Friday, December 22, 2006


Under "Miller, Henry" Laughlin aptly notes that the author of Tropic of Cancer"resembled the clerk in our rural general store and was equally loquacious." Nabokov's princely hauteur is captured perfectly in three sentences: "He had [his wife] Vera write his terse little letters to me. He would force a smile for me sometimes but it was a long-ways-away smile. The real smile was still on the flatcar that was transporting his grandfather's carriage and horses across Europe for the summer vacation at Biarritz." The young Tennessee Williams claimed never to travel anywhere without the poems of Hart Crane in his knapsack. In his workroom in Rapallo, Italy, Pound hung his pencils and scissors on strings from the ceiling so they would not get lost among his papers. The stately and aristocratic Edith Sitwell loved the work of rumbustious, multitude-embracing Walt Whitman.

- from Dirda's review of The Way It Wasnt: From the Files of James Laughlin.

SYLLABICATION: rum·bus·tious
ADJECTIVE: Uncontrollably exuberant; unruly: “Common to both his illustrations and his independent paintings . . . and lurking below their rumbustious surface, is a sympathy for the vulnerability of the ordinary human being” (Christopher Andreae).
ETYMOLOGY: Probably alteration of robustious (influenced by rambunctious).
OTHER FORMS: rum·bustious·ly —ADVERB
rum·bustious·ness —NOUN

- definition from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4 ed.

No comments: