nunberg at ISCHOOL.BERKELEY.EDU
Wed Nov 6 06:49:32 UTC 2013
In the dudic way of things, It would be nice to make some retroactive space at the table for Seth Lerer, whose "Hello, Dude: Philology, Performance, and Technology in Mark Twain's Connecticut Yankee" is a model of "deep" philology as social history. American Literary History 15.3 (2003) 471-503 http://goo.gl/5JJflA
I focus here on two words that exemplify that double process and for which Connecticut Yankee is their first literary appearance. These words are hello and dude. They stand at the nexus of what critics have seen as essential to the novel and to the later nineteenth century's concern with social change, technological innovation, personal relationships, and gender roles. They represent the kinds of idiomatic shifts in English to which Twain was particularly sensitive. But, as representatives of such shifts, they also epitomize the problems faced by late-nineteenth-century lexicographers. Their etymologies and origins defy conventional philology. Their social status—and, in particular, their association with the technologies of telecommunication and posturings of aestheticism, respectively—provoked lay and scholarly reflections that say as much about American popular culture of the 1880s as they do about specific shifts in language (Connecticut Yankee, though published in 1889!
, is set in 1884). For in Hank Morgan's "hello-girls" or "iron dudes," we may see images of the performing self transmuted through technology. And, finally, in the technologies of academic language study (for both the late nineteenth and the early twenty-first centuries) we come to see philology itself as something of a species of time travel—and, in turn,Connecticut Yankee as both source and goad for a scholarly performance.
> From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject: DOTY candidates
> Date: November 5, 2013 5:02:31 PM PST
> That's "Dudes of the Year": Barry Popik, Jerry Cohen, and Allan Metcalf. And honorary mention of course to Mr. Lebowski, who abideth.
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