcover edition
"My work required careful research (as patient as Gutenberg taking his time making an ink that was neither too fluid nor not fluid enough) to find a discrete way to starch the lips of these slits. I used kaolin."
Savage by Jacques Jouet, translated by Amber Shields, p 58 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback edition
"She who knew neither past nor future, who had neither a tomorrow nor memories, had been obliged without warning to come here, to follow this grand deviation of the arrow of time—the most beautiful fleuron of occidental decadence."
- Savage by Jacques Jouet, translated by Amber Shields, p 36 of the Dalkey Archive paperback edition
""Exactly," says Paloma triumphantly, "there is not enough regulation. Too many rail workers, not enough plumbers. Personally, I would prefer the kolkhoz.""
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 281 of the Europa Editions paperback
"I limit myself therefore to a refrain of asthenic yeses in response to Jacinthe Rosen's hysterical salves."
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 133 of the Europa Editions paperback
"At the moment he is enduring Jacinthe Rosen's pithiatic prattling. She brings to mind a hen at the foot of a mountain of grain."
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 133 of the Europa Editions paperback
"Thus we use up a considerable amount of our energy in intimidation and seduction, and these two strategies alone ensure the quest for territory, hierarchy and sex that gives life to our conatus."
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 97 of the Europa Editions paperback
"Had I but the leisure to bite into the standard meter, I would slap myself noisily on the thighs while reading, and such delightful chapters as "Uncovering the final sense of science by becoming immersed in science qua noematic phenomenon" or "The problems constituting the transcendental ego" might even cause me to die of laughter, a blow straight to the heart as I sit slumped in my plush armchair, with plum juice or thin driblets of chocolate oozing from the corners of my mouth..."
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, translated by Alison Anderson, p 58 of the Europa Editions paperback
"As the noise of the helicopter's engine faded out on the roof above them, Riggs and Macready bent down and inspected the crude catamaran hidden behind a screen of bocage under the balcony."
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 73 of the 50th anniversary edition
"Descending to three hundred feet above the water, they began to rake up and down the distal five-mile length of the main channel."
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 72 of the 50th anniversary edition
"She noticed Riggs peering over his shoulder at the bar. 'What's the matter, Colonel? Looking for your punka-wallah? I'm not going to get you a drink, if that's what you're after. I think you men only come up here to booze.'"
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 39 of the 50th anniversary edition
"Kerans shrugged, smiling at her amiably. 'I missed you.'
'Good boy. I thought perhaps that the gauleiter here had been trying to frighten you with his horror stories.'"
The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard, p 37 of the 50th anniversary edition
"A specially commissioned report, commending 'the alluvial nature of the soil', listed the valley's crops 'of all kinds from the rarest to the coarsest qualities. Tobacco, the fig, the vine, the olive, the poppy, the cotton plant and mulberry tree are all indigenous products, whilst maize, barley, beans, flax, hemp and a variety of pulse and oleaginous seeds are raised in large quantities. Valonia, yellow-berries, wool, goats' hair, dyestuffs, drugs, skins, honey, wax and likewise abound.' The only hindrance was the primitive condition of the region's Ottoman infrastructure; by revolutionising the pre-industrial carriage of the valley's largely perishable produce, the railway company's backers meant to make a killing."
Meander: East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal, p 270 of the Bloomsbury USA hardcover edition
"The village was empty. The flank of a sleeping dog heaved in the shade of a blue water bowser."
Meander: From East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal, p 164 of the Bloomsbury USA hardcover edition
"I was curious about the watermills. The locals spoke of these mills as they might have referred to old mine workings or to the quicksands of tidal flats, to ice-covered ponds or the craters of rumbling volcanoes; I sensed it might pay this visiting canoeist to understand the local view if only because watermills meant no more to me than innocuous echoes of a pre-industrial past, a stock feature of picturesque period landscapes, high wheels turning harmlessly within the barred confines of their leats."
