[LMB] We Need a Word For This
john.c.lennard at gmail.com
Tue Jun 8 17:49:54 BST 2021
Gwynne: Sometimes, out of the blue, I get the urge to reread a particular
scene in a book - usually one of Lois's.
Sometimes it leads to a whole reread, but often it's just that scene,
even when I know it so well I can practically recite it. I just need to
read it again.
But we need a word for that urge to reread a specific scene.
The general activity is comfort-dipping or -browsing, but in this more
purposeful, not to say compulsive, return to a very well-known scene, there
is an iteration of particular favourites. One might also say touchstoning,
but it has more dubious echoic affinities with lapidation. Thus:
"The shock was terrible, and for weeks afterwards even my faviterating was
out of whack, jumping randomly between Bujold, Austen, and Sir Thomas
Browne, when in the usual course of things one or other would be dominant
for days and weeks on end."
Nabokov, btw, kept a list of definitions in need of headwords, one among
them being "the act of revising one's own novels while translating them" --
an activity Beckett also pursued with some vigour, though no coinage.
John Lennard, MA DPhil. (Oxon.), MA (WU)
Associate Member & Director of Studies in English, Hughes Hall, Cambridge
General editor, Humanities-E-Books Genre Fiction Sightlines and Monographs
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