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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:32 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
I can't imagine what German would have to do with it.

OK, never mind German (das Auto)... blame Chuck Berry!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:55 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
... blame Chuck Berry!

For a moment there you had me at a loss. Chuck Berry's use of "automobile" was for lyrical purposes, so of course that changes things. Otherwise it has pretty limited use; it's not colloquial. We don't normally use "auto", either, except in combination: auto parts, auto mechanic, auto racing, auto insurance. And we're just as likely to say "car" instead. If I said, "We'll take my automobile," people would think I was even more of a relic than I already am.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:05 pm 
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I just got confused, right? No idea what I thought you called them, but for some reason thought it wasn't car and you'd tell me that was part of a train or something like that. So, no, didn't really think you called them automobiles... I've driven a van for 14+ years, so what would I know?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:09 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
... you'd tell me that was part of a train or something like that.

It's that too. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 12:59 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Don't make the mistake, Ben, of concluding that your edition must be an example of what is broadly to be deemed "American". True, it is aimed at the US reader, but I'm entirely sure that the edition was intended for schoolreading; I can't imagine any other reason for such a ridiculous degree of micromanaging. It might surprise some people, but even in the US we presume that the average adult reader is not going to be a total boob who needs their hand held at every turn; in the normal run of things, if the reader doesn't know where Hampshire is, they can look it up on their own steam. The penny-kisser would also point out that fewer footnotes means less cost, so your copy would clearly be scholastic material, or at least for the youth market (although I can't imagine what would inspire an average youngster to electively read Algernon Blackwood). Let me reassure you that "ramshackle" is still current yet among Yanks whose lives extend beyond our animal interests, and this reinforces my conviction about the edition's purpose. True, some grownups might not know the word - such are the times - but it's hardly to be put on the same dusty shelf as "poltophagy". So I would suggest, Ben, that you take the edition for what it evidently is: not a representative example of American publishing, but a sourcebook geared toward our educational system. What level I couldn't hope to guess, but that knowledge might be revealing. What is the date of the edition?


This is the edition. It's from 2016. I am absolutely convinced that it is not an edition meant for school purposes, though M. Grant Kellermeyer may well think he is publishing an academic look at the subject. The review is interesting.

Out of interest, I've seen other editions like this - overwhelmed by footnotes and 'learned' commentary (I remember one on Bram Stoker, for instance - can't remember the edition). The ones I've seen have been American. I can't imagine them being produced over here. It's maybe the literary equivalent of the Myles Krassen edition of mangled bits of O'Neills collections.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2020 2:19 pm 
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I see. Of course it says "Annotated" on the cover, and that might have given fair warning, but I think explaining "ramshackle" is a step too far; it insults the reader's intelligence, for it is certainly American English as well. The implication that it isn't, or that it is obscure, betrays the compiler's questionable grasp of his own language, and with that one gaffe, his footing as a steward of literature cannot be taken seriously. One almost feels sorry for him. But I'll grant that the publishing date may perhaps be taken into account: A couple of years ago I met a young fellow who was delighted that the word "savage" was seeing a revival from its supposed obsolescence! I nearly wept.

At least one reader review agrees with your disappointment, excerpted here:

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I have tried several times to read a few of the tales, but reading the stories is such a huge effort that I have put it aside and will likely not attempt to read it again. Why? Because this specific edition is annotated by an M. Grant Kellermeyer, and the annotations are endless, unnecessary, didactic, distracting, and are as prevalent as the punctuation.. except far far more distracting and annoying. That someone-- anyone-- would feel the need to "explain" a word in nearly every other sentence is simply ludicrous. If my comments seem disparaging, then I've succeeded.

That wasn't you, was it? :wink:

I'm sure I would be just as put off by the book for the same reasons, and would probably post a similar review. Still and all, I must repeat that one should resist the assumption that all American-published anthologies and similar are going to be like that. I would suggest that in your case, it's simply been the luck of the draw. I've got a handful of editions of James Joyce's works from Viking Press (a New York house), and in every one the reader is entirely on their own; certainly the verb "peach" would be a candidate for a footnote, but nope. Most of my American-published books are not annotated, and when they are, it is sparsely, or else the subject is rife with the need for it, such as Tibetan esoteric material or a study of Japanese poetry, where heavy annotation is not only reasonable, but necessary for the unwashed Western reader; no one would call that easy reading, but it's not meant to be. Upon checking further, somewhat to my surprise even my copy of Herodotus' The Histories has hardly any annotation at all, and that too is a US edition.

