Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Thirteen Wonderful Words Learned From Blaise Cendrars

Swiss-born French-based author Blaise Cendrars one fifth of the men I love in this world. So far I've only read Dan Yack but am desperately trying to find his other books. (He wrote over 20.) Frustratingly the ones I most want to find, The Severed Hand and I Killed both memoirs of his time at the front during WWI, are hard to find. Maybe even impossible. There is a Spanish translation on ebay of La Mano Cortado but that's about it. Anyway, Dan Yack, which i'm reading now, is full of wonderful words that I plan to fit awkwardly into whatever I'm writing at the moment. So! If you pick up a copy of Page Six magazine and see any of these words in it, you know where they came from!
  • verglas--a thin coating of ice, as on rock.
  • diapason--a full, rich outpouring of melodious sound.
  • diamantine--consisting of diamonds or resembling diamonds
  • doggo--lie doggo, British Slang. to keep out of sight; hide
  • menhir--an upright monumental stone standing either alone or with others, as in an alignment, found chiefly in Cornwall and Brittany.
  • fo'c'sle-a superstructure at or immediately aft of the bow of a vessel, used as a shelter for stores, machinery, etc., or as quarters for sailors.
  • periwigs--a wig, especially a peruke.
  • guesquel--from a Cendrars footnote:
The quesquel is an instrument used by the Patagonian Indians to pleasure their women. It consists of a little crown of tufts, made out of mule-hair, carefully mounted on a fine tricolour thread. The man attaches this thread behind the glans and during coitus he introduces the instrument, bristles foremost, intotthe woman's vagina. These tufts are stiff and at least as long as a finger; their effect is so biolent that the woman cries out, weeps, grinds her teeth, bites, bursts out laughing, sobs, tosses, foams at the mouth, slobber, twitches and writehes her hips (this is why the Patagonians call white women corcoveadores: because they do not need the guesquel to stimulate them, but take an active part in the love act and writhe naturally, to the delight of the men): the orgasm is sos powerful that, after detumescence, the woman remains exhausted, at her last gasp, sated, replete, overcome, dizzy with happiness, stupified to the point of tears and utterly helpless."
  • clew up- to haul (the lower corners of a square-rig sail) up to the yard by means of the clew lines.
  • stevedore- a firm or individual engaged in the loading or unloading of a vessel.
  • heteroclite- irregular or abnormal; anomalous.
  • guttersnipe-a person belonging to or characteristic of the lowest social group in a city.
  • aerophagy--the swallowing of air especially in hysteria