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  2. A Dictionary of Received Ideas by Gustave Flaubert
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These are works of literature from the Western cultural tradition. In addition to literature such as novels, short stories and drama, Project Gutenberg has cookbooks, reference works and issues of periodicals. The Project Gutenberg collection has a few non-text items such as audio files and music-notation files. Most releases are in English, but there are significant numbers in many other languages; as of April , the non-English languages most represented are: Fren. Commonplace book Commonplace books are a way to compile knowledge by writing information into books.

Such books are scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, letters, tables of weights and measures, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they have learned; each commonplace book is unique to its creator's particular interests. They became significant in Early Modern Europe. In this original sense, commonplace books were collections of such sayings, such as John Milton's commonplace book. Scholars have expanded this usage to include any manuscript that collects material along a common theme by an individual.

Commonplace books are not diaries or travelogues , with which they can be contrasted: English Enlightenment philosopher John Locke wrote the book A New Method of Making Common-Place-Books, "in which techniques for entering proverbs, ideas, speeches were formulated. Locke gave specific advice on how to arrange material by subject and category, using such key topics as love, politics, or religion. Commonplace books, it must be stressed, are not journals, which are chronological and introspective.

They were used by influential scientists. Carl Linnaeus , for instance, used commonplacing techniques to invent and arrange the nomenclature of his Systema Naturae. During the course of the fifteenth century, the Italian peninsula was the site of a development of two new forms of book production: the deluxe registry book and the zibaldone. What differentiated. Giovanni Rucellai , the compiler of one of the most sophisticated examples of the genre, defined it as a " salad of many herbs.

They lacked the lining and extensive ornamentation of other deluxe copies. Rather than miniatures, zibaldone incorporate the author's sketches. Zibaldone were in cursive scripts and contained what palaeographer Armando Petrucci describes as "an astonishing variety of poetic and prose texts. The juxtaposition of gabelle taxes paid, currency exchange rates, medicinal remedies and favourite quotations from Augustine and Virgil portrays a developing secular, literate culture.

By far the most popular of literary selections were the works of Dante Alighieri , Francesco Petrarca and Giovanni Boccaccio : the " Three Crowns " of the Florentine vernacular traditions; these collections have been used by modern scholars as a source for interpreting how merchants and artisans interacted with the literature and visual arts of the Florentine Renaissance. The best-known zibaldone is Giacomo Leopardi's nineteenth-century Zibaldone di pensieri.

By the seventeenth century, commonplacing had become a recognised practice, formally taught to college students in such institutions as Oxford. John Locke appended his indexing scheme for commonplace books to a printing of his An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. Commonplace books were used by many key thinkers of the Enlightenment, with authors like the philosopher and theologian William Paley using them to write books. Commonplacing was attractive to authors. Some, such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Mark Twain kept messy reading notes that were intermixed with other quite various material; the older, "clearinghouse" function of the commonplace book, to condense and centralise useful and "model" ideas and expressions, became less popular over time.

Many of these works are not seen to have literary value to modern editors. The value of such collections is the insights they offer into the tastes, interests and concerns of their individual compilers. Keeping notebooks is a kind of tradition among authors. Therefore, a commonplace book of literary memoranda may serve as a symbol to the keeper, of the keeper's literary identity, quite apart from its obvious value as a written record.

Authors treat their notebooks as quasi-works, giving them elaborate titles, compiling them neatly from rough notes, recompiling still neater revisions of them and preserving them with a special devotion and care that seems out of proportion to their apparent function as working materials. Richard Hill , a London grocer. Glastonbury Miscellany.. The Devil's Dictionary The Devil's Dictionary is a satirical dictionary written by American Civil War soldier and writer Ambrose Bierce consisting of common words followed by humorous and satirical definitions. The lexicon was written over three decades as a series of installments for newspapers.

Bierce's witty definitions were imitated and plagiarized for years before he gathered them into books, first as The Cynic's Word Book in and in a more complete version as The Devil's Dictionary in Initial reception of the book versions was mixed. In the decades following, the stature of The Devil's Dictionary grew, it has been quoted translated, imitated, earning a global reputation.

And maybe one of the greatest in all of world literature. Four writers are known to have written witty definitions of words before him. Bierce's earliest known predecessor was the Persian poet and satirist Nizam al-Din Ubaydullah Zakani, who wrote his satirical Ta'rifat in the thirteenth century. Prior to Bierce, the best-known writer of amusing definitions was Samuel Johnson , his A Dictionary of the English Language was published 15 April Johnson's Dictionary defined 42, words all seriously.

A small handful have witty definitions and became quoted, but they were infrequent exceptions to Johnson's learned and serious explanations of word meanings. Most people assume that Webster's text is unrelieved by humor, Webster made witty comments in a tiny number of definitions. Gustave Flaubert wrote notes for the Dictionary of Received Ideas between and but never completed it.