But to be fair, although I prefer doing my own research, I think annotating British works for the US reader should not be thought particularly remarkable. Most Yanks won't know what a butty is, or that Cornwall has a distinct history and identity as a nation in its own right, or how many stone they weigh - nor would it occur to them that they ought to know these things; that's "over there", and we have our own fish to fry, after all. In some things, explanations are certainly in order, for although we all speak the same language, by the same token, we do not: What's familiar and self-evident in the UK will likely be exotic and opaque to the average US reader. For that matter, how many Brits here know what scrapple is? Or the Rust Belt? Or a krewe? Or brownie points?

Close reading renders a service in opening up a world that might not otherwise have been guessed at. But in the case of Ben's book, it sounds too overdone to be worthwhile.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:56 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Close reading renders a service in opening up a world that might not otherwise have been guessed at. But in the case of Ben's book, it sounds too overdone to be worthwhile.

Yes. I've never anything quite this bad before. By the way, it wasn't my review that you saw. I am very tempted, however, to post my own.

Having read a bit further into the book, I am now fully persuaded that it's not to do with different cultural norms, or language, on either side of the pond, but rather that yer man Kellermeyer is a bit of a plonker.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:12 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Having read a bit further into the book, I am now fully persuaded that it's not to do with different cultural norms, or language, on either side of the pond, but rather that yer man Kellermeyer is a bit of a plonker.

Illustrations and all, too! Must be his magnum opus: "Look, Ma! I know Britisher stuff like 'Cambridge' and 'ramshackle'."

I had to look up "plonker", you know. A footnote would have been helpful. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:18 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
I had to look up "plonker", you know. A footnote would have been helpful. :wink:

Good, uh?
:D

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:59 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
By the way, it wasn't my review that you saw. I am very tempted, however, to post my own.

I think that's not a bad idea. Since you have exactly the same objections, they would help allay any perception that the negative review might be spurious. The uncritically glowing reports need some seasoning, IMHO.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 3:40 am 
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I know things have moved on but I have noticed a few occurrences.
Nanohedron wrote:
I've become pretty comfortable hearing most British usages, but "torch" for "flashlight" still catches me off-balance.

'Torch' is a contraction of 'electric torch'. We have moved on so here here now have 'torches' and 'flaming torches'. Invite people to a torchlight procession and most would bring their flashlights, or these days be festooned with LED Xmas tree lights.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2020 7:10 pm 
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david_h wrote:
Invite people to a torchlight procession and most would bring their flashlights, or these days be festooned with LED Xmas tree lights.

All right, for fancy parades "torchlight" applies here too, and it's the only exception I can think of - only instead of flashlights, the parade's outfitters would supply its performing members with, for instance, purpose-built thematic batons with a light on the end so as to emulate a flaming torch. I'm sure there are variants that also get billed as torchlight parades: processions of glowing orbs, rods, hoops, or other doodads would be possible. So "torch" would only be a generalized poetic metaphor, because in application an orb remains an orb; out of convenience an end-lit baton might still be called a torch, but only on the basis of it roughly resembling an old-school one, and it's easier to say. A mob with common glowsticks seems a bit like cheating, though, if the word "torchlight" is to apply. I think the lights-festooned also fall under the torchlight parade category nowadays, but to be honest, I'm a bit out of the loop: I can't remember the last time I attended a parade, never mind one at night (and those are crowning events in at least a couple of our local festivals); even if I got free stuff out of it, I confess that parades generally bore me and make me want to be off doing something else.

There. I've said it. Nano is a parade grinch.

These days a procession with real flaming torches tends to be the domain of certain repugnant ideologies.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 1:18 pm 
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Naah, this is a torchlit procession ;-)

I have been there....... it gets frightening at times (when you are pinned against a wall and a tar barrel goes past roaring like a jet engine). Bloody good fun though

(Edit: Just found this one - better video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKGQ7EMtCWc)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 3:36 pm 
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It does look like bloody good fun. Given the proximity to real estate, I trust there's a bucket brigade on hand?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:23 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
It does look like bloody good fun. Given the proximity to real estate, I trust there's a bucket brigade on hand?

I honestly cant remember any. But I last went when I was a youth; the pints and the years have dimmed my memory. I must go again before it gets banned.

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