Meander: From East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal, p 135 of the Bloomsbury USA hardcover edition
"By the time she returned with my breakfast — a tight-waisted glass of black tea, bread. crumbly white cheese, ship-lapped slices of tomato and cucumber, honey, and a boiled egg — and with more parsley for her husband, I was deep in the lead stories."
Meander: East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River by Jeremy Seal, p 21 of the Bloomsbury USA hardcover edition
"Dr. Tulp will soon be here
in his black hat, prosectorial
instruments in hand"
- from "A Waltz Dream" by W.G. Sebald, translated by Iain Galbraith, in Across the Land and the Water - p 97 of the Random House hardcover
"When the monster didn't
show the marram
was permitted to reoccupy
the fortified strip"
- from "Holkham Gap" by W.G. Sebald, translated by Iain Galbraith, in Across the Land and the Water - p 68 of the Random House hardcover
"Mr Thwaite often attended the Sports Days, and Maitland came, too, dressed in brown tussore and a picture hat and carrying a reticule."
Crusoe's Daughter by Jane Gardam, p 233 of the Europa Editions paperback
"'Now just go through to the dairy,' said Paul Treece's mother, 'and on the stone you'll see pork sausages. We'll fry them for the chicken on the fire. The bread sauce is at the bottom of the oven and there'll be room. The plum pudding's well away. There's room for another pan. It's a fine pow-sowdy. I'se not my usual self this year. Most-times I'se brisker. Maybe it's soon to be bothering with Christmas, but Paul wouldn't have wanted us overcome.'"
Crusoe's Daughter by Jane Gardam, p 178 of the Europa Editions paperback
"And yet, as though to punish me now for calquing my own images over these sidewalks long ago, Via Clelia was giving them all back—but not a thing more."
Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere by André Aciman, p 30 of the FSG hardcover
"The wishfilm we leave on our walks glistens on the city's hard surfaces like the luminous imprint of fish scales left on a butcher's block hours after the fish was caught, cut, and cooked—outside of time. It still glistens, still pulsates, reaching out to strangers, calling out to them, sometimes long after we're gone. The remanence of our presence, our lingering afterimage on this city—the best of us."
Alibis: Essays on Elsewhere by André Aciman, p 155 of the FSG hardcover
"Biffy was a man of principle. He refused, on principle, to sell a huge tricolored pifferaro bonnet decorated with a cascade of clove pinks, black currants, and cut jet beads to Mrs. Colindrikal-Bumbcruncher for her daughter."
Timeless by Gail Carriger, p 18
"He spoke in a hushed voice. "I traced Madame Lefoux to the dahabiya docks. A peculiar sort of place. Lost the scent there. I'm afraid she may have boarded a ship. ...""
Timeless by Gail Carriger, p 278
"The ox was sleek, black, muscular; when it plodded into the spotlight, under the guidance of a wrangler, the stage crew and other rehearsing performers shifted tensely, as if each motion might mark the start of a faena."
- "Listen and Learn" by Nathan Heller, in The New Yorker, July 9 & 16, 2012, p 69
"Where, we wonder, are the people of Nashville? That's one thing we like about our cities, we agree: there are always people about. They're usually drunk, of course. Drunk and lairy. But that is a good sign."
Dogma by Lars Iyer, p 20
"Capitalism and religion, W. says. Or, in my case, failed capitalism and failed religion. Somehow, I'm the key to his project, W. says. Somehow I'm the key to the copula, though he's not sure how."
Dogma by Lars Iyer, p 12
"The white charlock, which was obviously as much of a pest in Furtwangen as its yellow brother in Low Hall, touched the morbid scene with falsely cheerful light.'
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 94 of the Knopf hardcover edition
"Did you know when applying to register a rebuilt Mini one must declare whether one's fucking chassis or monocoque body has been replaced or modified in any way?"
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 85 of the Knopf hardcover edition
"Before the glass cleaning began I would have to remove the brass collet at the end of each rod. The collet would fit into some as yet unseen mechanism which would rotate the rods."
