Paddy's dictionary

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Paddy's dictionary

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1desultory Ensimmäinen viesti
Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 11, 2007, 6:00pm

Paddy! I love his books, and A Time of Gifts is my favourite.

He writes like an angel, but we don't all have angelic minds, so ... whenever I read him, I have to have a dictionary close by.

I'd like to suggest an interesting exercise. Take one of his books, open it at random and see how far you can read before you have to refer to a dictionary. No cheating - you have to understand the word he is using in each case. Do you really know what an ogive is? Maybe you know it's something to do with windows, or architecture, but, if you can't define it exactly - look it up.

I'll go and have a go and see how I get on.

syyskuu 23, 2006, 9:15am

Have you read his book Mani - I drank in every sentence! Loved Time of Gifts, I now have the follow-up (Between the Woods and the Water) waiting to be read. I don't have any problem with the vocab; if I come across anything unfamiliar I'll let you know!

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 11, 2007, 5:59pm

Yes, read Mani. Great stuff. Good for you on the vocab - I tried my own test, chose page 117 at random, got five lines down before I had to consult the dictionary - "velleities". Volitions at their lowest level, or mere wishes or inclinations apparently. As in "wooden calvaries, hewn and painted with rustic velleities of baroque" - like I said, wonderful writing, and exactly the right word. Just one I didn't know.

I found Between the Woods and Water a bit of a disappointment after A Time of Gifts, but maybe it's time I gave it another go. I don't feel a strong urge to do so, just the slightest velleity.

syyskuu 30, 2006, 9:00pm

I'm just starting Between the woods and the water and am finding it a bit slow going, compared to its predecessor. Time of Gifts was leisurely, but I got into the rhythm. Somehow the digressions seem more like, well, digressions, and less an integral part of the charm.

Fermor's vocabulary is certainly impressive. I picture him as something of a real-life version of the dons in early John Le Carre novels - the erudite thinkers who fought the Germans and the Communists (or colluded with one or the other).

lokakuu 1, 2006, 9:05am

well, I've had about 53 years of reading to expand my vocabulary, and the fact that I speak fluent French is a great help - I have no problem with velleities because the French velléités is quite commonly used. Same with ogive, which you mentioned earlier. The drawback to this is that if I'm not concentrating I frequently use French words in an English context and am suprised when people don't understand me!
But sometimes I'm flummoxed by less obscure words - lambent, for instance. Ellis Peters has a lambent moon in just about every book she wrote, and every time I see it I have to look it up!

lokakuu 1, 2006, 11:00am

"Somehow the digressions seem more like, well, digressions, and less an integral part of the charm" - that's exactly right, tp. I felt I was drowning in a sea of genteel Middle-European connections - an idyll, prolonged to the point of tedium. Gosh, I hope he gets us all to Constantinople in the end, after all.

And, otm, if you regard "lambent" as "less obscure" - I'm guessing "shining brightly", as a very rough definition - I can see I have a long way to go on my vocabulary. Having said that, I've just got through page 234 without resorting to the dictionary, so perhaps there's hope for me yet.

lokakuu 1, 2006, 11:26pm

I haven't read any books by Paddy Leigh Fermor but will keep my eye out for his books. I just bought a book at the thrift shop today that this discussion brings to my mind: The Grandiloquent Dictionary: A Guide to Astounding Your Friends with Exotic, Curious, and Recherche Words by Russell Rocke. I looked up "ogive" and "velleities" in it but they weren't there for whatever that's worth.
It did have the word "platypod" which could be relevent if the author did walk from Holland to Turkey.

lokakuu 2, 2006, 4:49am

I looked up lambent yet again in my dictionary and it means "flickering softly over a surface" or "glowing with soft radiance". There, now I've written it down it might go into my brain. I might even bring it up in a conversation and impress people with my grandiloquence!

lokakuu 7, 2006, 9:38pm

>> Gosh, I hope he gets us all to Constantinople in the end, after all.

I peeked at the last page and it says "to be continued." But looking at the titles of Fermor's books, there doesn't seem to be a third part. Anyone know what happened?

lokakuu 8, 2006, 12:16pm

We're still waiting!

tammikuu 12, 2007, 6:04pm

As far as I remember, he wrote the two books because decades later his original notebooks turned up, so he had some details. Presumably the third book is still waiting for the rest of the notebooks.

tammikuu 24, 2007, 8:42pm

I saw in the year-end issue of the Economist that Paddy is regarded as one of the world's greatest living conversationalists. The fact that he would be an engaging person to talk to at a cocktail party didn't surprise me -- what surprised me was that he was living. I had somehow got the impression that he was dead. He certainly belongs to a former era.

An era when people used words like "lambent."

Muokkaaja: maaliskuu 9, 2007, 4:05pm

Sorry, I seem to have neglected this thread, but I have news - glad tidings, in fact, or at least the hope of them:,,2025178,00.html

Oh, and he is apparently - and entirely appropriately - living in Mani.

maaliskuu 13, 2007, 10:17pm

Well, he's 92 - and I don't know if the manual typewriter is going to speed things up a whole lot over longhand. Then again, maybe that's technological snobbery.

maaliskuu 29, 2007, 3:36pm

Well I am having a book adrenaline rush! I just got 3 Fermor books in the mail A Time of Gifts, Time to Keep Silence, and The Traveller's Tree. I mooched them from a guy in England and they arrived after a 5 week journey (which seems only appropriate). I already have a copy of Between the Woods and the Water which I found a couple of months ago at a library sale and said to myself "Didn't I read about this author on Library Thing?" I've already read the 1st few paragraphs to my daughter who just happened to arrive home for lunch! (But she tuned me out to watch "What Not to Wear"), so I had to come here to post my news. Thanks to desultory!

maaliskuu 29, 2007, 5:01pm

katbook, I'm proud to be your sponsor. And belated kudos for the platypod remark!

joulukuu 22, 2008, 3:58pm

Somehow this escaped our attention:
His latest book, together with Deborah, Duchess of Devonshire:
And the interview with him by William Dalryple (beautiful article!)

joulukuu 23, 2008, 10:47am

>17 marieke54: I'm getting the Letters for Christmas, and I think that is one I will allow myself to promote up the TBR pile - I can't wait (in fact, knowing it's in the house right now is a bit much for me!)

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 23, 2008, 12:32pm

> 18 Lucky you!
At this moment I have set my teeth that deep in a Dutch philosopher on violence, that it would be a pity to take a break from him. So I hope P.L.F. and Duchess Debo are going to ad lustre to my Easter.
Merry X-mas and great reading time to you!