Decades after his death, researchers combed through Flaubert's papers and published the Dictionary under his name in , "But the alphabetful of definitions we have here is compiled from a mass of notes and variants that were never sorted, much less proportioned and polished by the author. He warmed up by including definitions infrequently in satirical essays, most in his weekly columns "The Town Crier " or "Prattle", his earliest known definition was published in His first try at a multiple-definition essay was titled "Webster Revised", it included definitions of four terms and was published in early Bierce wrote definitions in his personal letters.

For example, in one letter he defined "missionaries" as those "who, in their zeal to lay about them, do not scruple to seize any weapon that they can lay their hands on. Bierce did not make his first start at writing a satirical glossary until six years later. He called it "The Demon's Dictionary", it appeared in the San Francisco News Letter and California Advertiser of 11 December , his glossary provided 48 short witty definitions, from "A" through " accoucheur ". But "The Demon's Dictionary" appeared only once, Bierce wrote no more satirical lexicons for another six years.

So, Bierce's short glossary spawned imitators. Brook's continuing column of serialized satirical definitions was called "Wasp's Improved Webster in Ten-Cent Doses"; the column started with the 7 August issue and appeared weekly in 28 issues, working its way step-by-step alphabetically to define words, ending with "shoddy" in the 26 February issue.

In the next issue of The Wasp Brook's column appeared no more, because The Wasp hired Bierce and he stopped it, replacing "Wasp's Improved Webster" with his own column of satirical definitions. Bierce's first "Prattle" column appeared in the Examiner on March 5 of that year, the next installment of his satirical lexicon appeared in the 4 September issue on page 4, under the title "The Cynic's Dictionary".

In the meantime, Bierce's idea of a "comic dictionary" was imitated by others, his witty definitions were plagiarized without crediting him. One imitator copied the name of Bierce's column. In September , Bierce wrote letters to his friend Herman George Scheffauer mentioning he was thinking about a book of his satirical definitions "regularly arranged as in a real dictionary.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Dangerous neighborhood. Inseparable from "dog" and "friend. Always "loud. Work a sob into your voice m speaking of Napoleon's farewell at Fontainebleau. When visiting a farm, one must eat nothing but rye bread and drink nothing but milk. If eggs are added exclaim: "Heavens, but they're fresh! Not a chance you'd fmd any like these in the city!

Always "Squire" So-and-so. All easy-going. What would we do without them? Fat people do not need to learn to swim. Are the despair of executioners owing to the difficulty they present; e. A wholly romantic word. Applied to a man, signifies one with the evil eye.

It is doing children a favor to slap them; animals, to beat them; servants, to me them; criminals, to punish them. Gives wings. Always "perfect. Use only in speaking of animals. Contrary to what obtains in the human race, the females of animals are less beautiful than the males, e. Fencing masters know secret thrusts. No need to have one single precise notion about it: thunder against. A sign of the strength of the blood.

Caused by prunes, melons, the sun in April, etc. Another of the causes of the Revolu- tion! Emblem of virility in the art of sculpture. God's fmger is in every pie.

A Dictionary of Received Ideas by Gustave Flaubert

Sign of wealth in the household. On hearing the cry of "Fire l" begin by losing your head. A spectacle worth seeing. Nobler than the guillotine. Delight of the man who is granted the favor of facing one. The sight of it makes the heart beat faster. Always use the Latin phrase. Applies only to adultery. A bird, so called because native to Flanders. Never miss the chance to quote: "By God, I cannot flatter"; and "Every flatterer lives off the fool who listens to him. Always along the Loire. Any anatomical specimen preserved ID spirits of wme. In boarding schools, always "wholesome and plenti- ful.

Wide and bald, a sign of genius, or of self- confidence. Should always be of silver-it's less dangerous. Use it in the left hand, it is easier and more distinguished. She was a beautiful woman. That is all you need to know. The rich are happy, they have money.

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A proof of the Flood. A joke in good taste when alluding to a member of the Academy. Shoo away those flies. The implica-. In his first definition Flaubert dwells on the shift in meaning by equating the terms. All news is without -. More to be feared than the enemy. Yet another cause of the Revolution. The initiation is a fearful ordeal. Cause of dissension among married pairs. Distrusted by the clergy. What can its great secret be? Cause of all business troubles. The leading people in the world. Always pronounce furia francese. No longer done. Only good in the country.

Female of the toad. Nobody knows what it consists in, but you must assert that it is extremely difficult and extremely dull. Nice verb. About the deceased: "To think that I had dinner with him a week ago. Should be used on all occasions: "How funny! Allusion is to the monument made of the enemy guns captured by Napoleon's arrrues.