The Chemistry of Tears by Peter Carey, p 78 of the Knopf hardcover
"Then, perhaps two months later, when I had stepped, as I often did, into the totalisator agency in a suburb adjoining my own suburb, I saw the monk in a far corner, reading one of the form-guides on the wall."
Barley Patch by Gerald Murnane, p 238 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback
"Some of these worked as stockmen or labourers or kitchen-hands and lived in quarters not far from the homestead; others seemed to have no other homes than a row of humpies beside the creek."
Barley Patch by Gerald Murnane, p 49 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback edition
"Invariably I have some refreshment placed upon the fortepiano of the bushy-haired, gasconading lout of a band leader."
Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky, pp 54-55 of the NYRB paperback
"The tone of this voice—I've studied it in considerable depth—reproduces in sound the approximate impression made on the eye of the progress of a snail, so resplendently languorous, so lazy, so brown, so very reptant, so slimy, so gluey, and so terribly if-not-today-why-not-tomorrow."
Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky, pp 48-49 of the NYRB paperback
Well, I knew what this word meant in 2008 but had since forgotten. Rediscovered it today, thus:
"Certainly one finds the most and greatest elegance on Tauentzienstrasse; the Kurfürstendamm is delightful with its trees and calashes."
Berlin Stories by Robert Walser, translated by Susan Bernofsky, p 19 of the NYRB paperback
"She swam in mangrove swamps, amongst the maze of roots in the mud, snapping up fiddler-crabs and mudskippers, spitting shell into the inspissated mess of mud, leaf skeletons, seaweed."
Ragnarök by A.S. Byatt, p 66
"Dead from the cancer, and sometimes you still felt a fulgurating sadness over it, even though he really was a super asshole at the end."
- from "Miss Lora" by Junot Díaz, p 63 of the April 23, 2012 edition of the New Yorker
"Two bees report on traffic, warning listeners
to the anemophily channel
as the natural disaster
of humanity comes closer
every morning. Work while you can, they say."
- from "Flooded Meadow" by Stephen Burt, p 52 of the April 23, 2012 edition of the New Yorker
"They miss, too, the wooden turf carts that lie weathered and rain-pocked at the side of the road. They miss the angle of the slanes, leaning up against the carts."
- "Transatlantic" by Colum McCann, p 103of the April 16, 2012 issue of the New Yorker
"For all his sentimentality about gentlemanly chivalry, Lord doesn't shy away from what the sinking and its aftermath revealed about the era's privileges and prejudices. "Even the passengers' dogs were glamorous," begins a tongue-in-cheek catalogue in "A Night to Remember" that includes a Pekingese named Sun Yatsen—part of the entourage of Henry Harper, of the publishing family, who, Lord laconically reports, had also picked up an Egyptian dragoman during his preëmbarkation travels, "as a sort of joke.""
- "Unsinkable" by Daniel Mendelsohn, p 68 of the April 16, 2012 issue of the New Yorker
"It is evidently a problem of method, he went on as if overwhelmed, one believes one is looking through a wider and wider lens, but one sees only the lens, the irisations, the dust motes on its surface, when I was an art critic I was always knocking my head against this decisive problem, how to speak about Flemish painting, how to speak about the blue of the virgin's cloak without forever erasing the color behind the word that qualifies it?"
Invitation to a Voyage by François Emmanuel, translated by Justin Vicari, pp 41-42 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback
"the postcard pictures weren't innocent, four women laughing, straining wheat through their wicker tamis in a blond light,"
Invitation to a Voyage by François Emmanuel, translated by Justin Vicari, p 13 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback
"The figure of Mercury had become both more theatrical and more human: no longer a statue, he was draped in a freshly laundered chlamys that set off his well-formed but slight physique; the broad-brimmed petasus sat charmingly on his curls."
- "Description of a Masque" by John Ashbery, p 29 of the Noonday Press paperback edition of A Wave
Blurb on the back of A Wave by John Ashbery says:
"The charm of Ashbery's urbane style—so various, so beautiful, so new—persists throughout A Wave, and will induce the rereadings the poem demands. It is a style that resists, in its glowing reflectiveness, the approaching darkness of the cimmerian moment."
