[Ads-l] From Ηψπατία Λίβ =?UTF-8?Q?=CF=81=CE=B1=CF=81=CF=88_?=to Hawthorne's luau???

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 20 01:55:55 EST 2017

On Jun 29, 2016 12:01 PM, "Joel Berson" <berson at att.net> wrote:

The back cover of a cheaply-produced, I'm sure optically-transcribed,
edition of Hawthorne's three "Old News" sketches has on it the two words in
Greek script Ηψπατία Λίβραρψ.  (As best I can transcribe the letters.)  The
back cover can be seen, I hope, at https://www.amazon.com/dp/
("Flip to back.")

Is this real Greek?  (The second word's resemblance to "library", which
even my infinitesimal knowledge tells me is not the Greek word for library,
makes me suspicious.)  What might it mean, whether or not it is real Greek?

While purging my email files of old material I saw this old thread and idly
tracked the work down: three stories or essays, each beginning with the
contemplation of old newspapers. As I skimmed through the text, I
metaphorically stubbed my toe on a rock and fell flat on my face:



Old News
The Old French War


The people at large had been somewhat changed in character, since the
period of our last sketch, by their great exploit, the conquest of
Louisburg. After that event, the New Englanders never settled into
precisely the same quiet race which all the world had imagined them to be.
They had done a deed of history, and were anxious to add new ones to the
record. They had proved themselves powerful enough to influence the result
of a war, and were thenceforth called upon, and willingly consented, to
join their strength against the enemies of England; on those fields, at
least, where victory would redound to their peculiar advantage. And now, in
the heat of the Old French War, they might well be termed a martial people.
Every *luau* was a soldier, or the father or brother of a soldier ; and the
whole land literally echoed with the roll of the drum, either beating up
for recruits among the towns and villages, or striking the march towards
the frontiers. Besides the provincial troops, there were twenty-three
British regiments in the northern colonies.


What in the name of anything that might possibly be considered holy is a
Hawai'ian feast doing here? OED (print, New Edition) has for "luau",
besides the feast, only

*b.* A cooked dish of young taro leaves served with coconut cream and
octopus or chicken

It must be a mistranscription, possibly of "lad", though the rest of the
text is largely free of evident OCR and transcription booboos. And "lad"
seems out of place in describing someone who might be the father of a
soldier. Ideas, anyone?

Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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