Token of wealth. Be apprehensive-every kind of mishap can happen to yours. Of the two branches of the royal family: keep hoping for it. Always preceded by "mad. According to circumstances, pronounce ga antuomo "" or gent Ieman. Use this term in speaking of German journalists. Good only when high. Always from Paris.

Don't let your wife say: "When I feel gay, I love to act like a gamin. Wax indignant at this fatal passion. More natural than French ones. Kills intestinal worms and incites to amorous jousting. Henry IV's lips were rubbed with it at birth. At twenty, one can be very happy there.! Always to be worn above the knee by society women; below it by women of the people. A woman must never neglect this point of dress-there are so many ill-bred men in the world. Always "brave. A socialistic idea. No point admiring-it's a neurosis. Meaning unknown.! There aren't any left.

Always preceded by "blond," "dreamy"- but how efficient their army! A people of metaphysicians old- fashioned. Fierce expression of unknown meaning, though it is known to refer to the Orient. Foreigners' way of talking. Always make fun of the foreigner who murders French. It isn't the value that gives it price, or rather, not the price that gives it value. The gift is nothing, it's the thought behind it.

Polite word to avoid calling a woman an old cow. Confer respectability. A tapestry of this kind is an amazing piece of work, it takes fifty years to make. On seeing it, exclaim: "It is more beautiful than a painting! Voltaire himself admitted it: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. The essence of the English language, as Beau- marchais said. Always the actual father of the godchild. Always goes with Magog.

Shown on all calendars but nobody knows what they mean. Has to do with antiquity. The way the an- cients tied their neckties. Divine, sublime, and so forth , works. Architectural style which inspires religious feeling to a greater degree than others.

The Illustrated Dictionary of Received Ideas

Disturbing to the fancy. Teach it to children in earliest youth as something clear and easy. All pedants. The only way to make the Parisians shut up. Don't mention it. Always the color of stone walls, for amorous adventures. Whatever one cannot understand is Greek. This is to be said with the discomfited air of the hunter who says there is no more game.

Not respectable. At some time or other a big banquet or notable party was given there. During the Revolution, Mass was cele- brated there in secret. Suitable for a mantelpiece or in politics. Does more harm to the enemy than the regular forces. Hold them up as examples to your children. Famous Norwegian town, recently discovered. The dressed-up "historical" version for text-book use is that given in the seven words.

Second nature. School habits are bad habits. Given the right habits one could play the violin like Paganini. Not suitable for men. Always from Mainz. But watch out for trichinosis. A touching word in literature; effective in poetry. Characteristic of creole women. Indispensable in a garden. Persuade yourself that it is more comfortable than a bed. A neat hand leads to the top. Undecipherable: a sign of deep science, e. Trade handed down from father to son. Always add "as iron. Sleeps with its eyes open. Always compare a cock amid the hens to a sultan in his harem.

Every college boy dreams of this. Gives out celestial harmonies. In engravings, is only played next to ruins or on the edge of a torrent. Shows off the arm and hand. Do not confuse with hash, which produces no voluptuous sensations whatever. Complain of their shape. People have no idea how strong it is-stronger than iron. Excess of health causes illness. Always "unbearable. Cite as a warning to your son, though you would be hard put to it to show him any.

Come from sitting on stoves and stone benches. Piacre's evil. A sign of health-hence do not try to rid yourself of them. A type from the North. Arouse unwholesome curiosity. Try to see one. Everybody has one without knowing it. To be "as old as Herod. Henry II was killed in a tournament. But what Flaubert seems to record is another confusion, that of Herod's age with his antiquity. Not to be tolerated. To cure, place a large key in the middle of the back, or cause fright. Language of the ancient Egyptians, invented by the priests to conceal their shameful secrets.

There are people who understand hieroglyphics! But after all, the whole thing may be a hoax His death the most beautiful narrative subject that can be assigned in class. Everyone should know the piece by heart. Always a castle inviolate. However, the police and the judiciary can enter whenever they please. Never existed. Famous for his laughter. Say: "Ecce homo! When mentioned, misquote: "But he that filches from me my good name doth make me poor indeed. It is a subject of reproof like the split infinitive.


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  5. VI, a particularly gory passage from "the gentle Racine. Lovely effect in the woods, and at night across the water. If they knew their strength, they would not let them- selves be led. Horsemeat: excellent subject for a pamphlet by a man seeking a reputation. Racehorse: despise it-of what use is it? Must always be Scottish.

    Quote: "In Scotland, hospitality when sought is given and never bought. Sounds well in a remark on the Near East question. Hostilities are like oysters, they have to be opened. Are only good in Switzerland. Cause of every disease. Are very witty. Much sought after by lascivious women.