—Helen Vendler, The New York Review of Books
"In a dystopian society in the future, a group of wealthy, epicene overlords—authoritarians with violet hair and the vicious manners of French courtiers—threaten and control an impoverished population."
"Kids at Risk" by David Denby, in The New Yorker, p 68 of the April 2, 2012 issue.
"To prepare the fastest blue, for example, you would need an English vat containing 'five times one hundred and twelve pounds of the best woad, five pounds of umbro madder, one peck of cornell and bran, the refuse of wheat, four pounds of copperas, and a quarter of a peck of dry slacked lime.'"
Mauve by Simon Garfield (quoting William Partridge), p 42 of the Norton paperback edition
"There were several other important plant dyes — carthamus, woad, saffron, brazilwood and turmeric — but even these represented an extremely narrow range of colours, confined variously to red, blue, yellow, brown and black."
Mauve by Simon Garfield, p 41 of the Norton paperback edition
"Meanwhile, Dr Schweitzer was reaching a conclusion, and briefly mentioned that Perkin was, predictably by this stage, very much responsible for the way women smelt, having once formed coumarin from coal-tar, which led to artificial musk, and then to the artificial production of the scents of violets, roses, jasmine and the 'smell of the year' — oil of wintergreen."
Mauve by Simon Garfield, p 10 of the Norton paperback edition
"Dora decided to do some washing before supper and within half an hour the kitchen was festooned with lines of depressing-looking underwear — fawn locknit knickers and petticoats of the same material. It was even drearier than mine."
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, p 106 of the Plume paperback edition
"Winifred smiled affectionately after him as he left the room. 'Men are just children, really, aren't they. He's as happy as a sandboy when he's doing something messy.'"
Excellent Women by Barbara Pym, p 47 of the Plume paperback edition
"The judges of the assize listened to and gave their verdict on cases of theft, of coin-clipping, street brawls, a smothered baby, bigamy, land disputes, ale that was too weak, loaves that were short, disputed wills, deodands, vagabondage, begging, shipmasters' quarrels, fisticuffs among neighbors, arson, runaway heiresses, and naughty apprentices."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 382 of the Berkley paperback edition
"She and Ulf were alone on a bed in a room, and she was looking up at the timber beams and purlins of a ceiling she'd seen before."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 342 of the Berkley paperback edition
"An aumbry in the refectory contained labeled jars that spoke well of Sister Odilia's knowledge of herbology, though it also held a plentiful supply of opium—too plentiful, in the opinion of Adelia, who, knowing the drug's power, kept her own cache to a minimum in case of theft."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 302 of the Berkley paperback edition
"For Cambridge generally, the bells acted as a daytime clock; appointments were made by them, sandglasses turned, business begun and closed; they rang laborers to their fields at Lauds, sent them home at vespers. But their clanging by night allowed sleeping laity the schadenfreude of staying in bed while nuns and monks were having to issue from their cells and dorters to sing vigils."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 276 of the Berkley paperback edition
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/36.25.1043 says "A kard is defined as a straight, single-edged dagger that is worn on the left side of the belt. Unlike most daggers, in which the narrow tang attached to the blade fits into a handle, the blades of these daggers are made with a flat steel tang of the same width as the blade."
"The matter of his kard was also resolved with charm. "The dagger is not a weapon," Sir Joscelin told his porter, who was struggling to wrest it from Mansur's belt and put it with the swords. "It is a decoration for such a gentleman as this, as we old crusaders know.""
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 191 of the Berkley paperback edition
"He stared with manic vacancy at the soldier who announced his visitors. "Can't they see I'm busy? Don't they know the justices in eyre are coming?""
