Gunsel again

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jan 26 03:11:41 UTC 2002

For those of you who don't subscribe to Michael Quinion's World Wide
Words (, this week's issue has a
comment on the annual Bulwer-Lytton contest
( for the worst first sentence of an
imaginary novel, which prompts Michael to cite a memorable sentence
from an actual novel, Anthony Burgess's _Earthly Powers_:

"It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed
with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to
see me".

Now we know we can replace "catamite" with "gunsel" and modify the
ambience while leaving the denotation unaffected.


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