    Good exercise, which one must pretend to love. Part of the royal state. The judiciary rave about it. Pronounce hoozar. Always preceded by "handsome" or "dashing". Attracts the ladies. Never fail to hum : "You who know a young hussar Of anarchy, socialism, and so on of all alarming systems. We must try and conquer it. Cure and cause of every known disease. Must be maintained. Prevents illness, except when it provokes it. Use the word in calling for the reform of the law governing mortgages: very swank. Often "rash," always "bold. Confuse with nymphomania.


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    6. All Neapolitans. It is dangerous to eat them. The best of the philosophic systerns.! Perfectly useless. Every newspaperman is an ideologist. Those who differ with you. Are cannibals too. Always followed by "Odyssey. A doctor's prescription should be. Likewise one's signature-it shows one is swamped with correspondence. Pretend to have had a great many, regret that you have lost them all. Always "lively. When lacking in oneself, attack it in others. To write a novel, all you need is imagination. Distinctly enunciated, this word confers prestige on the user.

      Canker at the heart of Trade. Artist's word meaning Manager. Always pre- ceded by "clever. Always "notorious. The dress of princes on their travels. Applies only to mother-of-pearl. Made of horse's scrotum. Product of warm climates. Committed only by the lower classes. Meaning unknown, but it has to do with homeopathy. The ideal gift for a doctor. Make fun of them.

      Proved by unshakable calm. Always "dangerous. Its crimes have been exaggerated. Always "cuneiform. Brought on by: a sight of the sea, love, women, etc. Does duty for intelligence. The members are all old men who wear green eye-shades. If used to commit a crime, always "blunt"- unless it happens to be sharp. Must always be washed out in blood. Found particularly in judges.

      Invariably long. The gateway to everything. To raise his spirits, pooh-pooh his ailment and dis- count the story of his suffering. Brings tears to your eyes. All die in the poorhouse. All musical. All treacherous. Should be seen immediately after marriage. Is very disappointing-not nearly so beautiful as people say.

      Refers only to teeth. Meaning unknown, but any reference to it IS swank. Everything there is made of china. All vases in museums are of jasper. As good as a gun if you only know how to throw it. Always preceded by "frenzied. Eyebrows that meet in the middle a sign of jealousy. Have a hand in every revolution. Nobody has any idea how numerous they are. Do not refer to the "battle of the jesuits. Always call him M. Deplore the breed. Its members are all gay young dogs and very wealthy. Say simply, "The Jockey"-very swank: implies you belong. When an Englishman's name is not known, he is called John Bull.

      The conflict with the Jesuits in France since the 17th century supplies the needed ambiguity. His name is now a symbol of self-profiting advice. The mother of fun and games. An excellent career if one wants to marry an heiress. All judges are pederasts. The robe inspires respect. Made of an unknown substance.

      Do everything you can to get off it. Never worry about it. Flaubert refers to its symbolic form, Jmnbage. Used only to describe picture exhibitions. Ought to be found on every drawing-room table. Case designed to hold marshal's baton. To be called Catalonian when the blade is long; called dagger when used to commit a crime.

      Word that offends the Russians. Book entirely about women, by Mohammed. Have one on your country place. Idiom no longer spoken. Deny their existence, since it is obviously impossible to live under water. Always come first. Never give a commencement address without referring to "you young lads" which is tautological.

      General who is famous for his white horse. Maintain that you have never read his Tales. City on the Adriatic. Have a woman with you when you sail on it. Always carry one in your pocket, but think twice before using it. The human race is divided into two classes: land- lords and tenants. Always so much spinach. Our country's ills are due to our ignorance of them. Indispensable for rainy days in the country. Have one in the attic. The natural speech of man.

      Spoils one's style. Of use only for reading mottoes on public buildings. Always "Homeric. Keep a man from sleeping. Nobody knows what it is. Too many in Parliament. Their judgment is warped. Of a lawyer who is a poor speaker, say: "Yes, but he knows his books. You can walk a league faster than three miles. Make fun of. All it takes to be learned is a good memory and hard work.

      Let on that you have a fair share. The common people do not need it to earn their daily bread. It all comes from Russia. Formidable fencers. Much more deft than those who use the right hand. At bottom is only a health measure. Some cases are known that lasted for years. Found only in big cities. Always have one at home, particularly if you live in the country. Always say: "Fiat lux" as you light a candle. Forerunners of liberalism in France. Delightful because it means summer is here. To be well dressed, one cannot display too much-or enough. Generous animal. Always plays with a large ball.

      Idle pastime. Snicker on hearing his name: "the gentleman who thinks we are descended from the apes. Must be said of any work of art that the Figaro will not let you admire. Must contain a lock of hair or a photograph. Wealthy Englishman. Insolent and distinguished. Always: "that unfortunate monarch. Speaking of a lucky man: "He was born tagged. The downfall of great states. Animal renowned for its eye. Has put an end to revolutions: barricades no longer possible.