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 144 of the Berkley paperback edition
"The simple motte and bailey the Conqueror had built to guard the river crossing had gone, its wooden palisade replaced by curtain walls, its keep grown into the accommodation, church, stables, mews, barracks, women's quarters, kitchens, laundry, vegetable and herb gardens, dairy, tiltyards, and gallows and lockup necessary for a sheriff administering a sizable, prosperous town."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 141 of the Berkley paperback edition
"As errand boy to his grandmother's eel business, he occasionally received pourboires from the customers, a source of money now cut off."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 119 of the Berkley paperback edition
"A gilded agal held the veil of his kaffiyeh in place; silk flowed long and light around a fresh white woolen robe."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 190 of the Berkley paperback edition
I didn't know the "unplowed strip of land" definition of this until now:
"Beyond an orchard, a raised balk ran along the edge of a common field leading down to the river, angled with cultivated strips."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 118 of the Berkley paperback edition
I apparently didn't write down what made me first look this up, but I am now looking it up again because of the below:
"She could do nothing about the woman's blindness but sent her on her way with an eyewash of weak, strained agrimony that, with regular use, should get rid of the inflammation."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 112 of the Berkley paperback edition
""Indeed not, my lord." Sir Rowley seemed affronted by the idea. "Or not more than usual. But if the lady is to conduct an unofficial inquest, it might subject both town and priory to punitive taxes—I don't say it will, but the regular amercements, confiscations of goods, et cetera might apply.""
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 69 of the Berkley paperback edition
"He had not, therefore, returned home the same way but had taken the quicker route to Jewry by going over the bridge and passing through the town so that he could see the carriages and caparisoned horses of the visiting Jews in Chaim's stable."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 37 of the Berkley paperback edition
"Now then, here's a prior. We know him, too, from the violet rochet he wears, as do all canons of Saint Augustine."
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, p 2 of the Berkley paperback edition
"The paintings—closeups of manhole covers with their cryptic labyrinthine pattern of raised welts, loving roseate sunsets that turned out to be the sheen and scuff on a spaldeen—had multiplied; there were so many of them now that the artist had been obliged to carve a trail, as it were, among them, that would permit access to the kitchen table, where David and I now sat down."
"Citizen Conn" by Michael Chabon, p 95 of the New Yorker, February 13 & 20, 2012
"Galápagos giant tortoises crop the lawn. Burmese stars, Egyptians, Chacos form Argentina, all snooze, munch, estivate under leaf cover, bask, and breed, sometimes noisily, with males groaning and shells clattering."
"Slow and Steady" by William Finnegan, p 59 of the January 23, 2012 issue of the New Yorker
"At Corbets Tey, we admire the pargeting and think of Marc Atkins. It might be a moulded shield or an entire wall. The iconography of Essex pargeting is a topic we're too wet to debate. Oak trees, stags, horsemen: the confederacy of the forest."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 514 of the Penguin paperback edition
"We stand at the river's edge, the point where the Darent is absorbed. Or what we take to be the edge: pipings of redshank, a slurping earth-soup."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 452 of the Penguin paperback edition
"Conspiracy theories and 'parousial notions' interbreed; the cults of Kosmon and Scientology are linked nin Gascoyne's mind."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 433 of the Penguin paperback edition
"After a good lunch, a morning – in bed – dictating memos, he liked to sit by the pond 'in a simple garden chair' feeding 'fat golden orfe'."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 392 of the Penguin paperback edition
"Beyond the standard Christian iconography, crucifixion and pietà, is a stumpy-legged man in a cowl, brandishing a chisel or poignard."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 231 of the Penguin paperback edition
"A solid ancient leaning on his hoe, shuffling backwards and forwards to his shed. The villein with his small corner of England."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 135 of the Penguin paperback edition
"There was, at one level, a real, blistery narrative to these walks; chorographic mappings attendant on the soar, the flash of revelation."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 122 of the Penguin paperback edition
"The London Loop by David Sharp continued the process of opening up the suburbs, linking patches of woodland, riverside paths, tracks across chalk and greensand."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 83 of the Penguin paperback edition
"Thick woods, screening the concrete bunkers and hunchbacked huts from the eyes of the curious, will provide an excellent habitat for shy fauna, for monkjacks."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 39 of the Penguin paperback edition
"Driving on the M25, coming over the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, fumbling for your coin to pay the road toll, nurdling into the right lane, brings out the stories."
