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Throughout his life Flaubert made it a game to eavesdrop for the cliché, the platitude, the borrowed and unquestioned idea with which the "right thinking" swaddle their minds. After his death his little treasury of absurdities, of half-truths and social lies, was published as a Dictionnaire des idées reçues. Because its devastating humor and irony are often dependent on the phrasing in vernacular French, the Dictionnairewas long considered untranslatable. This notion was taken as a challenge by Jacques Barzun. Determined to find the exact English equivalent for each "accepted idea" Flaubert recorded, he has succeeded in documenting our own inanities. With a satirist's wit and a scholar's precision, Barzun has produced a very contemporary self-portrait of the middle-class philistine, a species as much alive today as when Flaubert railed against him.
A spoof encyclopedia of contemporary accepted wisdom and commonplaces, the Dictionary of Received Ideas sees Flaubert at his witty and satirical best. Perhaps intended as a companion to his final, unfinished novel Bouvard and Pecuchet, this compilation was the result of a lifetime of collecting the absurd and the cliched with darkly humorous explanations. A playful look at nineteenth-century values and talking points, this dictionary will provide enduring entertainment and prove relevant even today.
Urban legends, myths, misinformation, folktales, conspiracy theories and What To Say About any subject.
Spoken and written language is littered with cliches, but there are some usages - smug statements of secondhand opinion, grating nuggets of folk wisdom, toe-curling verbal flourishes of the would-be authoritative - that go beyond the bounds of cliche to enter more desperate linguistic territory. We encounter these verbal horrors every day of our lives - in conversations overheard on tube, train and bus and at suburban dinner parties, in the fictional dialogues of TV drama - and even in the glib formulations of TV sports commentators. They are disparate in nature - but have one thing in common: they all represent desperate attempts on the part of the speaker to persuade the listener that certainty of language mirrors certainty of thought and intellect, to project a verbal front of decidedness, authority and knowledge.Willie Donaldson has turned his finely tuned satirical ear to these verbal inanities to create a unique, offbeat and entirely hilarious dictionary of cringemaking Islingtonian phrasemaking. But the twist is this: lurking behind the A-Z facade is a dramatis personae of gabbling middle-class archetypes, including the Simon of the title - a Canonbury-based wine importer - and his overwrought partner, Susan, a university academic. Their excruciating dialogues - conversational nightmares of pat phrases, glib opinion and conjugal bitchiness played out in the fictional context of a Barnsbury tapas bar named the Goya - are brilliantly captured by the author, and make this most individual of books a candidate for humour title of the year.
With" Denaturalizing Ecological Politics," Andrew Biro has found a way of rescuing environmentalism from the ideological trap of naturalism.
-A satirical dictionary of key words in education-Inspired by Ambrose Bierce's popular The Devil's Dictionary-The perfect gift for teachersThis A-Z dictionary of educational terms offers funny and thought-provoking definitions of what they *really* mean.a

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