[ilds] Durrell's Diction

Bruce Redwine bredwine1968 at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 30 19:13:27 PDT 2010


Good points, particularly about Durrell being an autodidact and feeling the need to compensate.  I'm not familiar with Fermor and can't comment on him, although he falls into the category of a writer without a university degree.  Joyce and Miller I've read, but their stylistic quirks seem of a different order than LD's.  Early Joyce is purity itself, late Joyce entirely another matter.  Miller has always seemed fairly straightforward to me.  His style is clear, Durrell's isn't.  JJ and HM two don't perplex me in the way that LD does.  Now, Durrell's chosen vocabulary may simply be part and parcel of his Romantic disposition, his infatuation with the exotic, somewhat like Poe's.  Maybe.  I suspect, however, that something else is going on, something rooted in his psyche, if you will.  If I had to liken Durrell's love of words to anyone's, it would be to Shakespeare's, whom the English Romantics valued above all others.  This discussion is, of course, just speculation.  What is needed is an examination of the data, and by that I mean an extensive lexical study of Durrell's vocabulary and usage throughout his oeuvre.  Some enterprising graduate student should take this up.  It would involve a lot of work.


On Apr 30, 2010, at 12:26 PM, William Apt wrote:

> Bruce:
> Durrell's friend Patrick Leigh Fermor is, I think, as bad as Durrell in that department.  And like Durrell, he is just as enchanting to read.  And the grandpappy of arcane vocabulary is Joyce, is it not?  Miller liked to use offbeat words just for the sake of using them.  Is it simplistic to suggest that Miller and Durrell were merely taking Joyce as their example?  If yes, then another theory is that guys like Fermor, Durrell, and Miller, as formidable autodidacts, make up for feelings of insecurity attributable to the absence of a university education by becoming super scholars.  Explorer/translator/linguist/anthropologist/ writer/ diplomat Richard Francis Burton could also be placed in this category. 
> On Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:31 PM, Bruce Redwine <bredwine1968 at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Charles,
> Thanks for the citations from the OED and the 1850 dictionary.  Apparently "sauncing bell" is a variant of "sacring bell," although the OED doesn't note as such, but that's undoubtedly an oversight.  See  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altar_bell.  I'm not familiar with the term in Catholic liturgy; I assume it's also an uncommon usage in the Anglican service.  So, what's Durrell's source?  "Heytpood's Rapt of Lucrcc" (sic)?  Which must be a botched spelling of Thomas Heywood, who did compose The Rape of Lucrece (1608).
> The human mind is a wondrous thing, particularly LD's, but it's hard for me to imagine the old guy lugging around a liturgical term from his days in London (or earlier) and using it in 1959, when writing Clea.  Has anyone tried to account for L. Durrell's weird vocabulary and to generalize that into a theory about him and his method of composition?
> Bruce
> On Apr 29, 2010, at 5:06 PM, Charles Sligh wrote:
>> sacring-bell (OED, 2nd edition)
>>> 1. A small bell rung at the elevation of the host.
>>> 1395 E.E. Wills (1882) 5, I bequethe a chales and a pax~bred,..and a 
>>> sacrynge belle. 1449 Churchw. Acc. Yatton (Somerset Rec. Soc.) 90 For 
>>> a rop for the sacryng bell, iiiid. 1502 Acc. Ld. High Treas. Scot. 
>>> (1900) II. 343 Item, for tua small sacryne bellis, tane at ane cremar. 
>>> 1584 R. SCOT Discov. Witchcr. V. iii. (1886) 76 He heard a little 
>>> saccaring bell ring to the elevation of a morrowe masse. 1846 R. HART 
>>> Eccl. Rec. 225 The sacring bell, which was rung at the elevation of 
>>> the host. 1884 Sunday at Home Feb. 102/2 No latticed 
>>> confessional{em}no sacring bell.
>>>    ¶2. In post-Reformation times, sometimes applied to a small bell 
>>> rung to summon parishioners to morning prayers, or to mark the point 
>>> in the Communion Service at which the people should go up to communicate.
>>> 1598 DRAYTON Heroic Ep. III. 71 Who would not rise to ring the 
>>> Mornings Knell, When thy sweet Lips might be the sacring Bell? 1641 I. 
>>> H. Petit. agst. Pocklington 2 He hath caused a Bell to be hung up in 
>>> his Chancell, called a Sacring Bell, which the Clarke always rings at 
>>> the going up to second Service. 1766 ENTICK London IV. 75 A lantern, 
>>> which..incloses the sacring-bell, to call the parishioners to prayers.
>> sacring (OED, 2nd edition)
>> Also 3-6 sacringe, 4 sakryng, -ring, 4-6 sacryng(e, sakeryng(e, 5 
>> sacryn, sacreng, sakering(e, saycrying, sac(c)aring, Sc. sacryne. [f. 
>> SACRE v.1 + -ING1.]
