Storied Words: The Writer's Vocabulary and Its Origins (Paperback)
From alphabet to zeugma
Storied Words reveals the picturesque stories of 1,000 words that we use to talk about writing.
You will learn about:
The actual pictures behind our alphabet letters (e.g., "A", the inverted head of an ox; "B," a two-chambered house; "Z," a sword and shield)
The surprising common origin of grammar and glamour
The literal meanings of our rhetorical devices
The "meaningless chatter" in jargon's ancestry
The picturesque origins of the words we use to talk about style
The "mock song" of parody
How and why the librarian of the great ancient library of Alexandria gave us the komma, the kolon, and the periodos
Each chapter begins with an introductory essay followed by alphabetized discussions of individual words. Chapter topics include the writer's tools, patterns of arrangement, style, rhetorical choices, grammar, writers in academe, and publishing.
Storied Words is chock full of quotations and anecdotes from writers throughout history; it also contains an essay on the history of the English vocabulary.