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LITERARY CURIOSITIES.

BY

WILLIAM S. WALSH,
AUTHOR OF "FAUST: THE POEM AND THE LEGEND,”

“ PARADOXES OF A PHILISTINE," ETC.

WITHDRAWN

V-B
LIPPINCOTT COMPANY

DROIT UT

AVANT

PHILADELPHIA:

J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY.

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05/24/05
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PREFACE.

PRIMARILY the aim of this Handy-book is to entertain. If it succeeds in instructing as well, there is no harm done. But a sugar coating of grateful gust has been quite as much an object with the compiler as the tonic which it may envelop.

It is obvious that in so large a field as is afforded by the curiosities of literature the embarrassment has been mainly that of riches. No single volume nor a dozen volumes of this size could exhaust the material. Nevertheless, if the compiler has been even approximately successful, if his gleanings from the rich harvest-field have been fairly judicious, a gain in interest and even in value has been achieved by consulting the limitations of space.

At one time he had thought of disarming a certain kind of criticism by calling this "A Dictionary of Things Not Worth Knowing," the bulk of the matter herein contained being either in substance or in detail that which is deemed below the dignity of encyclopædias, dictionaries, or literary manuals. However, we are gradually coming to learn that there is no great and no small in the achievements of the human intelligence; that what has ever interested men in the past must preserve an interest for the student of human nature at all times; that the literary trifling which pleased the keenest wits at particular periods of mental development has a distinct historical value in the retrospect; that the blunders of great minds are worth preserving as successive steps towards the altar of Knowledge; that in proverbs is embodied the wisdom of many as well as the wit of one; and that the vagaries of slang are dignified by the fact that slang may become the scholarly language of the future, just as the slang of the past is nearly the richest and most idiomatic portion of the current speech of to-day. Even the tracing of literary analogies, which is held in some disrepute by those who see in it merely a low detective cunning, a joy in convicting nobler minds of larceny and of discrediting the gifts of Nature's bounty,—even this is an exercise which, reverently conducted, is full of instruction and profit as well as curious interest. To learn that there is nothing new under the sun is to take to heart the lesson that the right direction of human achievement is to co-ordinate and harmonize the disjecta

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membra of the old and ever young, and thus arrive at the sum and essence—the very heart of things. He is the poet, the creator, the mighty man, who does this, just as he is the great sculptor who liberates from the marble the image of all conceivable beauty that already resides therein. And, to run the analogy to the ground, one might trace the history of that block of marble up to its native quarry with nothing of invidious reflection on the sculptor.

A certain proportion of the articles, long and short, which are here collected appeared in various periodicals,-in Lippincott's Magazine and the American Notes and Queries of Philadelphia, in the Illustrated American and Belford's Magazine of New York. This fact is mentioned not only as an acknowledgment of courteous perinission to reproduce them, but also as affording an opportunity to remark that, in the last year or so, some of these articles have been pretty freely levied upon by makers of literary manuals, whose apparent priority of publication might confuse the unwary as to which was the follower and which the leader. The point is not worth insisting upon, however, for, in a less flagrant way, most of us compilers are indebted to our predecessors. As to myself (let us drop all awkward locutions), I honestly acknowledge that I have found great assistance in such books of reference as Bartlett's “Familiar Quotations,” Bent's “Famous Short Sayings," and Norton's " Political Americanisms," also in such collections of bibelots and curios as Brewer's “ Dictionary of Phrase and Fable,” Bombaugh's “Gleanings for the Curious," and Wm. T. Dobson's and Davenport Adams's various compilations. More than this, I have consulted the English Notes and Queries with predatory aim, and have carried on a war of conquest amid the files of old periodicals. Where credit was possible, it has been given; but where (as does happen occasionally) a particular article is almost a cento made up from a dozen different authorities, it is well-nigh impossible properly to apportion the credit. This general confession, therefore, must suffice.

In conclusion, I must record my indebtedness to Mr. Stephen Pfeil, who contributed the articles on "Epigrams,” “Impromptus," and “Quodlibets,” as well as a number of the shorter articles embodying political Americanisms, etc. And a special debt of gratitude is due to Mr. Joseph McCreery, the scholarly proof-reader in the establishment of Messrs. J. B. Lippincott Co., whose corrections and suggestions went far beyond the limits of mere proof-reading.

WM, S. WALSH,

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A TABLE OF THE LONGER ARTICLES.

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PAGE

PAGE Acrostic ...

Ignorance, Humors of Advertising, Quaint and Curious 17 Ignorances, Our Small

516 Agony Column. 28 Impromptus

525 Alliteration,

34 Index Alphabetic Diversions 40 Interrupted Sentences

550 Ambiguities

47
Interview

554 Anagram. 52 Irony

561 Autographs and Autograph-Hunters 71 Jesuitical Compositions or Equivoques . 574 Bathos..

81 Laconic Bibles, Curious . 90 Lion-Hunter, The

638 Biblioklept

93
Lipograms

643 Bibliomania

95
Literal Sense, In a

646 Binding

Lost Treasures of Literature

658 Bookplate

Macaronic Literature,

670 Bouts-rimés

115
Meiosis

боб Bulls, Irish and not Irish

124
Memoria Technica

698 Catch 141 Metaphors, Mixed

708 Charade 146 Mistakes of Authors

723 Chronogram 154 Monosyllable .

735 Ciphers or Cryptograms.

157
Mosaics or Centos

744 Claimants, Literary .

163 Mystification and Imposture Coincidences 170 Names, Curiosities of .

778 Collaboration

175
Names in Fiction .

786 Compliments . 181 Nonsense, Verse and Prose

808 Criticism, Curiosities of .

197
Numbers, Curiosities of .

824 Dedications

Oaths and Curses.

831 Dictionary

231
Palindrome.

851 Echo Verses

261
Paradoxes and Puzzles

855 Emblematic, Figurate or Shaped Poems 270 Parody

862 Emendation, Conjectural

277
Plagiarism and Plagiarists

891 English as she is spoke 285 Poetic Prose

903 Enigma

292
Punctuation

924 Epigrams

303
Puns and Punning

928 Epitaphs, Curiosities of .

314 Quodlibet Errors, Vulgar 334 Quotation and Misquotation

944 Etiquette. 340 Real People in Fiction

949 Forgeries, Literary 383 Reviews, Curiosities of

962 French as she is spoke 396 Rhymes, Eccentricities of .

969 Handwriting and Writers

Self-Appreciation . .

992 History, The Incredibility of 461 Spelling, Eccentricities of

1024 Hoaxes, Some Famous

Translation, Curiosities of .

. 1057 Hyperbole 501 Typographical Errors .

1065

220

938

442

467

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