>>    1. The consecration of the eucharistic elements in the service of 
>> the mass. Sometimes more fully, the sacring of (the) mass.
>> 1297 R. GLOUC. (Rolls) 6818 Ri{ygh}t atte sacringe he stod as be lowe In 
>> {th}e churche at westmunstre. 13.. Coer de L. 222 And whene the belle 
>> began to ryng The preest scholde make the sakeryng, Out of the kyrke 
>> sche wolde away. c1375 Lay Folks Mass Bk. (MS. B) 400 {Th}en tyme is 
>> nere of sakring, A litel belle men oyse to ryng. c1380 WYCLIF Serm. Sel. 
>> Wks. I. 137 Bitwene {th}e sacringe of {th}e masse and {th}e {th}ridde 
>> Agnus Dei. c1451 AGNES PASTON in P. Lett. I. 217 And on Friday after 
>> sakeryng, one come fro cherch warde, and schoffe doune all that was 
>> thereon. 1482 CAXTON Trevisa's Hidgen IV. xxxii. 222b, The grayel and 
>> the offretory sholde be sayde to fore the sacrynge [MSS. sacrement; L. 
>> sacrificium]. 1550 CRANMER Defence 101 What made the people to 
>> runne..from altar to altar, and from sakeryng (as they called it) to 
>> sakeryng? a1571 JEWEL On Thess. iii. 5-10 (1594) 90 It is a small matter 
>> to looke vp and holde vp thy handes at the sacring. 1584 R. SCOT Discov. 
>> Witchcr. XV. xxvii. (1886) 376 Words..written in the canon, or rather in 
>> the saccaring of masse. 1626 Scogin's Jests (? 1680) 12 By and by the 
>> Bells were tolled for sacring, and Scogin hied him to Church lustily and 
>> merry. 1871 ROSSETTI Poems, tr. Villon's Mother's Service to our Lady 
>> ii, Oh help me, lest in vain for me should pass..The blessed Host and 
>> sacring of the Mass.
>>    {dag}b. concr. Used for: The consecrated elements.
>> c1290 S. Eng. Leg. I. 358/105 Muche folk {th}are was in Rome {th}at in 
>> guode bi-leue nere Ne bi-lieueden nou{ygh}t {th}at {th}e sacringe ore 
>> louerdes licame were. 1448 M. PASTON in P. Lett. I. 72 [The Parson of 
>> Oxened] being at messe in one Parossh Chirche, evyn at levacion of the 
>> sakeryng.
>>    2. The ordination and consecration of persons to certain offices, as 
>> those of bishop, king, queen, etc.
>> 1297 R. GLOUC. (Rolls) 2318 Ac him sulf him crounede & made him king so 
>> His sacringe was lute wor{th} & na{th}eles it was ydo. c1380 WYCLIF Wks. 
>> (1880) 393 {Th}e clerkis han many grete & smale perquisitiuys,..as..for 
>> halowynge of chapels..& for sacrynge of ordres, & fulle many mo. c1450 
>> Merlin vi. 105 We wolde that his sacringe and coronacion be respite to 
>> Penticoste. 1496 Dives & Paup. (W. de W.) VII. xviii. 305/1 Yf the 
>> offycer of ye bysshop axe of custome ony gyft..in sacrynge of 
>> bysshopes..yf they yt sholde be..sacred gyue theym suche gyftes..is it 
>> symonye. 1672 TEMPLE Ess., Govt. Wks. 1731 I. 98 The Sacring of the 
>> Kings of France (as Loysel says) is the Sign of their Soveraign 
>> Priest~hood, as well as Kingdom. 1814 SOUTHEY Roderick XVIII. 107 For 
>> acclamation and for sacring now One form must serve. 1902 Q. Rev. July 
>> 356 The fullest development of the service for the sacring of the French 
>> Kings is contained in the Coronation Book of Charles V.
>>    {dag}3. gen. The action of consecrating. Obs.
>> 1610 W. FOLKINGHAM Art of Survey Ep. Ded. 2, I will screw-vp this Key 
>> with the prostrate sacring of my selfe..at the Shrine of your gracious 
>> Clemencie. 1613 PURCHAS Pilgrimage II. viii. 136 Elias Leuita describeth 
>> the forme of sacring or hallowing their Teraphim in this sort.
>>    4. Comb. as sacring time, SACRING-BELL.
>> 1482 CAXTON Trevisa's Higden VIII. xix. 414 The lyeutenaunt..forth with 
>> commanded that euery man shold kepe his wepen in his hond sacryng tyme 
>> and other. 1577-87 HOLINSHED Chron. III. 946/2 Those that..held not vp 
>> their hands at the sacring time. 1594 T. BEDINGFIELD tr. Machiavelli's 
>> Florentine Hist. (1595) 198 The time of the execution should be at the 
>> sacring time of Masse.
>> A dictionary of archaic and provincial words (1850)
>> http://books.google.com/books?id=DmYPAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA706&dq=%22sancing+bell%22&lr=&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=0&as_miny_is=1400&as_maxm_is=0&as_maxy_is=1960&as_brr=0&ei=sB3aS52PB5HsyATDxZznCQ&cd=1#v=onepage&q=%22sancing%20bell%22&f=false
>>> SAUNCE-BELL. A sacring-bell. See Sacriny.
>>> Now what Is love I will the tell.
>>> It la the fountaineand the well.
>>> Where pleasure and repentance dwell;
>>> It is perhaps, the sancing-bell,
>>> That rings all into heaven or hell.
>>> And this Is love, as I heare tell.
>>> Heytpood's Rapt ofLucrccc, I. 3
>> -- 
>> ********************************************
>> Charles L. Sligh
>> Assistant Professor
>> Department of English
>> University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
>> charles-sligh at utc.edu
>> ********************************************
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