Thursday, May 12, 2011
Just finished Iris Murdoch's The Bell. As usual I found her characters tedious and repellent and their situations ridiculous and uninteresting and yet - as usual - I felt compelled to keep reading to the bitter end. I even find myself thinking about them still, just as I remember from time to time that bizarrely obsessive character in her The Sea, The Sea. The sign of a great writer. My one major complaint with this book: the use of the word 'rebarbative.' If she used it once, she used it seven times. Did she not notice? Did her editor not notice? Was it deliberate? The second time she used it I thought to myself, "there's that word again." By about the fifth time I thought "if I see that bloody word again I'll scream!" But sure enough it showed up a few more times, to my extreme annoyance. Conclusion: the word 'rebarbative' is, in itself, rebarbative. Is there a term for that, I wonder. Perhaps a form of onomatopoeia?