possible citation of possible interest

Kathleen Miller millerk at NYTIMES.COM
Mon Aug 14 13:17:14 UTC 2000

Safire cited this in 1997,

"In ''Crazy English'' (1989), Richard Lederer told of Queen Anne's supposed
comment in 1710 on seeing the completion of Sir Christopher Wren's
magnificent edifice, St. Paul's Cathedral: ''awful, artificial and
amusing.'' At the time, that was a royal compliment, with awful meaning
''awe-inspiring,'' artificial ''artistic'' and amusing ''amazing.''


At 08:55 PM 8/11/00 +0800, you wrote:
>This question came up on another list--
>I'm trying to trace an authoritative source for the remark, alleged to
>have been made by that King [James I] when he first saw St Paul's Cathedral:
>"How monstrous, awful, and artificial" - all terms then used in a
>favourable way (for an impressively large, awe-inspiring, work of art)
>but now derogatory.
>--and it made me wonder whether anyone here (e.g. Fred, who might
>consider it as a possible item for the Dictionary of Quotations, if
>it IS an actual quotation) had come across it.  It's a great example
>to use in class to illustrate meaning change, assuming it's legit.

More information about the Ads-l mailing list