All In a Word: 100 Delightful Excursions into the Uses and by Vivian Cook

By Vivian Cook

Delve into the hidden nature of phrases:
An impossible to resist mixture of info, interest, and fun

Linguist Vivian cook dinner takes us on a super sequence of tours into the historical past and that means of phrases: How will we research phrases as a toddler? How are phrases born, and why do they die? Why do a little by no means get spoken, and others by no means written? each one bankruptcy is charmingly illustrated—and observed by way of a wealthy collection of video games, lists, puzzles, and prices. From well mannered phrases to crass phrases, from p-c phrases to Shakespeare’s phrases, from nutrition and wine phrases to jazz and drug words—the booklet is an exhilarating exploration into the abundance and diversity of phrases.

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Le verbe basque

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The unity with God, all people, the body, and nature creates a metaphysical foundation for the democratic sentiments of the poem, thus launching the “myself” persona into the role of poet-prophet of democracy. The calm that follows the intensity of the illumination – “the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth” – also suggests the restfulness, the “loafing” attitude of the body after sex. The mood extends into Section 6, in which the poet patiently reflects on the question of a child, “What is the grass”?

Although he abandons his explicit affiliation with “the roughs” by the final version of the poem, perhaps in the search for an ever wider application of democratic sympathy, he continues to pursue an unrelenting egalitarianism, rooting political identity in the “primeval” body and the theory of democracy: “I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy, / By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms” (211). The poem spiritualizes the body and materializes the soul in an effort to reinvigorate the religious experience Section 24 also enfolds the shamanic role and enacts the upside-down mysticism that brings the poet closer to the earth rather than transporting him to some heaven.

The highly varied lines and phrases in “Song of Myself” are held together by repetitive devices such as assonance and alliteration, syntactic parallelism, and repetition of key words and phrases, especially at the beginning of lines (using the rhetorical device of anaphora). In the larger scheme of the whole poem, Whitman blends the genres of epic and lyric poetry. Echoing the opening of Virgil’s Aeneid – “Of arms and the man I sing” – Whitman’s famous first line, “I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself” (188), transforms the epic genre as surely as it alludes to it, fusing the functions of hero and bardic poet in the self-reflexive “I,” and introducing the element of personal involvement usually associated with lyric poetry.

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