London Orbital by Iain Sinclair, p 13 of the Penguin paperback edition
I thought I'd first seen this word just now, but it was already on my 'looked up' list so I must've seen it before. Well, here's where I most recently encountered it:
"I'd draw every known bird in the world. Avadavat, turtle dove, chaffinch, bullfinch. It would be something to do and it would take care of time and give me some pleasure."
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch, p 287 of the Doubleday hardcover edition
I like that this word is both "a school of whales" and "a visit between whalers."
"We met another ship, the Gallopan out of New Bedford, and so embarked upon a gam—a meeting of ships, a bit of fun—and that was my first and best gam, and went on for three or four days till I began to think that we were out here on this ocean for no other reason than to drink rum, eat Wilson Pride's salty pork dumplings and play cards of an evening."
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch, p 91 of the Doubleday hardcover edition
"That first supper on deck, all of us from fo'c's'le sitting next to the tryworks round a huge lump of salt pork that sat like a rock upon a tub they called the kid."
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch, p 72 of the Doubleday hardcover edition
"By the time I was eleven I could read and write. Mr. Jamrach said he needed his boys to be able to write things down and read off lists. I was quick. Ma was impressed. "You clever boy, Jaf," she said when I read the posters plastered outside the seamen's bethel."
Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch, p 40 of the Doubleday hardcover edition
"Martin himself supervised them, and also ordered the sails set in counterpoise to each other, so that the ship would be as perfectly still as possible. Then he called out, "Top gallant yards, acock bill," an order that sent men scurrying up the rigging."
A Burial at Sea by Charles Finch, p 95
"The Lucy left Plymouth Harbor under steam (somewhere below deck—Lenox suspected it was in the orlop, but couldn't feel sure—men were shoveling coal as if their lives depended on it) about an hour later."
A Burial at Sea by Charles Finch, p 33
"The noonday sun could send temperatures soaring to a hundred and fifteen degrees and a hot harmattan wind blew down from the desert."
- "The Great Oasis" by Burkhard Bilger, p 116 of the December 19 & 26, 2011 issue of the New Yorker
"Rafinesque perfected his variant of this honorable philosophy while botanizing in the literal backyards of my childhood, examining ruderal plants I've known all my life, and so I have appropriated it from him, with minor tweaks."
John Jeremiah Sullivan, quoted in "Reality Effects" by James Wood, p 136 of the December 19 & 26, 2011 issue of The New Yorker
"Failing to be uplifted by white columns or the vertical thrust of the hall's backbone, he dwelled instead on how the opening of the brise-soleil, the structure above the building so reminiscent of a whale's tail just before a long submersion, left those inside both exposed—and trapped."
Sleight by Kirsten Kaschock, p 59
"In the middle of the final series—1st sefirot, fortress, sacri-fly, infold, purl, 2nd sefirot, j-ladder (5) —Clef felt the alien tug.
(5) Recent additions to sleight vocabulary have come from varied disciplines. Hands have reenvisioned structures from molecular biology, Kabbalah, psychoanalysis, physics, Vodou, baseball, astronomy, rock art, the I Ching, chemistry, and knitting."
"There was no reply to his question, however, and he went back to reading, occasionally pausing to sip the hot negus that had gone lukewarm as he worked."
The Fleet Street Murders by Charles Finch, p 3
I didn't know the sense of "schoolmaster" 'til now.
As in: "At his school, Harrow, one of the beaks from his house, Druries (where Lord Byron had been, not to mention Lord Palmerston, who had died only a year before), had noticed Lenox's height and asked him to come row for the house team."
