Friday, December 21, 2012

An eleventh-hour largesse for the lexis votarient in your midguard.

The Horologicon - A Day’s Jaunt Through

the Lost Words of the English Language : Mark Forsyth.The Horologicon


Are you looking for that wonderful gift to present to the individual in your life who appears to have swallowed a lexicon with their mornings repast, and have you been a bit tardy in getting said article? Well fret not here is an awesome nay, Brobdingnagian offering that could easily engender feelings of exuberance and even adoration from said recipient!


In his preambulation Mark Forsyth states that this book is for those words that are..

“To beautiful to live long, too amusing to be taken seriously, too precise to become common, too vulgar to survive in polite company, or too poetic to thrive in this age of prose.”

He goes on to say that these words languish away in old and arenaceous dictionaries, that these are the lost words and the great secrets of civilisations that can still be of use today.


What sets this marvellous read apart from your standard lexicon is the method of recording used does not follow the A – Z format. In fact the writer states that by having words arranged alphabetically within a dictionary you render them useless as they bear no relation to their neighbouring words and are estranged from those words they share a relationship with (for example in the Oxford English Dictionary, wine and corkscrew are separated by seventeen volumes). This led the author after hours of rumination and a degree of puttering to fix upon the idea of using the medieval book of hours as his solution to this dilemma, in the process reinventing the reference book for the modern world and it’s constant haste. With this method all one needs to do is to check the time of day via whatever clepsydra you prefer and then by referring to the correct page within this publication - suitable words should avail themselves for your use and the delectation of all within earshot.

The Horologicon (or book of hours) is the partner to last years The Etymologicon, and like that wonderful book, uses Mark’s Inky Fool blog, as it’s reference point. Where as the previous work, threaded us through the strange connection that exist between words, The Horologicon, is literally a book of hours, charting the period from just before the moment day-raw streaks red across the sky and guiding us through the day and eventide up until Bulls-noon, where we, having wished bene darkmans to our loved ones, will hopefully be ensconced in our dreamery, asleep in those arms of Morpheus.


This was a BBC radio 4 book of the week (read by Hugh Dennis) and was described as:

  “The Horologicon (or book of hours) gives you the most extraordinary words in the English language, arranged according to the hour of the day when you really need them. Do you wake up feeling rough? Then you're philogrobolized. Pretending to work? That's fudgelling, which may lead to rizzling if you feel sleepy after lunch, though by dinner time you will have become a sparkling deipnosophist. From Mark Forsyth, author of the bestselling The Etymologicon, this is a book of weird words for familiar situations. From ante-jentacular to snudge by way of quafftide and wamblecropt, at last you can say, with utter accuracy, exactly what you mean.”

Mark Forsyth’s Gemel Edition, a delectable box set containing both The Etymologicon and The Horologicon


I got my copy of The Horologicon, from Netgalley, as an E-book, and bought my own copy of The Etymologicon, in the same format for my Kindle, but whilst researching for this post I came across this box set containing both books and thought that for the person in your life that adores words, this would make an ideal present - even if that one person is you.


The Inky Fool - On words, Phrases, Grammar, Rhetoric & prose




Icon Books is an independent publisher of engaging, quality non-fiction, which was founded in 1992 and celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2012. Icon is a member of the Independent Alliance.

icon books uk




“This is a reference work. You should on no account attempt to read it cover to cover. If you do, Hell itself will have no horrors for you, and neither the author nor his parent company will accept liability for any suicides, rampages, or crazed nudity that may result.”  Mark Forsyth.


Tom Cunliffe said...

Gosh, the box set looks nice doesn't it. I expect Mark is quite pleased with that one.

They're good reads aren't they - the perfect browsing books for odd moments.

Have a wonderful Christmas and thanks for your visits to my blog over the last year

Annabel (gaskella) said...

Lovely books, and a nice chap - heard him speak last month. Great fun.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

That looks terrific! My husband is a collector of word books and this will be just perfect for him

Tom Cunliffe said...

I keep meaning to tell you about this - it may interest you

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Tom it does doesn't, I'm trying to find uses for some of the new to me words, just for the fun of it. Have a great Xmas & thanks in return for the inspiration.
PS. ta for the link.

Hi Annabel the books are wonderful.

Hello As the Crowe Flies and Reads, love word books myself, so can vouch your husband will love them.

stujallen said...

Happy christmas ,all the best stu

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

Best wishes to you and your family as well for a great holiday and a happy new year.

Anonymous said...

Happy holidays, Gary! Here's to another year of books and whiskey!
-Gina (the comment form is not working in my ipad)

@parridhlantern said...

Hi Stu, & a great Xmas to you, Amanda & Winston.

Hello Elizabeth best wishes for the New year.

Hi Gina whisky got, a nice Aberlour A'bunadh (60.3%) & have some new books for the shelves. Hope your Xmas went well

Brian Joseph said...

I love words, especially obscure, underused and clever words so the The Horologicon aounds fascinating to me. its unusual and brillent sounding organization makes it sound even more appealing.

Thanks for the commentary, I might pick up a copy of this for myself!

@parridhlantern said...

Hello Brian & thanks for your comment. If you have a Kindle or the app on some device you can pick this book & its companion for $1.60 each. Although not as pretty as the books or the box set you'd still be accessing the wonderful verbiage inside. Best wishes of this season to you & yours