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Word for the Wise January 19, 2007 Broadcast Topic: Edgar Allen Poe

Edgar Allen Poe was born on this date in 1809. The American poet and short-story writer is remembered for his cultivation of (as one encyclopedia puts it) "the mystery and the macabre in fiction." That aura still surrounds his untimely death (in October 1849), as historians have yet to agree on its cause. (来源:www.EnglishCN.com)

Today we pay tribute to the author whose tales thrilled and terrified readers with a look at some of the language he employed.

Consider charnel, which originally meant "cemetery" and whose adjectival sense means "sepulchral; ghastly; gruesomely indicative or suggestive of death." Poe also used ghoul (which wafted its way into English from Arabic) to great effect in his descriptive "they are neither man nor woman, they are neither brute nor human; they are ghouls."

Then there's the confoundingly wordy inornate, meaning "unadorned." Poe applied inornate as a term of suspense when he wrote of "the scrupulously inornate clergyman than which nothing could be less liable to suspicion."

If that doesn't impress you, try this one last usage from Edgar Allan Poe: the increasingly harrowing repetition of the word Nevermore by the raven in Poe's poem of that same name. His choice of that word was not casual; in a lecture setting, Poe was reported to have described the letters O and R as "the two most effective letters" in the English language.

 
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