Friday, May 12, 2006

The Imaginative Charge of Words

But even among the synonyms of our own tongue we cannot ignore the imaginative charge of words without being monstrous. You might, for example, be excused for declining an invitation to dinner when the menu that was offered was dead calf with fungus in heated dough, scorched ground tubers, and cabbage stalks, all swilled down with rotten German grape juice, and topped off with the dust of burnt berries in scalding water diluted with the oozings from the udders of a cow. You might well decline such a bill of fare, but you would miss an excellent meal of veal and mushroom pie, roast potatoes and spring greens,chased by a bottle of hock, and finished with a steaming cup of coffee and cream. What's in a name? Just about everything.

--Paul Roche, "Translator's Preface," Euripides: Ten Plays (Signet, 1998) xvii.

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