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Angels, Barbarians, and Nincompoops

. . . and a lot of other words you thought you knew

Anthony Esolen

220 pages
St. Benedict Press LLC

It's hard not to love this book, which introduces a diverse cast of characters ranging from C.S. Lewis and Emily Dickinson to Lily Munster and the Great Pumpkin to explain the historical, humorous, and even sacred origins of words most of us use without even knowing what they literally mean or where they come from. In this engaging discussion of the roots of everyday English, Anthony Esolen introduces readers to a linguistic heritage whose Christian and cultural origins are now largely forgotten. Join Professor Esolen in a fun, educational, and often downright hilarious romp through 98 of your soon-to-be favorite words.

Learn how — to say nothing of when and where — to properly use the word, "drunken." ("The bridegroom's mother has drunken a whole bottle of champagne, and is now drawing flowers on the floor with her lipstick.") Learn why, if you are faithful to the King's English, you really don't want Lily Munster to "dust" your furniture! And learn why Professor Esolen and other lovers of beauty in language and liturgy wince when faulty word choice reduces a mighty angel of God to the status of a mere messenger boy.

Again and again, you'll find yourself laughing along with Anthony Esolen, who channels his inner Boris Badenov (Bullwinkle the Moose's nemesis, for the philistines and millennials among you) and reminds us that "eees good" to know grammar and "eees fun" to play with linguistic style.

Author Bio
Professor Anthony Esolen holds a Doctorate in Renaissance English Literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Professor of English at Providence College, located in Providence, Rhode Island. He is the translator of the celebrated three-volume Modern Library edition of Dante's Divine Comedy (Random House). He is a Senior Editor for Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity, and his articles appear regularly in First Things, Catholic World Report, Magnificat, This Rock, and Latin Mass.