The September Society by Charles Finch, p 14
"A forty-dollar tangerine of nutmeat
ribboned by slender Greek
fingers of lovers so charmed
his coiffed stubble matched her armpit hairs
was handed to me, apotropaically,"
from "Epicurean" by Danielle Chapman, in the New Yorker, p 97 of the November 21, 2011 issue
"'The native thought of mankind is gratitude. The most significant noise of earth is the singing of birds,' said the professor with determination.
'Fritinancy,' declared the young man beside the fire.
'What's that?' said the professor.
'I said fritinancy. which is the whimper of gnats and the buzzing of flies. You're talking nonsense.'"
Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater, pp 281-282 of the Orkney Edition hardcover
"But age comes quickest and most irremediable to mechanical things. The life of a sparking-plug is a fierce tropical existence of days only. No healing leucocytes rush to the aid of a cracked cylinder, nor anastomosing tributaries expand to carry the life-blood of a choked feed-pipe."
Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater, pp 279-280 of the Orkney Edition hardcover
"Saturday poked them with his fingers, and as he did so, a line or two shone brightly in the quick fire. 'The corposants burnt blue on every mast,' he read."
Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater, p 129 of the Orkney Edition hardcover
"Joan Benbow, driving ambitiously, had watched her ball land, leap forward in a series of diminishing arcs, and come to rest in Hibbett's Hole. (Hibbett was a Victorian golfer, one of John Company's colonels, who died in harness, his enlarged spleen bursting almost simultaneously with a good niblick in the bunker now called after him.)"
Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater, p 94 of the Orkney Edition hardcover
"They might be charming fellows, of course. Great, noisy children, now laughing full-heartedly, now piteously seeking comfort and dimly knowing in their wise Slave hearts—were they Slavs?—that no one on earth could comfort them. Children of the steppes who would never grow up. But they grew beards, damn them. Great strouting bristle-patches of beards."
Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater, p 55 of the Orkney Edition hardcover
"A lifelong sufferer from psychosomatic illnesses, he was also an enthusiastic supporter of homeopathy, iridology and vegetarianism, as well as professing an interest in astrology and dream interpretation."
Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight by James Attlee, p 250
"The lessons begin with exhaustive lists of colours — Gamboge, Indian Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, Raw Umber, Yellow Ochre — with notes on combining them and colour wheels to show how they relate to one another."
Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight by James Attlee, p 62
"When I look up, I see a faint wash of pale green across the poplars and the blue crocuses make fairy rings round the base of the acer trees."
Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill, p 80 of the Profile Books paperback
"I turn over twice, bed of embers, taken in by risk, violated by the speed of this century that has turned the heads of so many ardent worshipers of the State, God of Modern Times, on a quest for progress; Italy lulled by fascination for manufacture, signing pacts with flash-in-the-pan figures who ransacked their revolutionary period: sucked into the trajectory of bolstering the State and corrupting it in the process, creativity abandoned in sinecure and prebendary to set off in discovery of the proletarian era, with its canned announcements, lunar conquests, poetically inspired factories, how far we have drifted from that initial project that with millions in voice and deed made the country tremble, now returning to dissidence: Malevich, Mayakovsky, whose images and words capture oblivion, injecting us, in proletarian zeal, with the elixir that will purge us of our mystical vanity."
Talismano by Abdelwahab Meddeb, translated by Jane Kuntz, p 237 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback
"Those who can read shall read, and leave commentary to the others. To the first, joy is limited to reading, deciphering the sign; for the others the satisfaction and nourishment of their intelligence is achieved beyond: by interpretation, by unveiling, kashf."
Talismano by Abdelwahab Meddeb, translated by Jane Kuntz, p 231 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback
"Like the time in San'ā, at the close of an evening of qāt, relaxing mafraj brightened by polychrome windows, leaving at dawn, garden, circular openings, rings and acroteria, lacy cornices, walking to Hammam al-Maydān, dome and cistern, spray of water falling into concentric traces of itself, pool receiving reflection of sunbeam."
Talismano by Abdelwahab Meddeb, translated by Jane Kuntz, p 215 of the Dalkey Archive Press paperback